CPSC Invites More Table Saw Comments

Comments are due by March 16. Numerous comments already in the docket say there's no need to enact a new federal safety standard.

Though dozens of comments already have been submitting declaring there is no need for a new federal standard to make table saws safer to use, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is granting 30 more days for comments to be filed.

CPSC acted at the request of the Power Tool Institute, Inc., which first sought a 60-day extension and then asked for another 30 days.

The commission has been weighing a possible standard since 2003, when backers of Sawstop petitioned for one, saying an estimated 30,000 annual injuries involve table saws and 10 percent of them cause an amputation. The petitioners claimed current table saws pose an unacceptable risk of severe injury because they are inherently dangerous and lack an adequate safety system to protect the user from accidental contact with the blade.

However, multiple comments have been placed in the docket from people who say table saws have sufficient safety elements and come with instructions on safe use from their manufacturers that will prevent injury if followed. Numerous comments in the docket and on websites devoted to woodworking also claim there is a commercial motive, not a safety one, behind the petition seeking a standard.

To read submitted comments or to submit a new one by the March 16 deadline, search for Docket No. CPSC-2011-0074 at www.regulations.gov.

The commission published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on Oct. 11, 2011, in which it identified three regulatory alternatives:

  • a voluntary standard addressing risks associated with table saw blade contact injuries
  • a mandatory rule establishing performance requirements that would address these injuries
  • a labeling rule requiring specified warnings and instructions to address table saw blade contact injuries

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