The PTI (Power Tool Institute) is letting everyone know that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is being petitioned to impose a mandatory rule, in an effort to have the government require a specific active flesh detection technology for all table saws. On October 11, 2011, CPSC took a possible first step of prescribing such a mandatory rule by issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR).
Now, the PTI is asking contractors, professionals, woodworkers, consumers and all interested parties to submit comments to the ANPR by the CPSC’s deadline of December 12, 2011. They’ve created a website at www.powertoolinstitute.info that contains a link to submit a comment to the CPSC and other resources to ensure that woodworkers’ and other consumers’ voices are heard on this important issue.
The gist of the form letter is this:
I strongly oppose the ANPR for “a system to reduce or prevent injuries from contact with the blade of a table as considered.” The ANPR would mandate the use of a single technology, potentially creating a monopoly and undermine the development of new table saw safety technology. Instead of imposing a single technology that may not be appropriate for all table saws, CPSC should work with the power tool industry and others in the table saw community to promote safety through the voluntary standard process. The standard, ANSI/UL 987, already is working, has demonstrated positive acceptance by table saw users, and is in the best interest of safety.
What’s happening is that Steven Gass’ lobbying efforts have paid off. SawStop’s creator has managed to gross out enough lawmakers and CPSC members with gruesome images and statistics of finger amputations, making them think that these accidents could have been prevented.
They’re right. They could have been prevented. By proper use of the table saw guard and anti-kickback accessories.
However, up until the new 2010 UL standards (also known as ANSI/UL 987) table saw guards and anti-kickback accessories were cumbersome and prevented many different types of cuts from being made (easily, or at all). As a result, many users removed these safety devices.
ALL of the stats rendered to the CPSC so far are based on pre-ANSI/UL 987 guards.
And ALL of the stats represent people who improperly used their saws.
While we feel for these people who were injured, the current voluntary standards enacted by the PTI and the associated manufacturers should, at the very least, be given a chance before NEW standards are put into place. This goes triple when those new standards are hamstrung by locked up patents that create a monopolistic environment.
The CPSC’s claim that “cannot adopt performance standards” falls on deaf ears due to the fact that even Mr. Gass has stated that SawStop’s patent web would give it a monopoly if the CPSC were to adopt the standard requested in their petition. If this occurs, then the CPSC would indeed be imposing a design standard rather than a performance standard as the Act requires.
To join the PTI’s fight against a SawStop monopoly and the end of the portable jobsite saw as we know it, please consider signing the PTI’s petition.