Is A SawStop Table Saw Worth the Money

Page 2 of 7  


Oh the irony, the irony.
I can think of a couple safety phobic folks I knew who would point to this incident as "proof" that safety procedures and devices just don't "work". LOL
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On Tue, 5 Jun 2007 10:21:52 -0400, "Lee Michaels"

In an earlier life I was a welder making offshore oil platforms and deck sections. These things were loaded on barges using two bridge cranes that had two hoists each at 250 tons capacity each so 1000 tons total capacity The hooks were very large as were the cables that attached to them.
Crane hooks are required by OSHA to have spring loaded safty latches, that is they spring out of the way when you push on the cable loop and spring back when you get the cable on. Picture cables as large as your upper arm with a swedged loop that required two men to lift onto the hook. The hook latches were so large the spring back was mashing peoples hands. So we took the latches off. Got cited by OSHA. Asked the OSHA inspector to demonstrate how to get the cables on with the saftey latches without getting hurt. He declined, admitted that logically we were right, but had to cite us anyway "got to go by the book". We also were curious as to how a crane hook loaded to 250 tons could have a cable slip off the hook if there were no latch. Our limited knowledge of physics could not fathom that happening. He declined to explain or to cite any specific statistics.
Overhead blade guards, however, are very good safety devices (provided you can get them on without getting hurt in the first place).
Frank
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On Tue, 05 Jun 2007 11:58:58 -0500, Frank Boettcher

Load shifts resulting in slack in the line? I'd imagine any siuation with multiple cranes if that is happening you're pretty much screwed regardless. Maybe even better off if it does slip off. One less crane destroyed and able to start picking up the mess.
But in theory if there's no pressure on you to use the thing then there's no pressure going back to the manufacturer from you to make something that actually works.
-Leuf
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wrote:

"safety" device before either OSHA or the manufacturer would be moved to specify or make something that works?
My point is that on very large hooks, no latch is the safest method. Nobody got hurt without the latch, many with it (including me). Hard to argue that it is appropriate. Maybe you have to be there, wrestling one of those super cables onto a hook to fully understand the difference and the problems the latches created.
Frank
Frank

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I am betting that the "latch" is misnamed. I believe that the "latch" was intended to be more of a convenience feature in that during instances when the line with the hook is "slack" the item hooked on it does not fall or slide off. Somewhere along the line it was probably misinterpreted by OSHA as a safety feature.
Not totally unlike the hook on a dog leash.
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Frank Boettcher wrote: ...

In my previous life in the (nuclear and fossil) power generation and coal mining/preparation industries, only one. Any lost time accident or injury requiring medical treatment was fully investigated for root cause and mitigative or corrective action(s). If there was a problem w/ a design of equipment, it or a procedure would be modified to alleviate the issue...
--
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The poster indicated that following a bad reg because it is in the OSHA federal register would provide the pressure to get something changed. Therefore my question, because I think not.
Most were first aid cases, not lost time or recordables. For it to be a recordable it would have to required off premises medical attention or a prescription. And recordables wether they be lost time or not, were investigated. Root cause was the use of "safety" latches on a 250 ton hook. latches removed, problem solved......However, that solution was not going to satisfy the OSHA people.
My perspective is from the point of view of one who handled the cables, and later as one who was responsible for making those lifts in a safe manner.
You ever try to modify a crane component to make it better. You have just relieved the manufacturer from all liability for any future incidents. On one particular lift, I worked with the manufacturer of those bridge cranes to do some modifications to make a single lift that would be over capacity. They did all the Engineering calculations and work, supervised the modifications, then on the day of the lift, they faxed in a disclaimer for anything that might happen as a result of the lift. Took the money though.
Who were you with BTW. could it have been Combustion Engineering?
Frank
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Frank Boettcher wrote:

I agree on the previous that OSHA tends not to change w/o massive push. Am surprised could have gotten the "remove latch" solution through a safety committee even though understand that certainly removed the proximate cause. Would have thought the solution more likely to have been regarding alternate lifting procedure to remove hands from direct proximity...
Also agree that no engineering firm would accept any responsibility for a modified piece of safety equipment, no matter how minor nor benign the modification appeared. Liability just too great and the lawyers and/or field inspectors for OSHA, etc., have _no_ sense of humor (or perspective, often, either). NRC didn't, either... :)
My vendor experience was w/ Babcock & Wilcox although knew a bunch of guys from C-E.
-dpb
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On Wed, 06 Jun 2007 09:20:48 -0500, Frank Boettcher

Well ideally there would be enough pressure for your company to be going straight to the manufacturer saying your latch doesn't work for us, on one side of me I've got my guys bitching they get hurt if they use it and on the other I've got OSHA bitching if I don't use it. Do something. But yes in reality it's just easier to pay the fine and nothing changes until somebody gets killed.

I'm sure Mike Rowe will be along to show us at some point.
-Leuf
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wrote:

inherent danger without the latches, and that somebody is more likely to get killed with them removed. Certainly, my opinion would not be the same. Maybe I don't share your confidence that the bureaucrat who wrote the regulation was competent to do so.

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On Thu, 07 Jun 2007 07:45:32 -0500, Frank Boettcher

No the last sentence I was talking more in general, that the status quo gets maintained until something terrible happens and then everyone wonders why no one did anything about it.
But you can imagine a situation where the latches were removed and an accident happened that had nothing to do with the latches not being there, but the media would get a hold of OSHA citing you for not having them and be all over it but have lost interest in the story by the time anyone actually figured out what really happened.
But my point is just that if the regulation says you gotta have the latch but there are no serious repurcussions for ignoring the regulation then there is no reason for anyone to either fix the regulation or the device.
-Leuf
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wrote:

Valid points.
Frank

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Leuf wrote:

It doesn't really work that way. I'm thinking you've not worked in an OSHA-controlled environment... :)
OSHA has the force of law and inspectors to enforce it and power of very substantial fines with which to be punitive about it. Unfortunately, it is one of those bureaucratic nightmares which has become the 900-lb gorilla and often the good intentions are lost in detailed "letter-of-law" enforcement. Not all inspectors are as qualified as would be desirable nor are all as interested in working to find a safe technique for a given operation as in finding violations.
Consequently, manufacturers of equipment have to produce it to OSHA standards and if, for example in this case, the reg says "there shall be a hook", then they're going to make the item with a hook because if they don't they can't sell it as approved. And, unfortunately, Leuf is right in that it isn't something one can simply tell OSHA "we'd rather do it this way because..." and get an approval or waiver or any such relief in a timely fashion.
> But yes in reality it's just easier to pay the fine and > nothing changes until somebody gets killed.
The above said, however, last sentence doesn't in general reflect the attitude of many companies on workplace safety, however. There are some that tend to "not get it", but for the most part it is a serious effort.
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On Tue, 05 Jun 2007 11:58:58 -0500, Frank Boettcher

OSHA is one of the greatest BS components of the government today! AND the principle reasons for companies to outsource!! I was charged 3500.00 when my people were taking down a tower of scaffolding FROM a sissor lift and one stepped out on the scaffold to pick up a walk board. OSHA sent me a picture and the charge for "no hand rails". We had the best safety record in the industry according to my insurance co. Our country is destroying itself with political correctness and lack of personal responsibility.
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Digger wrote:

One place I used to work there was a piece of machinery with a foot pedal. Was installed before WWII. In the time from its installation to the day that OSHA first looked at it, there had been _no_ injuries on that machine of any kind. OSHA decided that the pedal was a tripping hazard and required that it have an elaborate guard installed. At the time I left the company there had been five injuries caused by that guard.
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Digger wrote:

Lord have mercy, you are so right. We used to have another wood teacher at my school until he cut off two fingers (now he runs the tardy center). OSHA fined the district (if I recall correctly the amount)$3200, claiming that it insufficiently trained the (state credentialed wood shop) teacher. Then they sent out some baboon to inspect the shop while I was teaching. He complained that my drill press did not have a safety guard on it, thus a student would be able to injure himself by touching the drill bit. He also complained that the lathe tools, all in the tool rack, were accessible to the students, thus could be used as weapons in a fight. I explained that the students actually use the lathes, and thus the tools are necessary. He answered that it was still dangerous and I should keep them locked up in my office and give a student one tool at a time, swapping them out as necessary. I could continue with this idiot's suggestions, but it would be just more and more lunacy. I told him he was a horse's ass and asked him to leave my shop. The district office risk management supervisor was with him (whom I have known for years) also suggested to the OSHA guy that he should move along because he had two more shops to inspect. My supervisor later returned alone and told me that he agreed with me, but I should try to be a bit more tactful since the district is appealing the fine. I answered that I would be tactful to anyone who isn't an idiot.
Glen
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I've read some of the reviews on the SawStop, and as others say, its a good quality saw. You could argue about how much extra the safety feature is costing compared to the extra quality you are purchasing. With fence, table, 5 hp motor, you are about $3600. About $1000 or so more than a similar Powermatic 66. Is that too much to pay?
If I were looking to spend $3600 or so for a table saw, I would not buy a SawStop. I would look at one of the European sliding tablesaw models. Might have to pay a bit more than $3600, but I think you get a far more useful saw with the built in next to the blade sliding table. And the sliding table adds considerable safety. And the European saws also come with a riving knife like the SawStop. The cabinet saw (Unisaw) is a product of the 1930s. I can understand why SawStop chose to make a cabinet saw with their safety feature since that is the only kind of saw Americans know and buy. But I think they missed the boat by not putting their safety feature into a far more usreful, modern sliding table saw.
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They didn't miss the boat as it is still on the way over from Europe. Fact is, a slider would not sell well here. Be it right or wrong, that is a fact of life and they want to make money so they went for a saw that will have higher potential sales volume.
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If the sawstop TS was available when I bought my TS I would have spent the money. Think about it the extra cost over the life of the saw, which is likely a minimum of twenty years. Take the extra cost and divide by twenty. Still sound like a lot of money. If you need something to push you over the edge here it is. "Do you ever have children in the house? " Anyone who thinks they can keep an eye on a kid all the time is a fool. Accident prevention is the cheapest when done before the accident. Last but not least ask someone who has lost a body part in a accident if they would prefer it never happened. Never meet someone who would say no.
Paul

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I've had 8 1/2 fingers for thirteen yrs now. That experience makes your question easy for me. Oh and by the way, as far as I can tell, you can't get around paying at least a $400 s&h fee on top of that $3600 someone else mentioned. Still worth every penny to me.
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