TEMPE, AZ – For years, portable band saws used on construction sites by electricians and other workers were very heavy and bulky, requiring two hands to hold them steady and operate. In recent years, the size and weight of power tools has decreased, in part because of the conversion from corded to cordless, making them capable of being held one-handed while dangerously steadying pipe in the other.
But Rosendin, the electrical contracting industry’s largest employee-owned firm, discovered that these product improvements had an unexpected safety risk to its 6,000 employees across 15 regional offices nationwide. 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 now free hand to reach across, under the moving blade, in an attempt to catch the falling cut/un-supported piece of material potentially resulting in significant injuries to the wrist or hand.
Rosendin leaders 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.
No such portable band saw existed that we could find, so the company reached out to professional tool maker DEWALT about creating a new design. 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 outsmart or overide the dual switch safety feature.
Rosendin committed to purchase the newly designed saw and use it in all its operations across the U.S., but also encouraged DEWALT to make the saw publicly available for purchase, available to other construction companies in hopes of improving overall workplace safety.
“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. “Rosendin is always focused on reducing injury risks and keeping our crews safe, and this new design helps remove an element of risk to further improve safety on a construction site.”
“We thought Rosendin had a great idea with a design change that would 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* Brushless Dual Switch Band Saws 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,” concluded Greenawalt.
*Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.