Table Saw Injury Lawsuit Filed Over Black & Decker’s Refusal to Use SawStop Technology
A recently filed product liability lawsuit alleges that a Porter-Cable table saw sold by a Black & Decker subsidiary was defective and unsafe due to its lack of SawStop Technology or a riving knife, which allegedly caused a Louisiana main to suffer a severe a permanent table saw injury.
The complaint (PDF) was filed last month by by Lawrence Herbert in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, naming Black & Decker, Porter-Cable Company, Rexon Corp. and Power Tool Specialists, Inc. as defendants. Herbert is from Houma, Louisiana, but both Black & Decker and it’s Porter-Cable unit are headquartered in Maryland.
Herbert indicates that he was using the Porter Cable PCB270TS table saw on November 7, 2014, when his fingers accidentally made contact with the blade, causing him to suffer severe damage to his hand.
According to allegations raised in the table saw injury lawsuit, Black & Decker failed to ensure that available safety features were included with their product, indicating that both the blade guard, and a splitter or spreader used to prevent wood kickbacks were inadequate.
The lawsuit notes that a riving knife installed behind the saw blade would be better at preventing kickbacks, when wood pinches the saw blade and is thrown back, potentially hitting the user’s hand and driving it into the spinning blade. Riving knives have been a standard on table saws in Europe for decades, but many manufacturers have failed to include the safety feature in the U.S. until recent years.
The complaint also argues that the saw should have contained SawStop or similar flesh-sensing technology, which is designed to detect when a blade comes into contact with a finger or hand, immediately bringing the blade to a stop before any serious damage is caused.
The case joins a growing number of table saw injury lawsuits filed in recent years against various different manufacturers over failure to include SawStop Technology, which has been proven to prevent the blade from causing more than a small nick in the skin.
Lawsuits allege that the 20 year-old Saw Stop Technology could prevent most amputations, nerve damage and other injuries reported each year if the safety feature had been adopted by the industry. However, manufacturers have bee accused of engaging in a group boycott and refused the license the technology for their products.
SawStop involves the use of a sensor system similar to what is found in touch lamps, which detects electrical conductivity of the human body in proximity to the blade. At the slightest touch of human flesh, the blade is instantly grinded to a stop.
According to a 2014 survey analysis by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), there are about 76,100 table saw injuries annually, based on 2007 and 2008 numbers. The injuries cost a total of about $2.36 billion per year, and leave about 3,000 people a year have with an amputated finger.
The CPSC has been investigating the possibility of requiring new table saw safety regulations, and voted unanimously in 2011 to look at potential new safety requirements. SawStop technology is one of the most likely features to be considered by federal regulators as a standard that should be on every table saw.
Manufacturers have maintained that the additional safety measures would raise the price of table saws significantly, and in some cases may quadruple the cost of the tools. They also say that the safety features already standard on most table saws should provide adequate protection.
Herbert is pursuing causes of action for strict product liability, negligence and breach of implied warranty of fitness, seeking compensation for table saw injuries that he alleges could have been avoided.
JohnJuly 15, 2017 at 3:08 am
Please watch a video where our Porter Cable Table Saw turns on by itself.before reset button has been reset.This is "extremely dangerous" and I can replicate this happening with a 100% success rate. It turns itself back on every single time. The video's at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm0l4aPkhUw
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