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Could Making Power Tools Too Safe Mean We Lose Our Respect For Their Risks?

Last Updated on December 30, 2011

When it comes to safety, power tools are among the safest things that you have in your home. This is because everybody knows how dangerous they are and generally treat their drills, sanders and tabletop saws with the utmost respect.

You may have seen this amazing film of the safety device fitted in table saws which stops the motor in a fraction of a second when it comes into contact with human (and sausage for the purposes of demonstration) skin. Of course such a rapid deceleration is disastrous for the machinery but wouldn’t you rather lose an inanimate piece of machinery than a few fingers?

Like the airbag in your car, it’s a device you have and you rely upon in case of emergencies but you’d prefer never to have to try it out wherever possible. But could it result in power tools becoming more dangerous?

Not more dangerous intrinsically but practically. Because we know how dangerous power tools are we don’t play with them, we don’t use them where there could be a potential risk to our health and safety but such a safety device could lead to people becoming just a little more laissez faire when it comes to their own safety.

Now, certain parallels could be drawn between this brake and the attitude toward the parachute that the British high command held during the First World War. They held that such a safety device would make pilots be less brave and therefore less effective as they would be bailing out at the first sign of trouble. They didn’t recon on the pilots avoiding trouble in the first place and the hideous injuries these men sustained as a result of falling out of the sky in a burning wreck of wood and fabric.

But safety in the air or on the road isn’t solely dependent on parachutes and airbags, these are a last resort which save lives when the very worst comes to the worst. Accident prevention saves more lives than figuring out how to limit the damage that occurs in the worst case scenario.

Of course I’m not suggesting that people will be sticking their hands into the paths of drills and saws left, right and centre but an over reliance on safety devices instead of respect for your tools and observing all the commonsense and practical safety advice could lead to some people becoming a little less careful than they otherwise aught to be.

Vijay Pandey

You might think I’m being overly cautious. No-one’s really going to start taking less care with their power tools just because they’re actually safer to use are they? Well, power tools have always been seen as Big Boy Toys and to some extent that has been proven in the new design that Bosch has for their latest line in battery operated drills and screw drivers, looking more like ray guns than ever before, and it’s when people become complacent with safety that accidents happen. Designing a power tool to look like a toy could be the step too far that health and safety precautions in the home didn’t need.

@DanCash is always on the look out for real deals on power tools but the cost of safety devices is something that should never be compromised

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