Courtesy of the packing and move, I haven’t had access to all of my little notebooks where I keep my proto-ideas that become these blog posts that bring light and goodness to all who read them so this might be a tad dated.
In June of this year, National Public Radio ran this story that “federal regulators are taking steps toward new safety requirements for table saws. These saws have open spinning blades and can cause severe injuries. But the industry is resisting additional requirements“.
The story mentioned that, annually, there are 40,000 injuries courtesy of table saws. The story mentions a type of technology called SawStop that can prevent injuries from table saws by stopping the blades automatically when a digit gets too close. However, as the NPR story continues, makers of table saws are working against federal regulations requiring this technology in their equipment.
So it would appear that 40,000 injuries is not a threshold for federal regulators or Congress to step in and make things safer. However, as the old adage goes, it’s not what you know, but who you know.
Federal legislation was created in response to thirty-three (there’s your number for the day) deaths over a nineteen year period from 1985 to 2004, which works out to be 1.7 deaths per year.
Section 1401 of Public Law 110-140 imposes mandatory federal requirements for suction entrapment avoidance for pools. This means that since its passage in 2007, all public pools and spas have been required to install new anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices or systems on single blockable drain systems. One can only imagine the extra cost this regulation placed on those owners.
So how did federal legislation get passed to deal with 1.7 annual deaths when 40,000 annual injuries produces next-to-nothing. It probably helps that the title of Section 1401 is the “Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act”. Virginia Graeme Baker, sadly, died in 2002 after being trapped under water in a spa due to drain suction. If the last name of Baker sounds familiar, it is because this girl was the granddaughter of former Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State James Baker.
Please note that the above is not meant in any way to diminish what can only be described as the horrible pain a parent and grandparent feels over the loss of a child. My only intention here is to note that regulations to prevent 40,000 injuries appears to be stalled while regulations to prevent 1.7 deaths is federal law.
A search of the Web after posting the above thoughts show that something is moving.