Saws can be used for a wide variety of projects, including medical surgery, backyard cutting, or in industrial settings. Saws can be constructed of teeth for cutting, or of abrasive discs that cut with friction, as in the case of diamond industrials saws. Other saws are hand saws, band saws, and table saws. The most common uses of saw blades are in construction settings. Despite the numerous safety features that have been developed over the years, saws can still be dangerous tools to use.
Saw Defects and Product Failure
Saws can have defects in their manufacturing that can lead to product failure. Failure in this case is defined as breakage, which may or may not lead to injury. Typical failures in saws result from the cutting edge breaking. For saws with teeth, this means the chipping or snapping of individual teeth. For saws that are abrasive discs, this means a chip in the disc or the stripping of the abrasive material. As a result of the breakage, the saw may shred the surface instead of cutting, cut inefficiently, or fail to cut at all. Saws that are made from weak metals are often unable to withstand the stresses of cutting, leading to breakage.
Saws that are made from metals that are improperly treated may also break. Batching is a particular problem for saw blades, as the metal used for each batch can vary in quality. As a result, it is necessary to test and break in all new blades to assess the potential for product malfunctions. For heavy cutting situations, reinforced blades are often necessary to prevent breakage.
Saw Injury Statistics
According to various U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports, there were at least eight injuries and one amputation due to defective saws in 2005 to 2006, and this does not include injuries due to chain saw defects.
According to CPSC, an estimated 89,276 people were injured while using saws in 2008. Most of these injuries were due to operator error. However, recalled circular and table saws may cause lacerations that are not due to operator error. The laceration hazards these saws present can cut a person severely enough to require immediate emergency medical treatment.
Four manufacturers recalled a total of approximately 1,630,400 saws from 2007 to 2008 due to the hazards they presented to consumers.
Grizzly Industrial saws
According to a CPSC report, Grizzly Industrial announced the recall of approximately 500 band saws on September 8, 2009. The band saws were recalled due to electric shock hazards from a grounding wire that was not installed. A person may need emergency medical care if the electrical shock is severe enough to cause burns or cardiac arrest. The recalled saws, the G2640X 17-inch metal/wood band saw with an inverted motor, were sold online and in Grizzly showrooms nationwide from February 2008 though July 2009.
Ryobi and Rigid saws
In 2009, One World Technologies Inc. recalled approximately 3,000 table saws and 12,400 corded circular saws. The Ryobi corded circular saws had a problematic return spring on the lower blade guard that could break. The Rigid 10-inch table saws that were recalled had arbor shafts that could fall when used with a stacked blade set, a set which is commonly used to cut grooves. When the arbor shaft fails, the stacked blade set can be ejected from the saw and cause lacerations. The recalled Rigid table saws were sold from January 2009 through July 2009 at Home Depot stores nationwide and included model R4511, with date codes between CD0829 and CD0837. The recalled Ryobi circular saws were sold from October 2008 through November 2008 at Home Depot stores and included model numbers CSB123, CSB133L, and CSB142LZ, with date codes between 0836 and 0842.
- Mine & Mill Supply Co. (2009, February 20) “Mine & Mill Industrial Supply Co., Inc. Resolves Band Saw Blade Failure Issues For Two Customers” Thomas Net News. Retrieved January 17 2010 from http://news.thomasnet.com/companystory/556409
- Science Daily. (2010, January 10). “Table Saw-Related Injuries Have Remained Consistently High, Study Finds” Science Daily. Retrieved January 17 2010 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172150.htm
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission: Recall lists from January 2005 through January 2010. Found at www.cpsc.gov NEISS query: https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/NEISSQuery/PerformEstimates.aspx