Over ten Americans each day suffer from finger or hand amputations because of table saw-related accidents. Congress could enact a law that would require table saws to be equipped with auto-stop safety technology. This near-flawless safety technology would prevent almost all table saw injuries from happening, but Congress has been dragging its feet.
Auto-stop table saw technology is nothing short of a miracle in terms of its capacity to improve the safety of woodworkers and carpenters throughout the country. It is not anything particularly new. Auto-stop features have been available for well over a decade and numerous studies have proved that the safety feature works.
The product, called "SawStop," was invented by a man named Steve Gass. Gass said that he came up with the idea for the invention while looking at the table saw in his woodworking shop. The thought occurred to him that he might be able to get the blade to stop quickly enough so that it wouldn't cause serious injury if someone touched it.
After a lot of testing and prototyping, Gass fed an electrical current through the saw blade to create an automatic switch to disable the saw and stop it instantly upon contact with human skin. This is achieved because of the fact that skin conducts electricity and wood does not. The conductive capacity of human skin is enough to activate an emergency cutoff switch and braking systems on saws equipped with the technology.
If you regularly work with table saws, or if you employ workers who do, you might want to consider investing in the SawStop safety technology. It could prevent your or someone close to you from having a serious or even debilitating injury. In the meantime, though, if you get hurt by a table saw that isn't equipped with an auto-stop feature, you may want to investigate whether you can receive workers' compensation benefits to pay for your medical care.