The cabinet holds 21 magazine boxes that are sized to hold two years of your favorite woodworking magazine. The cabinet is maple with handcut dovetails. The magazine boxes are 3/16"…
Where will the court's refusal to invoke the concept of personal responsibility lead? To a limitation of personal freedom. Sharp woodworking tools (and the injuries they cause) have been around at least since the egyptians cut the first known dovetail joints a couple of thousand years ago.
Powered woodworking tools have been around since the first time someone connected a belt driven shaft to a lathe (think waterwheels - first used a couple hundred years before electric motors.)
There was an interesting comment to the Boston Globe article:
There's more to this story, and as usual, the Globe missed it. A lawyer invented the Saw Stop - basically an explosive cartridge, triggered by low level electrical current when it touches human flesh. It reacts so quicly, clamping on the blade, that it stops the blade's rotation before serious harm occurs. Great, but very expensive. The inventor then tried to sell his design at a premium price to all major saw manufacturers (no public spirited safety advocate was he then), demanding a huge commission on every saw made with the cartridge. The manufacturers, for various reasons, said "No thank you", and returned to their traditional blade guards. The lawyer/inventor eventually started manufacturing his own saws (in China), and sells them now - they are substantially more expensive, and you won't find one in the home shop. Now, insurance companies that have paid worker's comp benefits for folks who cut their hands on saws have banded together, and are financing a coordinated attack on saw manufacturers, protraying them as unconcerned with safety, and bringing suits in the names of the injured workers to recover what the insurers paid for medical bills and comp benefits. It's safety, blackmail and revenge all rolled into one conflict."
Woodworking is an inherently dangerous activity and we have the freedom to engage in it. This attitude of "If somebody invented something safer we all must trash our existing tools and buy the new safer (and more expensive) tool" will either bankrupt us all or turn us all into scofflaw criminals.
I was taught that every tool saw is a safe tool when operated properly but is an unsafe tool when operated inproperly. Even the SafeStop proponents cannot argue the SafeSaw cannot cause injury. (Imagine someone falling into a SafeStop Saw. SafeStop's wonderful technology will stop the blade and limit the personal injury but it will not eliminate the same injury someone would get if they fell onto a stationary saw blade!)
Should we outlaw sharp knives for chefs? We can all eat what comes out of the cuisinart! But what about the poor dishwasher who cuts himself on the cuisinart cutter?!?
This flight from holding each of us accountable for our personal safety practices and the responsibility for the unfortunate outcomes for our failures will result in more futile efforts by courts and legislators to save us from our shortcomings.
Unless we elect and appoint judges and legislators who uphold the principle of personal responsibility, we will lose the right to buy and use traditional and economical tools.
I am sympathetic to Carlos Osorio and I hope the money will improve his life if not his injured hand but remember, we all pay the expense of unreasonable tort awards every time we buy a new tool. Corporations will increase their anticipated costs to their customers, particularly when their competitors are doing the same thing.
Subscribe now and save up to 56%
© 2017 The Taunton Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Become a member and get instant access to thousands of videos, how-tos, tool reviews, and design features.
Start your subscription today and save up to 56%