Sharp testimony at table-saw hearing
The action of a table-saw blade stopping dead in its tracks when it makes contact with a hot dog — the stunt-double of a human finger — makes for an exciting 15-second YouTube video. The video also excites safety advocates.
But should the Active Injury Mitigation technology that is built into the SawStop table saw be mandated into an industry standard? That was the question debated during a recent hearing of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission is considering a safety standard for all table saws sold in the United States.
Not surprisingly, there was a wide range of disagreement delivered to the CPSC commission during a hearing Wednesday.
First, a little background: Back in September of 2016, a similar technology built into the Bosch Reaxx saw was found by a by a U.S. International Trade Commission judge to infringe upon SawStop patents. In November, the ITC determined it would not review that determination, finding a violation by Bosch of section 337 of the Tariff Act. A briefing on remedy is scheduled and may result in the exclusion of the Reaxx saw from entry into the United States. With that history, the U.S. tool industry is concerned that any effort to mandate AIM would equate to a federal gift to SawStop, at the expense of making the product more affordable and more widely available.
Currently, the only way in the U.S. to buy a table saw equipped with Active Injury Mitigation is to buy a SawStop brand.
The CPSC is considering a new standard requiring AIM on all table saws. A hearing this week produced the following comments both for and against the proposal:
For the proposal
Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League
“In 2015, there were an estimated 33,400 table saw, emergency department-treated injuries. Table saws inflict 11 amputations each day, according to the CPSC’s accident reporting system. … The high degree of risk and the severity of injury … mean that table saws are a consumer product that carries an unreasonable risk of injury to the user when there is a readily available and affordable safety technology to make it safe."
Josh Ward, injured in table saw accident
“You can’t put a value on what it’s like to lose your hand; the Commission needs to finalize its safety standard so nobody else need suffer a life-altering injury as I have done, all because their hand slipped for a fraction of a second while operating a table saw.”
Stephen Gass, president and inventor of Sawstop
“The risk associated with a product that has for decades been mutilating the hands of thousands of Americans every year, and thereby causing around $4 billion in annual economic costs, can now be virtually eliminated. … Who will you choose to protect, corporations? Or consumers?”
Against the proposal
Erik Glavich, National Association of Manufacturers
“The proposed rule for table saws is an unprecedented and misguided and extra-statuary attempt to impose a government mandated monopoly on an entire industry.“
Sophie Miller, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
“Consumers are already aware that saw blades pose risks to health and safety. Moreover, the active injury mitigation technology that CPSC is proposing to mandate has been available in table saws for over a decade. Consumers already have the option to buy these saws. These models are at the high end in price of every table saw type, and the fact that many consumers still opt for other competing products indicate that they don’t think that the improvement in safety outweighs the added cost of aim technology.”
Susan Young, executive manager of the Power Tool Institute
"The government could be creating a monopoly for one individual, who can either charge licensing fees projected to result in payments of $30 million to $35 million per year or refuse to license, in which case manufacturers will be unable to comply with the mandatory requirements and only one company's table saws, which are currently available in the marketplace, would meet the requirements.”
Readers Respond: That’s the spirit
What's in a hire? A lot, as it turns out, and to no one's surprise.
There are a lot of considerations that go into hiring a new employee, but perhaps in this industry, spirit (and attitude) are what count the most. In a poll conducted earlier this week, we asked, "What's the number one quality — pick one — that you value in a new hire?"
"Enthusiasm" won the top vote at 29%, followed by integrity at 24% and reliability at 21%.
Traits like "intelligence" (15%), perhaps best reserved for white collar jobs, took a back seat to these three attributes. "Experience" was valued by 10% of respondents, "fashion sense" by 1%, and "sense of humor" by no one (so far).
What do you look for in a new hire? Take our poll here.
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A new kind of ‘Hangover’ for Housing?
Researchers at Zillow haven’t actually declared bachelor and bachelorette parties a menace to the home industry. But they did identify the opportunity cost of all those pre-wedding adventures that can certainly put a dent in a down payment.
Making reference to the popular “Hangover” movie series, the digital real estate platform pointed out that destination bachelor and bachelorette parties are becoming the new norm for many millennials. Further, celebrants who attend just nine of these trips in a lifetime will have spent up to $13,788, or 34 percent of a down payment on the median U.S. home, according to a new Zillow report.
A destination bachelor party costs on average $1,532 ($1,106 for a bachelorette), according to wedding website The Knot. If the average person attends nine parties in a lifetime, or three a year for three years, they will have spent up to 34 percent of the cash needed for a down payment on the median home.
In some metros like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, millennials can spend up to half (51 and 50 percent, respectively) of their future home's down payment on bachelor parties and well over a third of a down payment on bachelorette parties. However, in hot and expensive markets like San Jose or San Francisco, nine destination bachelor parties equates to only 5% or 6%, respectively, of the down payment on the median-priced home.
Bachelor and bachelorette parties are not the only expense associated with attending a wedding. On average, bridesmaids and groomsmen spend an additional $1,154 for things like wedding day attire, a gift for the bride and groom, as well as travel and accommodations for the wedding day. Guests not in the bridal party still pay $888, on average, to attend each wedding.
"Buying a home is one of the most expensive purchases someone will ever make, and for most first-time buyers that means years of saving money to afford a down payment," says Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow chief marketing officer. "Attending your friends' bachelor or bachelorette parties can be a trip of a lifetime. While everyone's budget and priorities are different, big ticket expenses like vacations can add up surprisingly quickly – a lot faster than a $19 avocado toast."
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