A National Consumer League (NCL) fact sheet reports even more disturbing numbers, “an estimated 33,400 individuals required emergency department treatment to address injuries caused by table saws. Of these 30,800 (92 percent) were related to the victim making contact with the saw blade.” (2)
NCL goes on to explain, “More than 4,000 of these injuries require amputations – an average of 11 per day.” (3)
A survey conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported the estimated total of table/bench saws related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms for a two-year period was 79,500. This total represents 78% of the estimated total stationary saw injuries of 101,900. The numbers are based upon National Electronic Injury Surveillance System data. (4)
Yet, table/bench saws are not the only type of saws causing injuries.
Types of Saws
There are many types of saws on the market. These are a few of the most common: (5)
- Table saws — “It is precisely what the name suggests; a saw mounted in a table.” (6) These saws are the foundations of modern workshops. They cause an estimated 39,750 annual injuries.
- Miter saws — Across the U.S., there are an estimated 6,800 injuries annually from miter saws. This portable saw “consists of a circular blade mounted on a pivoting arm that allows you to select the desired angle.” (7)
- Band saws — The national annual injury rate for band saws is 3,550. “It is an upright cabinet-style saw, with pulleys above and below to move a fine blade.” (8)
- Radial arm saws — These have an annual injury rate of 350 per year. Radial arm saws “resemble miter or chop saws. However, the difference is that the motor and blade suspend from an arm that extends out over the surface of the material you are cutting. The arm gives the saw a greater cutting surface” (9)
If you have suffered from a serious saw accident, please contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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Common Injuries from Saws
No matter the type of saw, injuries they inflict can be severe, perhaps even lethal.
“Fingers and hands are the most frequently injured body part and lacerations are the most common injury. Individuals suffering from occupational injuries tend to be younger than those injured during amateur woodworking. A small, but important minority of injuries are to students participating in school shop classes,” concluded one study. (10)
These are some of the most common injuries from saws: (11)
- Amputations of fingers, thumbs, and hands — Researchers found, “Amputation was more common in the adult population (14% vs 12%).”
- Fractures — “Fractures and dislocations were slightly more common in the pediatric population (15% vs 13%).”
- Lacerations — “Lacerations were the most common finger and thumb injury.” Rates of lacerations for minors were marginally higher than adults (65% vs. 64%).
Saw Safety Is Critical
It is important saws are properly maintained and properly installed. Employers must make sure they are set up in an area providing safety for the operator and any people nearby. Flying debris is always a danger.
Also, employers should provide safety gear. This gear might include goggles, aprons, and protective gloves.
Injuries can occur if the user has not been properly trained. Everyone who uses saws should be trained in how to operate the saws and understand all safety procedures.
This is especially true for minors, since the “most notable group of individuals injured by table saws are minors injured in school woodshop courses. … Shop class mishaps, while rare, frequently result in serious injury with lifelong consequences.” (12)
Minors and School Shop Class Injuries
Many of the outcomes of shop class injuries involve “sensory and range of motion deficits in patients who had tendon, nerve, or artery repair and sensitivity in patients treated with revision amputation.” (13)
It is significant the U.S. Department of Labor regulations prohibit minors from operating “power-driven woodworking” tools, such as saws, in the workplace. (14) (15) “Yet, this equipment is regularly used by children as young as 11-years-old in middle school and high school shop and industrial arts classes.” (16)
Depending upon the circumstances, a child who has been injured in a school shop class accident involving use of a power saw may have grounds for a lawsuit. For example, your child’s class has a table saw, but the saw lacks a blade guard, or the blade guard has been incorrectly installed.
If your child is injured while using the saw, the teacher and school can be held accountable.
What if the blade guard was correctly installed, and your child was hurt while using the saw anyway? It may be there was a problem with the saw or the blade guard.
Manufacturers are responsible for flaws and defects in their products and any of its components. Claims against manufacturers are known as product liability claims.
Product liability claims may be based on negligence or strict liability. A successful product liability lawsuit must show the product was defective. (17)
In these cases, there are three types of defects: (18)
- Design defects — These defects are “inherent” in the products. They exist before the saws are manufactured. For example, a blade may be defective if it cannot adequately perform while someone makes a specific type of cut, the one the saw is designed to be used for.
- Manufacturing defects — These defects occur during the process of creating the saws. A flaw may exist in the materials used to construct the saw or in the components used to hold the saw together, or keep the blade in place.
- Marketing defects — These defects include failure to warn people of hidden dangers in saws or incorrect instructions accompanying the saws.
If you or someone you know has experienced a saw accident on the job or at school, understand your legal rights and contact us today.
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How W&L Can Help
Product liability cases can be extremely complex. This is why you should obtain an experienced attorney to represent your interests.
Weitz & Luxenberg has decades of experience representing clients who were seriously injured in product liability cases. Our team of attorneys have been successful in cases such as:
- $2.96 million for a workplace accident. A laborer lost part of his leg due to a negligent coworker. Also, the company did not have adequate barriers installed in the space where the men were working.
- Multimillion dollar settlement in a negligence case. A man sustained a traumatic brain injury after a fall from an apartment building walkway. There were no parapets or fencing on the outer edge, a violation of both state law and city code.