Table Saw Accident and Injury Attorneys New York
Table Saw Function and Uses
The table saw is one of the most commonly seen and used tools in workshops, woodshops, and at construction sites. Due to the free spinning blade, the large work space, and the ability to use miter and other accessories, the table saw can accommodate a variety of cuts, allowing for the use of fewer saws to accomplish the same tasks. It is the saw of choice for ripping wood to length and width, one of the most common activities when framing houses or doing other forms of construction.
The table saw is a fairly simple piece of equipment, with a rotating saw blade half exposed on a flat surface. A rip fence is used as a guide to keep cuts straight, and a miter gauge can be used for angle cuts. Table saws should be equipped with a blade guard, to minimize the risk of injury, but many construction companies and other businesses do not install this important piece of safety equipment.
Table Saw Accidents
Though table saw accidents are most common when ripping wood, any type of cut can lead to injury. Whether or not ripping wood is more dangerous than other cuts, such as dadoing, beveling, or cross-cutting, is difficult to determine, as ripping is the most common type of cutting done on a table saw. There has been no large-scale study to determine which types of cuts are the most dangerous.
There are three predominant causes of injury when using a table saw:
- Cutting injuries when the hand comes into contact with the blade
- Injuries to eyes or other vulnerable areas due to expulsion of saw debris
- Trauma caused by saw or wood becoming jammed, causing “kickback”
Of these, the most likely to have serious repercussions are cutting injuries. Finger amputation is extremely common in table saw accidents, as any blade that can cut through wood can also cut through human flesh and bone. The powerful rotation of the blade also tends to pull at the fingers or hands it comes into contact with, increasing the likelihood of very serious injury.
Kickback is dangerous in two ways. First, it can cause serious traumatic injury, as the force transferred through the wood from the saw blade is tremendous. Also, kickback can cause loss of control of the wood, leading to hands or other body parts being drawn into the blade.
Table Saw Accident Safety and Prevention
Though working with power tools always carries an element of danger, there are a number of precautions businesses and individuals can take to drastically reduce the chance of injury. These precautions include:
- Requiring all workers to wear proper safety equipment at all times
- The installation and maintenance of guards on all table saws
- Replacing existing table saws with SawStop saws or other types of saws that include an automatic blade shutdown mechanic
SawStop saws were designed and manufactured to minimize the risk of serious injury in cases where a hand comes into contact with the saw blade. With SawStop saws and similar devices, a small electrical current runs through the blade. When the safety monitoring equipment detects the presence of human skin (which, because it is conductive, transmits the electrical signal differently from metal or wood), the blade automatically stops. Though this does not prevent all injuries, it drastically reduces the likelihood of serious injury and amputation.
Table Saw Product Liability
Whenever an individual is injured in a table saw accident, it is important to determine who is at fault. Sometimes, user error is responsible for the accident, but more often than not some safety feature has either been removed or maintenance on the saw has not been performed. A thorough inspection of the device is the only way to determine whether user error was responsible for the accident.
Though many businesses fail to provide proper maintenance on the saws, or remove guards because they believe they inhibit productivity, not all table saw accidents are the fault of either the business or the user. Faulty manufacturing and design can also contribute to table saw accidents, and when this is the case the manufacturer is liable.
Most manufacturers refuse to incorporate any type of automatic blade shutoff feature, even though these features have been demonstrated to drastically reduce both the number and severity of table saw accidents. Implementing these features is viewed as too expensive, and profit margins are placed ahead of user safety.
Legal Help for Table Saw Accident Victims
If you have been injured in a table saw accident, it is important that you determine whether proper protocols were in place. Too many businesses cut corners on tool safety, and knowing whether or not proper safety guards and other equipment was in place is key to determining who was responsible for the accident that occurred.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a table saw accident, gaining access to records regarding the safety and maintenance of tools is very difficult, and without the ability to ask questions and gain that access, it can be impossible to prove liability on the part of the saw manufacturer or business. New York law firm Finz & Finz will be able to gain that access, and will know what and who to ask to determine the extent of negligence. The Finz Firm can be reached toll free at (855) TOP-FIRM, or you can fill out the Free Table Saw Accident Case Evaluation Form at any time.