Preventing Injuries: The Technology and Debate Surrounding Safety Features on Table Saws

Government Could Require Advanced Safety Technology on Table Saws

Injuries caused by table saws have been on the rise for years, with over 30,000 reported annually in the US alone. Despite being a popular tool for cutting materials quickly and with precision, table saws pose a serious risk of injury due to their high-speed spinning blade that can easily pull workpieces into it.

According to Matt Baxter, the assistant manager at Woodcraft of Tulsa, table saws are one of the most dangerous tools in the shop due to their potential for accidents. Baxter, who uses them regularly, emphasizes the importance of paying close attention to work and hand placement when using these machines.

However, there is technology available that can prevent such injuries from occurring in the first place. SawStop is a company that produces table saws with safety features that can immediately stop the blade from spinning upon detecting contact with skin. The technology works by running an electrical current through the blade and completing a circuit using the natural electrical current present in the body. This safety measure can prevent severe injuries within seconds and turn a potentially serious injury into a minor cut.

Despite its availability for some time, this technology is not currently required for companies to use on their table saws. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is proposing a rule to mandate safety brakes on all table saws sold in the United States. While manufacturers argue that this requirement will increase the cost of table saws for consumers, Laura Kane, manager at Woodcraft of Tulsa believes that safety features are essential for preventing accidents and injuries and ultimately making these machines safer for users. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has already voted to move forward with the mandate and approval is expected later this year.

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