Comment Period on Table|Saw Safety Open, Again

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Consumer Product Safety Commission will allow the public to comment on whether a new safety standard is needed for table saws.



     This is the second time the commission has extended the public comment period since firstasking for information about table saw safety in Oct. 2011.
     Power Tool Institute Inc., a trade group backed by the biggest power tool brands, such as Black & Decker, Bosch and DeWalt, requested a 60 day extension in Dec. 2011 and then another 30 day extension, after that.
     The CPSC’s request for input on possible new safety standards for table saws was in response to a 2003 petition by Stephen Gass, inventor of the SawStop, which said that table saws are inherently dangerous even when they meet existing voluntary safety standards.
     The CPSC says there are nearly 70,000 table saw injuries per year.
     Most table saws use guards to prevent user contact with the blade, but the agency said that these are frequently disabled to allow greater control of the object being cut.
     Gass’ technology uses an electrical current running through the blade to detect when the blade comes into contact with skin – which carries an electrical charge – and a heavy aluminum brake to stop the blade within 3-5 milliseconds, according to the SawStop website.
     The agency first took up Gass’ petition in 2006, voting 2-1 to initiate the rulemaking process. However the effort stalled when former Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Hal Stratton left the agency.
     The new deadline for comments is March 16.
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