The US Government May Finally Mandate Safer Table Saws

( — The Consumer Product Safety Commission is moving forward with a new rule that would require manufacturers of table saws to include a blade brake to protect against blade contact injuries, NPR reported.

Blade contact injuries from table saws are responsible for roughly 30,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States. Approximately 4,000 blade contact injuries result in amputations.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, each hospitalization caused by a table saw results in $500,000 in lost income as well as pain and suffering.

While there are currently table saws that include a safety brake, the SawStop table saw, for example, is designed to stop the blade from spinning after making contact with flesh. The blade retracts fast enough to prevent serious injury. However, this safety feature is not required on all table saws.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has for years sought to mandate a similar safety break on all table saws manufactured and sold in the United States but has been unable to do so. However, that is about to change.

In October, the commission voted to publish a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking on creating a new safety standard to address blade contact injuries from table saws.

The proposed rule is expected to be approved later this year.

Table saw manufacturers have long fought against a new safety standard, arguing that the added feature would increase the price of table saws, making them too expensive for consumers.

The Power Tool Institute, a trade group that represents power tool manufacturers like DeWalt, Bosch, and Milwaukee, opposes the new rule, which it describes as government overreach.

Proponents of the rule change compare the safety feature to airbags in vehicles, arguing that the safety benefit outweighs the added cost.

Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumpka Jr. told NPR that the new rule would “prevent tens of thousands of medically treated table saw injuries per year.”

Former commission chairman Robert Adler told NPR that requiring a blade brake on table saws was “long, long overdue,” especially considering that there are an average of over ten amputations each day from table saw injuries.

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