Stirring the pot… with a saw

If you’ve seen video of the SawStop, you remember it. A table saw spinning at full power that can stop and drop away if it comes in contact with a finger. If you haven’t seen the video, I suggest a watch.

Clearly, the SawStop comes in above warnings in the hierarchy of hazards. Design out (hard to do with a table saw), guard, then warn. It was for this reason I posted on the SawStop a while ago. Reading about the SawStop is one of my hobbies. I’m fascinated that what appears to be such a great idea and improvement is so controversial in so many ways.

Today I read an article mixing law, money, and human factors about the SawStop. A man sued another table saw company because they did not include this safety technology. The law and money enter the equation because the SawStop is patented, so anyone who wants to include the technology has to pay for it. The original news article can be found here.

What do you think? If a new safety measure is clearly better than current safety methods, is a company required to use it?

Does anyone know of other similar examples from the home “code” laws, such as what kinds of wires must be used in a home or other potentially patented technologies?