Wis. Manufacturer to Pay Penalty for Failing to Note Hazard with Spiral Saws

November 26, 2004

A power tool manufacturer, which went out of business, has agreed to pay a civil penalty to settle allegations that it failed to report a serious safety hazard with its power spiral saws to the federal government.

RRK Holdings Inc. (formerly known as Roto Zip Tool Corp.), of Black Rock, Wis., has agreed to pay $100,000 for allegedly violating federal reporting requirements by not informing the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in a timely manner about problems with the handle on the spiral saw.

Between 1999 and October 2001, Roto Zip sold about 1.4 million hand-held spiral saws under the Revolution, Rebel and Solaris brand names. Some of these power tools had a loose fit between the handle and body. In a number of instances, this caused the handle to detach from the body of the saw while it was in use. The falling saw caused lacerations and other injuries.

Between January 2001 and October 2001, the company received at least 235 reports of saws detaching from the handle. Between the fall of 2000 and October 2001, Roto Zip received 20 reports of injuries caused by the handle detaching while the saw was in use. Several consumers received cuts requiring stitches to their hands and leg, and one consumer allegedly received a serious laceration that required surgery.

Between February and April of 2001, Roto Zip made design changes to the saw to correct the problem with the loose fitting handles. Consumers continued to report handle failures to the company, yet the company reportedly failed to notify CPSC of the design changes and consumer reports.

In September 2001, after receiving incident reports directly from consumers, CPSC conducted an inspection of the company’s headquarters. One month later, Roto Zip filed a full report with the Commission.

In February 2002, CPSC and Roto Zip announced a recall of 1.9 million spiral saws. By this time, there were 360 reports of handle failures. In August 2003, Roto Zip sold all of its assets and ceased operations.

According to federal law, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are required to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information which reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial risk of injury to the public, presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or violates a federal safety standard.

In agreeing to settle the matter, RRK Holdings Inc. denied that the spiral saws were defective and that it violated the reporting requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

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