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Shezad Malik MD JD
Shezad Malik MD JD
Attorney • (888) 210-9693

Table Saw Amputation and Serious Injuries

7 comments

Table saws are one of the most dangerous tools to work with. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are nearly 60,000 blade injuries every year. Nearly 4000 of these injuries involved amputation.

According to table saw experts, each of these injuries is entirely preventable. Technology known as “SawStop” has existed for more than 10 years that immediately stops a spinning saw blade once it comes into contact with human skin.

A consumer who comes into contact with a spinning table saw blade equipped with SawStop will suffer a slight nick or cut, as opposed to a serious injury or amputation.

Large tool manufacturering companies have refused to incorporate the SawStop technology into their saws, claiming it is too expensive.

Recently, a federal appeals court upheld a $1.5 million verdict for Carlos Osorio, a Massachusetts man injured in a construction site accident involving a Ryobi table saw. The accident occurred when Osorio’s hand slipped while cutting along the length of a piece of hardwood flooring, causing his left hand to slide into the saw’s blade and leading to a severe injury to his hand.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has taken recent action that may force saw companies to adopt the SawStop technology. On October 5, 2011, the CPSC unanimously approved a recommendation to begin the process of creating new performance standards for table saws that would require the reduction or elimination of blade contact injuries.

Manufacturers of Table Saws include:

  • Sears
  • Ryobi
  • Makita
  • Kwikset
  • DeWalt
  • Bosch
  • Skil
  • Delta
  • Grizzly
  • Craftsman

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Action

According to the CPSC, there are about 67,300 table saw injuries annually, costing about $2.36 billion per year. About 4,000 people a year have a finger amputated. That does not include injuries from portable circular saws.

Power tool manufacturers say that most of the safety measures would raise the price of saws significantly and in some cases may quadruple the cost of the tools. They also say that the safety features already standard on most table saws should provide adequate protection.

7 Comments

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  1. Giovanni says:
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    I have never had a table saw until recently because of the fear of an injury. However, I had planned a home remodeling job which absolutely required a tablesaw so I bought a Porter-Cable one.
    With great hesitation I started using it taking all recommendend precautions. I made several try-uot cuts going slowly.

    I have to say that if you wear eyewear protection, earmuffs, gloves, stay concentrated, use TWO push sticks, use a feather board, and keep all the anti-kicking devices in place the risk of a finger injury is null.

  2. Larry Bryant says:
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    bout half of the first joint. I now have a sawstop

  3. Tom Fulton says:
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    It baffles me why people refuse to use the guard the saw manufactures provide. There is almost no training provided to the workers and the first thing they do is disable the safety features….Go figure.

  4. Marvin McConoughey says:
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    Tom says, “It baffles me why people refuse to use the guard the saw manufactures provide.” People refuse for much the same reason that you do not use a safety helmet while driving your car. It can be done, but it is less convenient. Some cuts cannot be made with the guard in place. In the SawStop technology, the riving knife–the safety device that reduces pinching of warped wood following the saw cut–is too thick to allow use of the thin-kerf blades. This is an important defect because thin blades are becoming more common and may acquire majority status in consumer sales. One can see directly on Amazon.com how much more costly the SawStop table saw is compared to saws of the same power and size without SawStop. It is very costly. As time passes and more people buy SawStop, its own deficiencies and accident rate will become visible. Just now, it lacks a substantial track record.

  5. Richard Deenis says:
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    NEVER wear gloves around a saw. It increases possibility of finger getting caught in the blade. Check youtube for video on it. I’m a life-long woodworker from a family of contractors and I teach in a university scene shop. trust me on this one.

  6. Ed says:
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    I’ve had and used table saws for about 40 years. I got one small nick once. A safety attitude and concentrated presence of mind are always needed. I think radial arm saws are much more dangerous. Certain cuts require temporarily disabling safety features, especially those using special jigs. But the safety items always neeed to be put back after.

  7. richard deenis says:
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    And Mr. Osario had no training on the saw; the saw had the blade guard removed; he was operating a benchtop model saw on the floor on his knees; and on top of all that, the board had bound up the saw so he stopped the saw, pulled the board out looked it over, then tried to cut the board again. This suit reminds me of an attempt a few years back to make manufacturers of light aircraft to be liable for their products for up to 25 years after sale. How could the manufacturers be responsible for a plane after 25 years of use and maintanence at the hands of potentially many owners? The tort system in this country is abused.