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Waukesha CMS grants help purchase safe table saws for local schools

The Waukesha County Medical Society (WCMS) has awarded $2,500 grants to four local high schools to help fund the purchase of SawStop® table saws, which will replace traditional table saws in the classroom. Schools selected for funding are Brookfield East High School, New Berlin Eisenhower High School, Oconomowoc High School and Waukesha South High School.

As part of its ongoing grants program, WCMS has launched a Safe Saw Initiative aimed at reducing the prevalence of table saw accidents by encouraging local high schools to use finger-sensing technology saws in their industrial arts classes. The initiative was organized by Tracy McCall, MD, WCMS president-elect, Kristin Robertson, a medical student at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Wes Robertson, a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Through this initiative, we hope to impress upon students the importance of safety in woodworking, not only in the classroom, but for future employment opportunities,” said Dr. McCall. “In working with high school students and their teachers, I have developed a great respect for the work being done in our schools to provide high quality, safe education that will help address the shortage of people entering the skilled trades.”

Table saw injuries result in a significant number of injuries and amputations every year. According to the National Consumers League, nearly 40,000 Americans are treated in hospital emergency departments each year with injuries sustained while operating table saws. About 4,000 of those injuries—more than 10 every day—result in amputations. Table saw injuries cost the United States approximately $2 billion every year.

Many table saw injuries can be prevented by equipping saws with blade guards, which partially cover the blade during operation. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly two-thirds of table saw injuries occur when the blade guard had been removed from the saw. SawStop®, currently the only saw available with finger-sensing technology that shuts down the machine when it comes in contact with skin, can be cost-prohibitive for many high schools.

Grant applications were received from 16 schools hoping to receive funding in 2014, and while WCMS can only provide funding to four schools this year, the others will be encouraged to reapply again in 2015.

Back to July 10, 2014 Medigram