CPSC Chairman Awards Safety Commendation to SawStop, LLC

July 20, 2001
Release Number: 01202

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Chairman Ann Brown has awarded the Chairman's Commendation to SawStop, LLC, of Wilsonville, Ore., for developing innovative safety technology for power saws intended to prevent finger amputations and other serious injuries. The SawStop system for woodworking uses sensor technology to stop the blade if contact with a human hand or finger is detected.

CPSC first became aware of this innovation when SawStop demonstrated its system at the Product Safety Circle Conference in Oak Brook, Ill., in June 2001.

Each year there are about 30,000 hand and finger injuries from table and bench saws. The SawStop technology is designed to monitor electrical signals (which are conducted through the human body much more easily than through wood) and shut off the blade within milliseconds if the blade touches a hand or finger. A person might suffer a slight cut instead of an amputation.

Now that this technology is available and feasible, CPSC staff is asking Underwriters Laboratory to revise its safety standards for saws. "I commend SawStop for taking the initiative to help create a safer saw," said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. "Safety is good business. If manufacturers would use safety technology like this, they could prevent injuries and improve their bottom line."

Stephen F. Gass, Ph.D., inventor of the SawStop technology, accepted the commendation today at an award ceremony at CPSC headquarters in Bethesda, Md. Dr. Gass said, "We are grateful for the support we receive from CPSC and Chairman Brown which helps us toward our goal of preventing injuries from power saws."

Other recipients of the Chairman's Commendation have included Lowe's Companies Inc. and Lowe's Home Safety Council; Toys "R" Us; Procter & Gamble; Sunbeam Plastics; Playskool, a division of Hasbro Inc.; Rollerblade Inc.; the International Inline Skating Association; the Whirlpool Corp.; the American Furniture Manufacturers Association; Face Guards Inc.; the Rogers Sports Corp.; the Safe Strap Company Inc.; the city of Pittsburgh; the state of Colorado; the National SAFE KIDS Campaign; the American Water Heater Company; and KaBOOM! Chairman Brown initiated the commendation program to recognize substantial contributions to product safety by individuals, companies, or groups for one-time, ongoing, or multiple actions.