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Approximately 125,000 serious injuries occur in the US each year related to the use of portable and fixed power saws. Lacerations and similar injuries, such as abrasions and avulsions, account for over 90% of these, which generally occur to males and result in losses in the tens of millions of dollars annually. Although hand and finger blade contact is involved in most of these accidents, a significant number involve kickback of the work-piece for fixed saws or kickback of the tool for hand held units. In many of these cases, a blade-guard or anti-kickback device was either not in place or failed to operate properly.


Questions Answered

We are familiar with the various standards associated with power saws and have been involved in scores of investigations associated with all types of saws including:
  • Table, bench and arbor saws
  • Circular hand saws
  • Chainsaws
  • Radial arm saws
  • Miter saws

Case Examples

Hand-held Circular Saw Kickback:
A man was using a hand-held circular saw to cut a piece of wood when the blade encountered a knot. The saw kicked back but the blade-guard did not cover the blade in time, allowing the rotating blade to cut the man's free hand. The defense argued that the sticking blade guard became bent when the user dropped the saw. Through testing, we showed that the blade-guard had been manufactured with a bend, resulting in its sticking open before it covered the blade.

Dr. Irving Ojalvo is Chairman of Technology Associates (, a forensic engineering firm with offices in New York City, Connecticut, and Florida. The firm's technical personnel, all of whom have advanced degrees, perform accident reconstruction involving issues of biomechanics, mechanical, traffic, and human factors engineering.

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