CPSC To Address Tablesaw Safety

Status
Not open for further replies.

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Folks, this is an interesting topic and certainly worth discussing. Please try and remain calm, cool, polite, and civil :) We have enough Sawstop-related threads that have gone down in flames, let's not add to the pile.
 

Grumpybear

New User
Gary
The fire is extinguished! The second cup of coffee brings civility to the court of public opinion. A sweet roll will further improve one's outlook!
 

Ken Massingale

New User
Ken
Folks, this is an interesting topic and certainly worth discussing. Please try and remain calm, cool, polite, and civil :) We have enough Sawstop-related threads that have gone down in flames, let's not add to the pile.
Absolutely, my post was about the CPSC and table saws.
 

Glennbear

Moderator
Glenn
Thanks for sharing the news Ken, I am a big supporter of the work done by the CPSC as evidenced by my regular posting of recall notices however sometimes they can be a little heavy handed in their decisions e.g. - The !@#$%^ safety handles on our push mowers which a lot of us bypass. Hopefully during the rule making process common sense prevails and the final outcome is somewhere between current TS design and the SawStop technology. The CPSC rules regarding toy finishes in response to toxic imports is another example where IMHO CPSC rules have gone too far and impacted the average woodworker/craftsperson far too much. :wsmile:
 

manfre

New User
Manfre
The liability lawsuits are way out of hand and that $1.5 million dollar settlement clearly shows that our legal system is failing...or perhaps our sliding education system is at fault. Congratulations go to the jury for pointing out the obvious. More expensive items usually provide more features, some of which may be safety related. The lawsuit should have been laughed out of court on the basis that the plaintiff chose not to research prior to purchasing a saw and/or chose not to spend more money to reduce the possibility of injuries. I guess personal accountability is dead.

It'll be interesting to see how far the CPSC goes with TS safety.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
I've been thinking about this for a bit. If you read the different articles on this topic, the opinions are miles apart. Some portray the SawStop inventor as a hero, who came up with this finger-saving invention only to be turned down by the money-grubbing tool companies who were afraid of lawsuits. Others portray him as a money-grubbing ambulance chaser who tried to blackmail tool companies into paying him excessive royalties.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I think Gass truly believes his invention is for the greater good. I also believe he wants to make some money off his idea. In fairness to him, he put his money where his mouth was and started manufacturing his own cabinet saw. It's expensive, but if you compare it with the new Delta Unisaw/ PM2000, and factor in the cost of the technology, it's not excessive. Obviously, his volume is much smaller than say Grizzly or JET, and there has to be a big insurance premium to pay too. If the technology does fail one day, that'll be a big lawsuit. So while I'm sure he's making money, we're not talking millions.

But in fairness to the tool companies, I can see their dilemma. Apart from paying royalties, there's an inherent danger in building a better mousetrap. Since the SawStop technology would only be on the newer saws, they'd be handing the perfect argument to anybody who injured themselves on their older saws. Because if those older saws were so safe, why did they adopt SawStop techology? Of course, this argument was already made in the Ryobi case, so the genie is already out of the bottle.

Overall, tool companies haven't done much on their own in terms of safety. Guards and splitters have been inconvenient and clumsy at best. Riving knives were not added to saws until Underwriters Laboratories (UL) made them a requirement for certification. In other words, the industry has not done a stellar job on its own.

So who knows? Perhaps the CPSC can create a middle ground here, and enable tool companies to add optional flesh-sensing technology without exposing their whole older product line to litigation. That would be the ideal situation. I can order a Grizzly/ JET/ Laguna/ Delta table saw with 30" or 52" rails, cast iron or steel wings, and with or without flesh sensing technology.
 

bobby g

Bob
Corporate Member
10 lost fingers a day... WOW! Safety practices need to be emphasized and practiced along with offering safety improvements.

I'm a big supporter of inventors selling rights to produce patented products under a royalty bearing license agreement. Seems fair to me. Giving away the invention doesn't.

bobby g
 

drw

Donn
Corporate Member
I am certainly not going to bash SawStop, I own one. Moreover, I give Mr. Gass a lot of credit; he developed what he thought was a useful technology and when the major tool manufacturers failed to see its value, he formed his own company, which appears to be a very successful venture.

Ten finger a day is more than I would have guessed, but assuming this figure is accurate, I can understand why the CPSC would initiate an investigation.

Donn
 

Grumpybear

New User
Gary
I suppose that I regret removing my original post...I am not against someone inventing and making money, that comes in the path of freedom. Having it stuffed down our throat as a safety requirement falls along the line of the path away from freedom. I have an unprotected Unisaw and I have a responsibility to keep my fingers, hands, and arms out of the blade. There is not an invention for the band saw and it is also a very dangerous tool. A recent article in one of the wood worker magazines pointed out the fact that this will reduce the number of hobbyist woodworker wanna-be's because they simply will not be able to afford the equipment. I respect Mr. Gass for his invention and I think and hope he makes millions, that's the American way1. He has designed and built a beautiful machine. But when he is on the team to force this on the industry, he just jumped the fence and is not on the side of promoting wood working as a hobby. You cannot protect a person from himself or herself. When someone is injured on a Saw Stop, he may begin to understand the folks on this side of the fence.
 

Bas

Recovering tool addict
Bas
Corporate Member
Freedom and rights are funny things. Take this article on dentists and whitening. The FTC is removing restrictions for people do to business. The NC Board of Dental Examiners argues that the FTC is interfering with its right to regulate this part of the industry. So more government involvement here means less regulation on small businesses...which is more freedom...but more government involvement is interfering with an industry's right to regulate itself, which is less freedom. Makes my head hurt. I can't deal with a reality that can't be described with soundbites and simple slogans :)

Do I agree with forcing every manufacturer to make their saws safer? I don't know. It would be easier if Steve Gass didn't own the patents or SawStop company, and was just a concerned father whose son lost two digits in a tragic accident. Then he'd just be another overly protective parent, and we could bring the discussion down to what this is all about: Money. Saws with flesh-sensing technology cost more. No doubt about it. But if you add up the cost of all those lost fingers (loss of productivity, workers comp, permanent disability, health care insurance), that can't be cheap either.

I do think that the tablesaw is in a category by himself. Contractors, floor installers, carpenters, handymen etc. all use them, often in less than ideal circumstances since they have to take the saw to the job site. Band saws, jointers, shapers etc. have a much, much smaller market since they're (more) specific to woodworking.

And I definitely agree there is such a thing as personal responsibility. Don't stick the chisel in your eye. I don't care if it didn't have a warning label. But where do you draw the line? I have to buy aspirin in a bottle that's hard to open because a child may get to it. Is this a sensible precaution, or are we condoning negligent parenting? Are people now deliberately leaving pill bottles around because they rely on the safety of the cap? Granted, the example isn't entirely fair, since the cost of the new bottle design is only marginally higher. Still, given the size of the pharmaceutical industry, if it's half a cent per bottle, we're still talking millions.

I do worry about what might happen if the technology does become required. The small benchtop saws would probably disappear, since it's unlikely they can handle the impact of the brake. We might have more people rigging upside-down circular saws to avoid having to buy a much larger table saw, cutting off more fingers... :saw::saw:

Or we could all get Euro sliders instead! :slap:
 

merrill77

Master Scrap Maker
Chris
I find issues like this fascinating. I suppose because I find myself torn between the two sides.

I am a very strong believer in personal responsibility. I am also a strong supporter of a justice system that allows people to get recourse from negligent behavior. That Ryobi case infuriates me because table saws are inherently dangerous. The company wasn't negligent - the user was. Is the product dangerous? Yes. No more than any of the dozens of competitive products.

As an engineer and entrepreneur, I have a lot of respect for Mr Gass's invention, his persistence and the quality product they offer. OTOH, I am disgusted that he has tried, repeatedly, to _force_ customers to buy something that they may not want.

I'm a bit surprised that insurance companies and business owners haven't embraced this technology more. If I owned a cabinet shop, I wouldn't let any of my employees anywhere near a table saw that wasn't a SawStop. And maybe they won't have a choice soon. But IMO, they should have that choice.

Well, there's my 2c.
 

dlrion

New User
Dan
OK I am going to sound like a total idiot by asking this question.... but I have never understood the whole riving knife concept...


I have always removed them on my tools and never noticed any difference


What is the whole idea here?
 

manfre

New User
Manfre
OK I am going to sound like a total idiot by asking this question.... but I have never understood the whole riving knife concept...


I have always removed them on my tools and never noticed any difference


What is the whole idea here?
A riving knife prevents the wood from pinching the blade. If the blade gets pinched, the wood could get lifted off the table and launched back at the user (kickback).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Our Sponsors

LATEST FOR SALE LISTINGS

Top