Portable band saws used by electricians and other workers on construction sites have historically been very heavy and bulky, requiring two hands to hold them steady while operating. In recent years, the size and weight of power tools decreased, in part because of the conversion from corded to cordless, allowing them to be held with one hand.
While these were improvements, they also brought an unexpected safety risk, as noticed by Rosendin, the electrical contracting industry’s largest employee-owned firm. Rosendin managers out of the company’s Tempe, Arizona, office noticed that once the natural pipe resistance was gone as it was cut through, the saw would jerk downward until the operator could remove his fingers from the blade’s single trigger. This created a risk of the saw striking the worker’s hand and he reached across, under the moving blade, in an attempt to catch the unsupported piece of cut material, potentially resulting in significant injuries to the wrist or hand.
Rosendin sought a solution to this safety risk, theorizing if the saw instead required two hands to operate, the risk to employees would be greatly mitigated. With two hands operating the saw, there would be no risk that one hand could come in contact with the saw blade while it was moving or under power. As no such portable band saw existed, Rosendin contacted DEWALT about creating a new design.
“We’re thankful that DEWALT immediately saw our application needs and quickly agreed to work with Rosendin on a new, dual switch activation design,” said Mike Greenawalt, Senior Vice President of Rosendin.
DEWALT designed and developed a new band saw, where two separate hands are needed to push dual switches before the motor will turn on in order to operate the band saw. The tool electronics also have some logic built into them so users cannot out smart or override the dual switch safety feature. “The design change would help keep the device lightweight while adding a user-requested feature,” said Joe Marchant, Regional Sales Manager -Construction Trades at DEWALT. “It’s a great example of how companies like Rosendin and tool manufacturers like DEWALT can and should work together to create tools that benefit the entire industry.”
Rosendin is in the process of replacing all their portable band saws across the nation with the new DEWALT, 20V MAX* 5" Brushless Dual Switch Band Saws (DCS376) it helped create and has already begun to see a reduction in equipment-related injuries. DEWALT also began selling the new product to other construction companies through authorized DEWALT distributors.
“Safety is something we as an industry need to all work together to help achieve. We’re thankful that DEWALT was so open and willing to work with us on the new design and that it’s been so well received throughout the industry,” said Greenawalt.
*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.