CLEVELAND -- The Power Tool Institute (PTI) has launched a PR campaign urging woodworkers to join it in opposing the SawStop from becoming a required safety feature for table saws.

The PTI issued a press release asking woodworkers and consumers to submit comments to the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSS), which is in the early stages of its proposed mandatory performance standard for table saws. The CPSC will accept comments through Dec. 12.

PTI's campaign also includes the creation of powertoolinstitute.info, a new page on the association's website dedicated to its views on CPSC's rule making, links to submitting comments to CPSC and suggested language

CPSC issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Oct. 11 noting that its study for 2007 and 2008 indicated there were approximately 67,300 injuries requiring medical treatment annually due to blade contact with associated costs of $2.36 billion each year.

Comments made by some CPSC commissioners indicated that flesh detecting technology such as the SawStop, would be required as part of its table saw safety rule.

"Shortly after I joined the Commission in 2009, I saw a demonstration of a braking mechanism for table saws, called SawStop, which would stop a saw blade instantaneously upon encountering someone’s finger or hand," said CPSC Commissioner Robert Alder. "I am also aware there are other competing technologies to SawStop that have yet to be brought to market. I know, for example, that the Power Tool Institute has developed flesh-sensing technology... Although I find myself extremely impressed by the SawStop technology, I am not in favor of writing a standard that would result in mandating a patented technology if such a result is avoidable."

PTI has argued that because SawStop has an extensive number of patents, it would be difficult for another company to develop a flesh-detecting device capable of competing in the marketplace. As a result, PTI says SawStop has a virtual monopoly on the technology and would require other table saw makers to pay it royalties for use of the device. PTI said woodworkers and consumers would pay hundreds of dollars more for saws and thatSawStop will not safeguard against all types of table saw injuries, including kick backs.

"Now is the time for table saw users to make their voices heard on a proposed government-mandated rule that could impose a specific patented technology on consumers and industry, creating a monopoly and raising prices for consumers. PTI is urging CPSC not to advance the rule and instead work with the industry to offer a suite of solutions that make sense for the entire range of products," the PTI said in its release.

Related:

CPSC Votes to Develop Table Saw Safety Rule Posted 10-18-11

Blog: Table Saw Safety: How Safe Is Safe Enough? Posted 9-30-11

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