Nothing quite like a photo of a politician posing as if he’s about to feed a board through a table saw - his tie dangling from his neck - to stir the emotions of woodworkers.
This isn’t just any politician posing with just any saw. It’s California Assemblyman Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) hovering over a SawStop to promote his bill, AB 2218, the Table Saw Safety Act. William’s bill would require that all new table saws sold in California as of January 1, 2015 “be equipped with a safety device that substantially mitigates injury when human skin comes close to or in contact with the blade."
California Assemblyman Das Williams demonstrates a table saw outfitted with a SawStop device. The photo is taken from a video promoting California's Table Saw Safety Act, sponsored by Williams. View the full video at the end of this article. AB 2218 cruised through the California Assembly by a 64-4 vote in May and is expected to be voted on by the state’s senate next month.
The irony of the lawmaker who is championing table saw safety posing in such a nonchalant manner did not escape many of the readers who commented on my July 3 story: Home Depot and Lowe’s Oppose Table Saw Safety Rule.
The dangling tie was just one of eight faux pas noted by reader Kenny Carmody, who wrote, ““I realize this is only a photo and publicity stunt but come on? At least make the use of a table saw look correct while posing for a photo.” Carmody went on to offer the following list of “safety violations” depicted in the photo:
- No safety glasses;
- No hearing protection;
- Wearing a tie;
- Wearing a ring;
- No blade guard;
- Improper blade height’;
- No push shoe/stick; and
- A bit odd hand placement and body position.
“This is why people have accidents. Proper training and techniques are the key to safety!”
John Gowrie of Suffern, NY, jumped in. “Kenny, I am glad someone else posted all the obvious violations in this picture. Obviously this joker has NO IDEA how to use a table saw and probably should not be sponsoring such a bill until he had some training.”
Andrew M. Roy Sr. also chimed in that the photo of Williams would not make for a very good table saw safety poster. Incredible!!! I myself had a hard time getting past the initial photo of Mr Williams in his tie dangling above a blade the is almost four times above the workpiece!!! Of course he is a politician and no one on his staff has the first idea of how to properly set up the saw. I know it is a staged picture but it still sends a VERY BAD MESSAGE!!!”
Rich Christianson is Associate Publisher and Editor at Large of Woodworking Network. During his 25+ years covering the wood products industry, Rich has toured hundreds of manufacturing plants throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His reporting has covered everything from the state of the industry and impact of wood imports to technology and environmental issues. In his current capacity he is responsible for editing the daily Woodworking Network Update newsletter and coordinating events including the annual Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and Canada’s biennial Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.orgRead more of Rich Christianson's blogs.