And in other news, people no longer buying Ford Pintos

Change is hard.  I get it.  The people in the horse and buggy business probably didn’t like to see the advent of the automobile.  But as technology changes, especially in the the area of safety improvements, business must change and adapt along with it.

secret handshake

It is disappointing, then, but perhaps not surprising, to learn that many manufactures of table saws, such as Bosch, Black & Decker, Makita, and Ryobi, have been conspiring to thwart new safety rules to require automatic blade stop technology, called Saw Stop, in their saws.  And this is no small issue.  67,000 U.S. workers and do-it-your-selfers suffer blade contact injuries every year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

What does this mean to you:

Its one thing if they don’t want to adopt the safer technology, but its quite another to actively try to stop safer technology from being adopted as the standard.

Shop around before making a major tool purchase.  What you don’t know can hurt you.

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The itsy, bitsy baby climbed out of the high chair

I saw this story in the Columbus Dispatch today noting an increase in the number of injuries to babies caused by high chairs.  On average, 9,400 kids are hurt every year due to high chairs – a number that has been on the rise.

Baby in highchair

To be sure, some injuries were caused by children climbing out, while other are related to defects in the chair itself.

What does this mean to you:

Always register your baby products with the manufacturer so you are kept abreast of recalls.  Or, you can sign up to receive alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

 

Four score and seven fingers ago…

Now is the time you would expect a blog about product safety to post various tips and links about current fireworks law in Ohio and about how dangerous fireworks are, how you can be pretty badly hurt by them, and how you should really never use them.  Ever.  Well, not this blog.

Pew, pew, pew!

Instead, remember (just as I remind my kids each year when I read the Declaration of Independence to them) that one of the reasons we actually broke off and started are own, brand new country was the fact that King George III had taken away our right to have a jury trial.  That’s right.  Having your case heard before a jury – where both parties stand equal before the law- was so important to guys like Jefferson and Madison, that if they couldn’t have it, they were going to start their own country.  Jefferson even listed in the Declaration of Independence that the King was “depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.”  That, among other reasons, required our separation from Britain.

What does this mean to you:

Be well, and have a safe and happy Fourth of July.

A better mousetrap

Whenever time allows, I try to get into the workshop for some quality time woodworking.

This is a stand-up desk I built. I now use it in my office at work.

Half the fun or working on projects are the tools you get to use.  But to say that these tools can be dangerous is an understatement, and few tools are more dangerous than the table saw.  Every year, more than 3,500 people lose a finger on a traditional table saw.

This saw does not have SawStop, much less a guard.

But there is a technology that can prevent virtually all finger amputations from table saws.  Its called SawStop.  It works by sensing the electrical  current in a finger and immediately stops the blade from spinning.  However, none of the major manufacturers of table saws have incorporated this technology into their saws.  The companies, through their trade group – The Power Tool Institute, are even fighting making this technology mandatory for all table saws.

What does this mean to you:

Does everyone know that table saws are dangerous?  Sure.  But does everyone know that the manufacturers could make their table saws safer and avoid the horror of amputations, but have chosen not to?  Methinks not. Even when a product does not malfunction, it may still be defective based on the design choices made by the manufacturer.