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Table saws present risks for work injuries

Table saws are an incredibly common piece of equipment in both home workshops and in industrial workplaces. Table saw accidents are also very common, injuring about 67,000 workers in the United States every year. A table saw accident can result in knicks, cuts, or even the loss of a finger or multiple fingers. It is estimated that about 4,000 amputations each year occur as a result of table saw accidents. 

These numbers show the clear need for better workplace safety when it comes to table saws and in fact there is a device on the market that could help prevent some of these accidents but it is not widely used. 

The problem seems to be that the table saw manfuacturing industry is largely self-regulated and the big manufacturers have resisted licensing the patent on the technology that stops table saws from slicing into fingers. The technology involves a sensor for the saw that detects the difference between wood and flesh and stops the saw instantly to avoid an injury. 

When the industry that manufacturers a piece of dangerous equipment fails to adopt a readily available safety measure, employers and workers who must use these devices on a regular basis are left to find other ways to make the workplace safe. In some cases employers have purchased table saws made with the new technology, but they are available in a limited capacity. In other workplaces traditional table saws remain with guards that may or may not do enough to help protect workers. When a worker is injured by a table saw they have a right to seek coverage for their medical expenses and time away from work through the workers compensation insurance system, regardless of who is at fault for the injury.

Source:, "After More Than a Decade and Thousands of Disfiguring Injuries, Power Tool Industry Still Resisting, Safety Fix," Myron Levin, May 16, 2013. 

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