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Table Saw Accident Statistics | Circular Band and Power Saw Injuries

Table Saw Accident Statistics | Circular Band and Power Saw InjuriesTable saw accidents are common. In fact there is a reported 10 amputations each day from the use of a table saw in the U.S. alone. This only includes amputation injuries and not other related lacerations. In fact there are over 40,000 table saw injuries each year. Of that number 10% results in a amputations to the plaintiff. To make matters worse table saw defects are preventable if manufacturers would implement new technologies which would reduce or all together stop injury. However they have been slow to make this change and consumers are paying the price. Amputation Preventing Technology TABLE SAW ACCIDENT STATISTICSTechnological advances have been made to prevent sudden amputation from a kickback while using a table saw. These type of advances immediately stop any type of  Circular blade movement the moment there is contact with flesh. As a result there is almost never any serious injuries. However, many manufacturers have aggressively fought to lobby against implementing these new technologies arguing cost increases. These arguments are without merit considering the multibillion dollar healthcare cost associated with amputation injuries. Not to mention the economic impact of amputees not being able to seek gainful employment in certain industries. Additionally, manufacturers should allow the consumer to choose and offer models that will help reduce or prevent these types of injuries. When a manufacturer fails to implement new technologies which can reduce or limit injuries, they will be held liable for a manufacturing defect. These types of defects assert that, because the manufacturer failed or install available technologies to reduce or limit injury they failed to produce a product that is safe. While it is important to mention that a table saw is inherently dangerous. Its sole purpose is to cut through wood and other materials with the use of a high power blade. However, this does not negate the manufacturers responsibility to make this produce safe and actively work to implement new technologies to do so.

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Because of their tendency to produce injuries of greater than average severity, woodworking circular – saw accidents deserve special attention in allaccident-prevention programs.
  • Deaths are not common in these accidents, but permanent disabilities occur much more frequently than in other kinds ofaccidents. Nearly half (48 %) of the disabling injuries in this survey re­sulted in some degree of permanent disability. In contrast, the proportionof permanent impairments among all disabling injuries experienced in manufacturing activities generally averages less than 6 percent.
  • It is impossible on the basis of any data available to estimate eitherthe annual volume of circular-saw accidents or the total amount of manpowerlost because of those accidents. It is obvious, however, that the injury total is large and that the resulting economic losses are huge.
Detachable Blade Guards Many units have detachable blade guards. These blade guards cause serious injury when they are removed. However, manufacturers have designed these blade guards in such a way that in order to properly use the product you need to actually detach the blade guard. Woodworking is a skilled profession. Many carpenters and woodworkers use saws, but the blade guard often blocks their ability to perform precise cuts. As a result many have to detach the blade guard. However, because of the way it is constructed the blade guard are difficult to re-attach often leaving the blade guard exposed. Manufacturers are aware of this problem however they have failed to take steps to correct it. Either by adding features to help with the detachment issue or by modifying the saw to be used without having to detach the blade guard. Spreader v. Riving Knife Manufacturers have known that riving knives are a more efficient and less dangerous alternative to spreaders. Spreaders are known to cause kickbacks which can further lead to amputations, head injuries or even death. When the particle board, ply wood or wooden material is kicked back it can hit the user with high levels of speed. The total injury caused by this type of injury is unknown.
In nearly 80 percent of the circular- saw accidents analyzed, the injured person received his injury by coming into contact with the saw blade. Generally, he was feeding number into the saw at the time of injury, but contact with the blade also occurred frequently when:
  • removing scraps of lumberor sawdust from the saw table;
  • adjusting or changing blades; or
  • placing lumber on the saw table.
* This report was prepared in the Branch of Industrial Hazards, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor, by Frank S. McElroy and George R.McCormack.
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