Striving For A Safer Table Saw Table saws are the country's most dangerous commonly used power tool. Forty-thousand Americans end up in emergency rooms every year with injuries — 4,000 of them suffer amputations, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Safety advocates say a new technology could prevent most of those injuries.
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Striving For A Safer Table Saw

David Butler and one of his safer tools. Chris Arnold/NPR hide caption

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Chris Arnold/NPR

Fixing The Cutting Edge: Innovation Meets Table Saw

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2012 Could See New Regulations For Table Saws

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SawStop, a table saw safety tool, senses an electrical current in skin and triggers a brake when a finger comes into contact with the blade. Courtesy of SawStop hide caption

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Courtesy of SawStop

Thomas Siwek, director of product safety at Robert Bosch Tool Corp., demonstrates a newly designed guard for table saws at a meeting with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Industry officials say the new guards make the saws safe. But consumer advocates disagree and are pushing for flesh-sensing technology such as SawStop, which they say will virtually eliminate the worst table saw injuries. Chris Arnold/NPR hide caption

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Product Safety Commission To Draft Table-Saw Regs

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The SawStop senses an electrical current in the hot dog. Courtesy of SawStop hide caption

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Courtesy of SawStop

The SawStop saw can sense a slight electrical current that human fingers (and hot dogs) create. When it senses the current, the saw triggers a safety brake, which stops the blade in less than 5/1,000th of a second. Courtesy of SawStop hide caption

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Courtesy of SawStop