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Consumer group hails vote on California table saw safety bill

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July 6, 2012
Contact: NCL Communications: (202) 835-3323, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington, DC—The National Consumers League (NCL) is celebrating the July 3 passage of the Table Saw Safety Act in the California Senate Judiciary Committee, receiving the three votes needed to move it from the Committee to the full State Senate. The California State Assembly had already passed the bill by a vote of 64-4.

NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg, who traveled to Sacramento to speak in support of the bill, commended its author, Senator Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara), and the three members of the Judiciary Committee for their support. Greenberg testified that “based on national data, California consumers suffer 6,700 injuries each year from table saws and about one amputation each day. And the grave hazards posed by a 100mph-spinning table saw blade can be completely eliminated by technology either currently available or in development. We urge the Committee to act on this critical consumer safety measure.”

The California bill requires that, after January 1, 2015, any new table saw sold in the state of California must be designed with an “active injury mitigation system.” Such technology must be able to prevent or detect contact with, or dangerous proximity between, a hand or finger and the teeth of a spinning table saw blade, and act to prevent severe injury to the hand or the finger. Similar technology is already available on table saws in the market and they have proven successful at virtually eliminating the horrific lacerations and amputations that occur on table saws without the technology. The legislation is supported by consumer organizations, labor unions, and medical associations. It is opposed by table saw manufacturers and associated industry groups.

Daniel Curtin, Director of the California Conference of Carpenters, endorsed the legislation. He said, “The carpenters proudly support AB 2218 (Williams) because safety devices on table saws protect our members from severe injuries and possible loss of their livelihood.”

“The technology required by AB 2218 would help ensure that construction workers using dangerous table saws would have one more way to remain safe on the job," said Cesar Diaz, Legislative & Political Director, State Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission is also working on a proposed rule for a mandatory safety standard on table saws, but the time it will take for completion of a federal safety standard is unknown.

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.