Regulators may force table saw brands to add safer technology to their products
Table saw injury’s accounted for over 4,000 amputations in 2015, that’s 11 per day and over 33,000 hospital visits. This is obviously a shocking statistic and one that most definitely needs to be resolved, quickly. The (CPSC) ‘Consumer Product Safety Commission’ has proposed a standard that would help eliminate these injuries.
Currently some great table saw safety technology is available, in 1999 Stephen Gass created a brilliant and revolutionary technology to help solve this issue. How he did it was by adding a small electric charge to the actual saw blade it’s self so when a human touches the blade the saw can detect that contact as it changes the electric current, this is due to the fact that humans are conductive.
At this point the aluminum brake springs into the blade itself, amazingly it stops the blade in under 5-millseconds! The blade then disappears below the top table surface eliminating and further risk of injury, it really is a brilliant technology that needs to be implemented more.
Since Sawstop have added this particular technology to their products they have recorded over 5000 finger saving incidents. I personally think this is something that cannot be ignored and the stats from Sawstop speak for themselves.
In 2000 Gass tried to get some of the power manufactures on board, asking for a percentage of the generated revenue, but none of the companies liked the idea, I would imagine it’s more to do with the fact he wanted a cut more than the technology itself.
So, with that Sawstop was born, Gass began producing his own table saws with this new technology he had invented. Plus, he also has been actively trying to get these sorts of regulations implemented as standard through the power tool industry.
Other brands have actively started to develop their own versions of the Sawstop table saw. Bosch launched the Reaxx table saw in 2015 and it became the first main competitor of SawStop. The Bosch uses a similar system but has slight deference’s, read more about it here.
Currently US regulators are looking into possibly making this sort of technology mandatory within the power tool industry. To read more about that announcement click here.
Before Stephen Gass’s invention a lot of the big brands would state that table saws are used at the customers own risk and that they are in fact very dangerous, this is something customers (including my-self) would accept as being the norm. But now with all this new technology coming to the market and becoming more cost effective, how long will the big power tool brands take this stance?
One thing that could make them change their tune would be the possibility of product liability lawsuits. This is very much a possibility, especially with the The Consumer Product Safety Commission trying to push through these new regulations.
I personally believe that all this talk of implementing all this new safety technology is definitely a good thing for the industry. Using table saw is inherently dangerous and bringing new safety technology in as a standard is 100% the way to go. Most of the big brands will most probably be slow to adopt this technology especially if it’s expensive and doesn’t fit with their current budgets. For more information on this subject visit arstechnica.co.uk