California assembly member Das Williams has introduced a proposed law that would make the sale of new table saws without active injury mitigation technology, illegal. As written, the law would take effect January 15, 2015 and defines the requirement as:
“technology to detect contact with, or dangerous proximity between, a hand or finger and the teeth of the blade above the table top of a table saw, and to prevent the blade from cutting the hand or finger deeper than one-eighth of an inch when the hand or finger approaches any portion of the blade above the table top at a speed of one foot per second from any direction and along any path. Notwithstanding the prior sentence, active injury mitigation technology may be temporarily deactivated by a person so that a saw can cut material which would otherwise be detected as a person.”
The federal government, through the Consumer Products Safety Commission, is in the process of considering proposed product safety requirements with similar specifications, and will be holding hearings sometime this year. While this law would not directly effect sales of table saws in other states, consumer legislation in California often has an impact beyond the borders of that state. Documents from the CPSC regarding this matter can be found at this link.
Popular Woodworking Magazine has written extensively about this issue, and related blog posts can be found here.