National Consumers League supports table saw safety standard proposed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission

December 8, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League (NCL) submitted comments to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) this week on the Commission’s proposed rule to require a safety standard for all table saws. The “Safety Standard Addressing Blade-Contact Injuries on Table Saws” proposal is projected to prevent more injuries and save more money than any rule ever proposed at the agency.

“NCL applauds the CPSC for moving toward a final rule to make table saws safe and to prevent the over 50,000 injuries – many of them finger amputations – that occur each year from table saw accidents,” said NCL CEO Sally Greenberg.

Pam Gilbert, NCL Board member and former Executive Director of the CPSC noted, “The matter of table saw safety has been an ongoing concern of the CPSC and National Consumers League for more than a decade; we believe this rule would finally bring much-needed safety technology to this ubiquitous woodshop tool found in millions of US households.”

Previous voluntary standards have been ineffective in preventing injuries, thus the need for this mandatory safety standard using proven effective technology that prevents serious injuries from table saws. Indeed, a 15-year trend analysis (from 2004 to 2018) of table saw injuries showed no reduction in table saw injuries from 2010 to 2018, despite the fact that a voluntary standard that became effective in 2010 required new table saws to be equipped with modular blade guard systems.

The Commission expects that the proposed rule would prevent or mitigate an estimated 49,176 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments or other medical settings per year and that net cost benefits, even when factoring the cost of the technology, would range from $1.28 billion to $2.32 billion per year.

The proposed rule would limit the depth of cut of a table saw to 3.5 mm or less when a test probe, acting as surrogate for a human finger or other body part, contacts the spinning blade at an approach rate of 1 m/s. CPSC staff estimated that the proposed rule would prevent or mitigate the severity of 54,800 medically treated blade-contact injuries annually.

To read the views of woodworkers themselves, this YouTube link tells first-hand accounts, some of which have been included in NCL’s comments. One is below:

“My father cut all four of his fingers off with a Radial arm saw years ago. Three fingers are bolted back together so he can only move them at the knuckle, the index finger was lost due to infection. He had to have a skin graft on all his fingers pulled from his thigh, so they now all grow hair so he has to shave them otherwise they grow hair. In airports, he always sets off the metal detectors. When I was looking at table saws about 8 years ago it was between the sawstop contractor (hybrid wasn’t out yet) and Powermatic 3hp cabinet. My father was with me at the time while I was a teenager at woodcraft. One look at his hand and it was obvious which saw I walked out with. 8 years later I still use the Sawstop contractor saw and it looks just like when I bought it, Its a fantastic investment and probably the only one that is relatively easy to justify to your wife. “

As Commissioner Rich Trumka, himself a woodworker, observed in his comments “…[t]he rule would provide the greatest net benefit to society of any rule in the agency’s history that I’m aware of—up to a $2.32 billion net benefit every year.”

The National Consumers League fully supports this Proposed Rule and greatly appreciates the years of dedication and work from the CPSC’s engineers, statisticians, and economists and the leadership of CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn Saric in moving this to the top of the Commission’s agenda.

NCL’s comments can be found here.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

NCL applauds CPSC’s vote on a historic table saw safety rule that could save up to $2.32 billion and prevent 50,000 grave table saw injuries each year

October 20, 2023

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 202-207-2831

Washington, DC – The National Consumers League applauds the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) 3-1 vote on October 18, 2023, to move forward towards a mandatory safety standard for electric table saws, which cause 50,000 partial or full amputations each year and cost the health care system upwards of $2.3 billion a year.

“We thank Chairman Alex Hoehn Saric for his leadership and Commissioners Richard Trumka Jr. and Mary Boyle for their support,” said NCL’s CEO Sally Greenberg. “NCL has been working to get requirements for safer table saw designs since 2008. This is a very welcome development for a product that is so ubiquitous in American homes, while at the same time posing such a grave danger of injury. Over 20 years, table saws have injured one million people.”

NCL Board member and former Executive Director of the CPSC, Pamela Gilbert, noted that this vote is long overdue. “The technology to almost entirely do away with serious injuries from table saws has been available for over two decades. Members of the power tool industry, sadly, have resisted safer designs despite many opportunities to do so,” said Gilbert. “The delay has led to hundreds of thousands of permanent, debilitating injuries that could have been prevented. It’s time for the industry to step up and do the right thing for their customers.”

NCL noted that Commissioner Trumka is seeking information from leadership at seven power tool companies, including SawStop, which already incorporates Active Injury Mitigation to prevent serious table saw injuries, as called for in the proposed rule. He seeks their views on a faster implementation period than the 3 years called for in the proposed rule. Responses to his letter are due on November 15, 2023, and will prove interesting and instructive.


About the National Consumers League (NCL)
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

NCL Executive Director testifies before the DC Council in support of the Sunshine in Litigation Act

December 9, 2022

Media contact: National Consumers League – Melody Merin,, 703-298-2614

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sally Greenberg, NCL’s Executive Director, testified before the D.C. Council Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety yesterday to express support for the “Sunshine in Litigation Act of 2022.

Read her full testimony here.

Finally, regulation where it’s needed: seven new bills with a focus on consumer safety

headshot of NCL Health Policy intern Alexa

By NCL Health Policy intern Alexa Beeson

This June, the House Energy and Commerce’s Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing in which they considered seven different bills concerning product safety. The hearing was motivated by a commitment to removing life-threatening products from the market, which–somehow–remain in circulation for purchase. Most notably, the bills address furniture tip-over (H.R. 2211), crib bumpers (H.R. 3170), inclined infant sleepers (H.R. 3172), and fire safety (H.R. 806).

The witnesses included Will Wallace, a manager at Consumer Reports; Crystal Ellis, a devastated mother and founder of Parents Against Tip-Overs; Chris Parsons, the president of Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters; and Charles A. Samuels, a member of Mintz, a law firm that represents manufacturers of some of the products implicated in various accidents.

Ellis was especially moving. She lost her son, Camden, five years ago on Father’s Day in a tip-over accident involving an unstable dresser. The day she testified would have been her son’s 7th birthday. Camden’s death and the deaths of many others in tip-over accidents catalyzed the founding of Parents Against Tip-Overs, which advocates for children who were victims of unsafe consumer products. Ellis recounted the devastating loss of her son and pleaded that the committee act to protect other children from suffering the same fate. Ellis urged the committee to evaluate the standards set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which are not regulated enough to prevent tip-overs.

Furniture tip-over is a more widespread problem than you might realize. According to the CPSC, an estimated annual average (2014-2016) of 9,300 children ages 0-19 were treated in the emergency department for furniture tip-over injuries, not including televisions or appliances. If you include television and other appliances, which were not covered in the bills at the hearing, the number jumps to more than 15,000. From 2000-2016, furniture tip-overs killed 431 children.

These deaths could have been prevented by enforcing stricter safety regulations. The current CPSC regulations do not demand mandatory safety standards for tip-over prevention. The product manufacturing industries are only held to a voluntary standard. Additionally, products under 30 inches tall are exempt from any such safety regulations. However, as found by a Consumer Reports investigation, shorter furniture still causes major tip-over accidents.

The Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth (STURDY) Act would seek to change these standards. The bill would require the CPSC to mandate manufacturers to produce more rigorous testing of their products; to perform more “real-world” testing and to revise consumer warning requirements, ensuring higher standards of product safety and transparency.

The National Consumers League thanks the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee for taking measures to hold industry accountable with regards to product safety standards. One positive message that everyone can take away from this hearing is that times are changing. Industry will be held accountable, and consumers will be protected. It looks like the time for the CPSC to take charge in handling consumer safety and protection–instead of letting industry set its own rules–is just around the corner, to paraphrase Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

Alexa is a student at Washington University in St. Louis where she studies Classics and Anthropology and concentrates in global health and the environment. She expects to graduate in May of 2020

An end to secret settlements could save lives – National Consumers League

en, corporations are able to settle lawsuits brought against them in secret, paying off litigants and hushing up the hazards that lurk in their products. Consumers deserve more transparency and accountability from these corporations. USA Today editorialized last week on this very problem, focusing on a product I’d never heard discussed in this debate, ironically a rifle. 


In 2000, a nine-year-old Montana boy, Gus Barber, on a family hunting trip, was killed when his mother released the safety on a Remington 700 rifle to unload it and the gun discharged. Gus’ father later discovered that the company knew they had a safety problem for decades and never changed the design, admitted the problem, or recalled the rifles. By the time Gus was shot, more than 100 people had been injured and two-dozen killed. All these cases were buried through secret settlements, with judges sealing these confidential settlements, thus depriving the public from knowing about this deadly hazard.

The practice of sealing health and safety hazards, many of them deadly is unconscionable and dangerous. NCL and our fellow safety advocates have supported legislation introduced over the years in Congress to stop this practice, requiring judges to reject requests from plaintiff and defense lawyers to enter into secret settlements where dangerous products remain in the marketplace.

Gus Barber’s case is so outrageous that Montana joined four other states in adopting an anti-secrecy statute that prohibits their state courts from concealing information about public hazards.

Things may finally be turning around on this issue. In a recent case in Missouri, federal judge Ortrie Smith refused to seal a case against Remington for safety issues. That’s a hopeful sign. If we could get a federal bill passed, every judge would be required to follow Judge Smith’s example and refuse to deprive citizens of critical safety information that could have saved nine-year-old Gus Barber’s life.