Table saw accident statistics

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Forum topic by GT350 posted 01-02-2014 05:17 AM 2048 views 1 time favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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352 posts in 1405 days

01-02-2014 05:17 AM

I was reading through the posts about Sawstop vs Gripper and someone had the government stats on injuries. The following sentence made me wonder why so many of the accidents happened while they were using cabinet saws. Any ideas, I would think that there should be a lot more contractor saws out than cabinet saws?

“A fixed cabinet saw was in use in the majority of the cases (68.7 percent), followed by a semiportable contractor saw (18.3 percent), and a portable bench saw (10.5 percent).”

Below is a link to the entire document.


30 replies so far

View pauldye's profile


64 posts in 1508 days

#1 posted 01-02-2014 05:42 AM

I find this interesting as well:

In most cases, the type of cutting operation performed was ripping along the length of the stock (85.7 percent )

Seems that a riving knife or splitter, with good technique on the rip fence, and a push block, will be a good thing.


View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2053 posts in 1612 days

#2 posted 01-02-2014 05:42 AM

Interesting bit of statistics there. Scary was that Most of the saw blade cuts originated from a kick back. Sine I use my sled so much, I haven’t been placing the anti kickback on the saw. Dumb! Thanks for the reminder.

Now to your question. Why are the more injuries on the seemingly safer saws than the bench top. I’m like you, I would expect the numbers to be reversed. My theory is pretty basic. Cabinet saws are used far more often. To that effect, I guess there are more injuries per hour of use on the bench top saw than there is on the contractor saws and so on. It’s just that the cabinet saw get a whole lot more hour of use.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View Jake's profile


850 posts in 1054 days

#3 posted 01-02-2014 06:19 AM

Probably Mark hit the nail on the head. If the staistics would be accidents per hour, I am pretty sure Cabinet saws would have way less accidents.

-- Measure twice, cut once, cut again for good measure.

View iminmyshop's profile


251 posts in 1418 days

#4 posted 01-02-2014 10:48 AM

Also, although all of us know that the riving knife and blade cover are safety devices, they are also a pain to use on many table saws. So, in practice, most of them are removed. Stupid? Sure but that’s the way it is. In fact, that was the case in the now infamous lawsuit over the manufacturers refusal to use the Saw Stop technology that had been offered to them by its inventor. They were found liable.

The riving knife on the Saw Stop is very convenient to use. It is therefore much more likely to be left in place and used as intended.

View dusty2's profile


321 posts in 2853 days

#5 posted 01-02-2014 11:17 AM

iminmyshop: Can one reasonably conclude then that Saw Stops’ real claim to fame is a more readily installed riving knife?

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View GT350's profile


352 posts in 1405 days

#6 posted 01-02-2014 01:17 PM

I can understand why most of the accidents are caused by ripping, i know in my shop that is what I do most because I use a miter saw for most of my crosscuts.

View jonah's profile


687 posts in 2722 days

#7 posted 01-02-2014 02:12 PM

I’m not surprised by the stats. Also, cross cutting, assuming that you aren’t doing something dumb like using the fence, is a lot safer than ripping. There is a much, much smaller chance of kickback.

View GT350's profile


352 posts in 1405 days

#8 posted 01-02-2014 02:35 PM

Another possibility for the causes of more accidents with the cabinet saws may be the higher power. Kick backs would be worse, the operators may be less inclined to keep blades sharp etc..

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2391 posts in 2346 days

#9 posted 01-02-2014 02:35 PM

could it be because cabinet saws often have more powerful motors? I know that when I get a board pinching the blade on my 1 1/2 HP Ridgid 3650 (Possible kick back)I am strong enough to stall the motor long enough to hit the power switch off. I am not sure I could do this with a stronger cabinet saw.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21590 posts in 1762 days

#10 posted 01-02-2014 02:49 PM

The statistic that I found very interesting in the report was

“the operator’s household got the saw new in 82.5 percent of the cases”

Untrained operators. Not that experience doesn’t get hurt, but it obviously helps.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View GT350's profile


352 posts in 1405 days

#11 posted 01-03-2014 01:56 AM

Monte, I initially had the same thought but then I realized it doesn’t say that the saw was new it appears to me that it is saying the owners bought it new as opposed to used.

Jim, I would tend to agree with you, I have had the same experience where I stalled the motor when I pinched the blade with my 1.75 hp saws and I was able to shut it off.

The reason I find it so odd that cabinet saws cause more injuries is because cabinet saws are probably in controlled environments like dedicated shops with more experienced operators. I would think contractor or other portable saws would be used more often at construction sites with unlevel ground and maybe for more inexperienced users that are starting out woodworking etc.

View Pezking7p's profile


3097 posts in 1075 days

#12 posted 01-03-2014 02:09 AM

Jim, I’ve had the same experience with my delta contractor saw. It’s actually run through a small little circuit breaker mounted on the saw…the breaker trips when it stalls so I don’t have to reach to shut it off. For this reason, I’m strongly considering staying with 2HP or below when I upgrade my table saw.

-- -Dan

View GT350's profile


352 posts in 1405 days

#13 posted 01-03-2014 02:22 AM

Pezking7p, I did exactly what you are talking about doing. I used an old Craftsman contractor saw that served me well for more than 15 years and I thought it had enough power. I recently bought the 1.75hp Sawstop Cabinet saw. I didn’t think I needed the extra HP and I think there is less to worry about as far as kickbacks are concerned.

View Pezking7p's profile


3097 posts in 1075 days

#14 posted 01-03-2014 02:36 AM

Hey Mike, how do you like your SS? I’ve kind of promised myself and my fiancee that if I’m still woodworking seriously in 6 months I’ll buy a SS. (I like new hobbies, sometimes they last 6 months, sometimes that last 3 years. Usually not much longer).

-- -Dan

View GT350's profile


352 posts in 1405 days

#15 posted 01-03-2014 02:51 AM

I really like my Sawstop, I bought the PCS with the 30” fence. People seem to be concerned with that fence but I find it to be a nice smooth rolling accurate fence. I didn’t like the base blade guard, it spits sawdust out the front, it is a lot louder using that one and it does not cover the back of the blade. I bought the guard that is designed to be hooked to dust collection and I really like that one. I put a WWII blade on it and it can cut 8/4 oak without any problems, so it has plenty of power for what I do.

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