Some Alarming Statistics on Injuries Involving Table Saws
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, table saws cause approximately 67,000 injuries every year to employees, workers, handymen and homeowners doing work around the house. Of these 67,000 injuries, 33,000 result in emergency room visits and over 4,000 result in amputations.
It is estimated that there are table saws in over 10,000,000 households and many more can be found in schools, workshops and job sites throughout the United States. Hands and fingers sustain the most table saw injuries and the most common injuries are lacerations, fractures, and amputations. However, any body part can sustain serious and even fatal injuries when fast spinning table saw blades slingshot objects across the room or work-site. Given the power and force table saws require to cut into wood, it is easy to see how a ten inch blade spinning at approximately 4,000 rotations-per-minute (RPM) could slingshot an object across the room.
SawStop and Flesh-Sensing, Blade Braking Technology Has Largely Been Rejected by Major Table Saw Manufacturers
A patent attorney named Steve Gass invented the SawStop in the late 1990’s. This revolutionary technology has the ability to sense human flesh and stop a fast spinning saw blade the instant it comes in contact with human flesh.
This new technology has the ability to dramatically reduce table saw injuries; however, all the major table saw manufacturers have refused to adopt and implement this new flesh-sensing blade braking technology. They have refused to add this technology to their models because if they did add it to their models they would have to pay the inventor, Steve Gass, a 3% royalty. The decision was a matter of dollars and sense as the manufacturers determined it would be cheaper to settle lawsuits than to pay Steve Gass to license his patented technology. That’s why SawStop began manufacturing its own saws in 2004. But despite doing so, SawStop table saws only account for a small percentage of annual table saw sales.
Court records and trial testimony have provided some additional insight as to why the major manufacturers have rejected SawStop’s technological safety advances. Some believe the traditional table saw manufacturers fear that if they accept this technology as a superior design they would face many lawsuits for injuries caused by their old, conventional saws.
SawStop’s revolutionary technological advances are allowing people that have suffered injuries on traditional table saws to sue the manufacturers of those traditional saws. SawStop allows those injured to bring a product liability case against the manufacturers that have not adopted and added SawStop’s flesh-sensing, blade stopping technology into their table saws. A plaintiff can win a products liability case if they can prove that an alternative table saw design existed and that it is both safer and a cost-effective alternative to the traditional table saw. The table saw with SawStop technology does this.
Most table saw injury lawsuits deal with defective design arguments. All table saws need to come with a blade guard. Many manufacturers and table saw designers have poorly designed guards that are not user-friendly. Poorly designed table saw guards can make it difficult or impossible to perform routine cutting. Users are often frustrated with constantly aligning and adjusting the poorly designed guards that they simply remove the guards in order to allow for easier use. Most guards are difficult or impossible to reattach once they have been removed. This issue is known to all table saw manufacturers. Despite knowing this, most manufacturers failed to make changes to their guards and only did so when industry-wide safety standards were updated in 2007.
Kickback Injuries and the Riving Knife
A kickback occurs when a saw blade gets caught or squeezed by the piece of wood it is cutting. When this happens the piece of wood can jerk suddenly back and then get pulled into the saw blade at a high velocity. This can pull the operator’s hand into the blade. This issue has been known to the manufacturers for years. Manufacturers have also known that it can be prevented by a “riving knife.”
A riving knife is a small piece of metal known as a ‘splitter’ that sits behind the table saw blade. This riving knife prevents kickbacks. It can even prevent kickbacks if the user removes the blade guard.
Riving knives have been a standard feature on all tables saws sold in Europe for decades. However, the manufactures that sell table saws in the United States inexplicably refused to make it a standard feature on their saws until recently.
The following is a list of table saw manufacturers:
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If you or your loved one suffered an injury or fatality in an accident involving power tools or a table saw then you need a strong legal advocate on your side who only has your best interest at heart. Insurance companies are often quick to offer a settlement only to have you, the victim sign away your rights to any future legal action. In most cases, accepting an insurance settlement before talking with an attorney will result in you being offered less than you may be entitled to. To get what the law entitles you to recover, before you accept an insurance settlement contact us to schedule a free legal consultation to talk with one of our injury lawyers.
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