Families have probably heard a lot this year about recalls of defective toys with unsafe lead paint. But as the holidays approach, people buying “toys” for older loved ones should watch out for product defects too. The latest case in point, reported by The State on Nov. 29, is a recall of defective Performax and Wilton brand motorized miter saws whose safety switches can fail, causing the saw to keep running until it’s unplugged and putting users at risk of serious cuts. The defect can also cause electrical problems, which in turn causes it to smoke, spark and trip circuit breakers, and could cause the safety brake to fail.
A miter saw is a rotating blade that the user brings down against an object on a built-in platform to make a short, precise cut. It’s widely used in woodworking, especially for home builders. It cuts very fast and very deeply; it can sever an adult man’s fingers in an instant. Safety switches are there to prevent this type of serious accident, but when they fail, they fail to protect the consumers who trust them. In this case, failure can also cause electrical problems that could lead to a fire, or at least to an expensive and time-consuming work stoppage.
If you’ve already bought one of these defective miter saws, you’re eligible for a refund or replacement; the Consumer Products Safety Commission can help you find out more. But a recall after the fact can’t help South Carolinians who have already suffered a serious injury from the defective saws or other defective consumer products.