The Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted unanimously to issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for - in the words of a CPSC press release - "performance requirements to address table-saw blade contact injuries." The October 5 decision represents a significant step toward regulations that could eventually phase out table saws in their current form and replace them with a new generation of tools equipped with safety devices that instantly stop the blade if it comes in contact with - or even closely approaches - any part of the operator's body.

Coincidentally, also on October 5, a Massachusetts appeals court ruled on a much-discussed table-saw injury case that pitted an insurance carrier representing an injured worker against tool manufacturer Ryobi. In the original trial - which took place in early 2010 - a district court found that the table saw used by the injured plaintiff was &...

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