The Consumer Products Safety Commission will meet on October 5, 2011 to decide whether or not to continue with an “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” to address table saw blade contact injuries. If the commission decides to proceed, the next step will be to accept comments from the public on this issue. Comments will be accepted online or by mail. As soon as a decision is made, we’ll post the mail address, and a link to the website for comments. E-mail comments will not be accepted.
An in-depth draft report on the issue is available from CPSC at this link.
The commission is considering a performance standard that would require the adoption of “flesh detecting technology” in new table saws. This doesn’t have an effect on saws used in the workplace; another government agency, OHSA has jurisdiction there. The commission considers that the frequency and cost of table saw injuries to consumers is large enough to mandate government action.
This has been a complex and volatile issue, as the adoption of a performance standard is tangled with patent and other legal issues. CPSC is prevented from adopting a rule that would give a business advantage to one company, yet it remains to be seen how that can be accomplished given the number of patents held by the company that petitioned CPSC for this rule. We could see lengthy legal battles and serious changes in the types and cost of saws that are available.
The full document is well worth reading, no matter what side of this issue you are on, and as always, you comments are welcome here.