Two items are in the news today in the ongoing story about table saw injuries. In Boston yesterday, the US Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling in the case of Carlos Osorio vs. One World Technologies, awarding Osorio $1.5 million for a job site injury. You can read the entire court decision here.
In Washington, D.C., Robert Adler, a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a statement about the vote to give advanced notice of a proposed rule regarding table saw injuries. In the statement, Adler mentions being impressed with the SawStop, and concerned about the number and severity of injuries to users of table saws, especially those older than 65. He also gives an indication of where the commission may be heading:
“Although I find myself extremely impressed by the SawStop technology, I am not in favor of writing a standard that would result in mandating a patented technology if such a result is avoidable.”
That “if” is underlined in the commissioner’s statement, and it’s a mighty big “if”. The commission can only write rules that define performance standards, they can not mandate any particular technology. Which raises the question of how manufacturers can meet a standard, if the technology to implement that standard is protected by a number of patents. If we see a new rule from CPSC, will we see safer saws, or years of lawsuits over patents? How expensive will table saws become, and will we see the least expensive saws on the market disappear?
The process of formulating a new rule by CPSC calls for public comments, and if you’re reading this blog you’re the type of person who will be most affected by this. You also have experience that will be beneficial to the commission, to help them make a reasonable and responsible decision. When the public comment period opens, we will post the link here on this blog. In the meantime, your comments are welcome below.