From: Monona Rossol <0000030664c37427-dmarc-request**At_Symbol_Here**LISTS.PRINCETON.EDU>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Leading change through a culture of safety
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2018 07:52:03 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: 164cc21c401-c9a-2001**At_Symbol_Here**

Interesting article But it doesn't discuss the most important reason that a school in particular, better damn have a SawStop in their shop. Here's why:

HISTORY: In 2005, 25-year-old Carlos Osorio severely injured his fingers in a table saw accident. After five surgeries and $384,000 in medical bills, Osorio's hand will remain fixed in one position.

Attorney Richard Sullivan, filed a lawsuit for Osorio in 2006 against Ryobi.  After watching a video of SawStop's demonstration of their flesh-detecting device that could have prevented Osorio's accident, he assembled a team of lawyers to take on the table saw manufacturers.  The lawyers for Osorio, pointed to SawStop's sales as evidence that the technology is not only feasible but financially viable. They asked for $250,000 in damages. The jury awarded Osorio $1.5 million instead. 

Ryobi Technologies tried to appeal claiming that Osorio used an improper "categorical liability" theory, that is, that an entire category of products (all table saws except those manufactured by SawStop) is inherently defective.  But the verdict was upheld by a federal appeals court on October 5, 2011  (Osorio v. One World Technologies, Inc., 1st Cir., No. 10-1824, 10/5/11).

THE DECISION.  Judge Juan R. Torruella, writing for the appellate panel, said, "The absence of an alternative design is a defining characteristic of categorical liability theory." In this case, he said, "an alternative design was not only offered, but also discussed, examined, and debated."  In this comment the Judge is referring to the fact that in 2002, Ryobi pulled out of a contract they had initially signed with SawStop to incorporate their device into their saws. 

Osorio's evidence about the new flesh-detection technology sufficiently supported the jury's finding of liability on his design defect claim.  "[W]e do not conclude that the added cost or increased weight of Orsorio's proposed alternative design is fatal to his case as a matter of law," Torruella wrote.  "It is the province of the jury to determine whether the relevant factors, properly balanced, suggest that a product's design is unreasonable."

Osorio had removed the guard that originally came with the saw prior to the accident.   But the court sided with Robert Holt, an expert for Osorio, who said that Ryobi's guiding device and a traditional safety guard were defective.  Further, Torruella said the testimony was relevant to Osorio's contention "that it was common for consumers to remove this equipment and that Ryobi should have accounted for this probability in its design."

COMMENT: The last part of the decision is particularly brilliant.  It invalidated any defense for continuing to use a saw with a traditional guard that is "inherently defective" and which woodworkers routinely remove.  While individual woodworkers may want to foolishly take this risk, any school that exposes students to a table saw that has been found "inherently defective" in a federal appeals court is nuts.

In addition, SawStop now sells a contractors saw and two different versions of table saws.  They are competitively priced.  And we now use them in scene shops in the entertainment industry.

Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062


-----Original Message-----
From: Craig Merlic <merlic**At_Symbol_Here**CHEM.UCLA.EDU>
Sent: Mon, Jul 23, 2018 9:46 pm
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Leading change through a culture of safety

As a woodworking hobbyist, your opening struck a cord. Specific to the hazards of table saws, there are about 4000 amputations and about 30,000 ER visits per year. My father and brother were two of the latter. There is a safety device that could prevent these injuries, but there has been a long an drawn out debate about costs, patents, etc. For a summary, see:

But this is not only for woodworking hobbyists. Many high/college/university school shops have table saws. Many of those are older without safety guards, much less safety stops. Many also lack lock-outs to prevent unauthorized users. More for us in the community to work on.


Craig A. Merlic
Professor of Chemistry
UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Executive Director
UC Center for Laboratory Safety
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569
Voice: 310-825-5466
FAX: 310-206-3722
Cell: 310-922-4792

=EF=BB=BFOn 7/23/18, 4:16 AM, "ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety on behalf of DCHAS Membership Chair" <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU on behalf of membership**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG> wrote:

Leading change through a culture of safety
by Peter K. Dorhout, ACS President

I'd like to begin this Comment with a safety message: Many of you are aware that I am a hobbyist woodworker. With that hobby comes a certain risk for injury. Even with all the safeguards in place and proper use of techniques for ripping boards, a guide block slipped on a board I was cutting on my table saw, and two fingers on my left hand suffered minor cuts. If you were at the 2018 Northeast Nanomaterials Meeting in June, you probably remember seeing me wearing bandages.

I talked about my injury with woodworking colleagues and assessed how we could conceive of better, safer methods for making these types of cuts in the future. We also discussed how we should all have first-aid equipment available in our woodworking shops to improve the response to an accident should one occur. We applied RAMP to the situation and are turning a negative outcome around and making our work safer. (RAMP is an acronym for the four elements of the chemical safety process: Recognize the hazard, assess the risk, minimize and manage risk, and prepare for emergencies.)

This culture of safety doesn't apply to just what we do in our vocation but how we think and act everywhere. At the fall ACS national meeting in Boston, I'll be cosponsoring a presidential symposium with the Division of Chemical Health & Safety (CHAS), "Moving the Safety Values of the ACS Forward." This symposium will focus on how members have been working together on the recommendations of the ACS Safety Summit that we held in February.

(more at URL above)

For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**
Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas

For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here**
Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas
--- For more information about the DCHAS-L e-mail list, contact the Divisional membership chair at membership**At_Symbol_Here** Follow us on Twitter **At_Symbol_Here**acsdchas

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.