Crazy Safe!Gov’t Recalls MACHETE as “Laceration Hazard”

This is ever so slightly off-topic (except that it highlights our societal assumption that everything is unsafe and everyone is super stupid), but thank you, Reader Laura, for sending in today’s product recall . The Consumer Product Safety Commission is telling consumers to immediately “stop using” the 20-inch-long, saw-tooth Gerber Gator Machete (related to Gerber hunting knives, not baby food), because stitches could result “if the user’s hand slips off the handle and slides forward across the machete blade.”

I’ll bet this product could cause a lot of harm, too, if accidentally sawed across somebody’s windpipe. And imagine if someone used it to clean their ears! Whew! So thank you,  Consumer Product Safety people, for thinking hard about saws and safety! We are all better off for it! — Lenore

P.S. Hey readers — thanks to your comments I finally understand that this is a 2-fer device: One side saw, one side knife. That being the case, I do understand the need, if not for a recall, at least for a little guard (like the kind you put on skates) that you could put over the sharp side when you’re using the saw. Sorry I didn’t get that at first! — Lenore

This device should probably be recalled, too. CAUTION! May cause falling trees!

18 Responses

  1. I’ve gotten used to seeing warning labels on products warning us about perfectly obvious dangers, but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a product actually _recalled_ because in case of accident or misuse it might do what it’s intended to do — cut things.

    Absolutely astounding. What shall we recall next? All modes of transportation because when driving/riding we might lose our way?

  2. So…in fairness, the issue is this: For knives with a blade more than 3 inches in length, the handle really should have a hand guard — a raised ridge that keeps your hand from accidentally sliding forward while you’re using the knife.

    That’s why this one was recalled. It really is a design flaw issue.

  3. This is a kind of disappointing post.

  4. @beanie: I agree. I clicked through to look at the recall notice and that really is a poorly designed tool. The saw blade is on one side and the knife is on the other. Anyone who has used a saw knows that it sometimes binds in the wood. That knife really is an accident waiting to happen and needs a hand guard.

  5. That reminds me of the user manual my ex received with his nail gun. In the list of things not to do with a nail gun there was a crossed out picture of a person with a nail gun chasing after another person. I guess horseplay with power tools isn’t evidently dangerous to most people?

  6. My curling iron has a tag on it that says, “Caution: May burn eyes.” Yeah. I never would have guessed.

  7. Looking closely at the recall pictures, I actually don’t see this as a problem. I *want* a hand guard to keep my hand from slipping so far… and would probably have bought the other version to begin with.

  8. Isn’t this kind of like recalling a gun because “the bullets may cause injury or death”?

  9. Ok, this is a stupid post. They are not recalling the darn thing because it works as intended, but because it DOESN’T work as intended– if you look carefully at your illustration of the 19th c. two-man saw, for instance, you can see that the saw has little indentations around the handle, so that if the user accidentally looses his grip and his hand slides forward toward the blade, it won’t just slide right along the blades.
    In fact, 10 seconds on the Gerber knife site would have showed you that the handles of ALL those knives have some kind of ‘stop’ indentation or protrusion between the user’s hand and the sharp part of the blade.

  10. @Anne Keckler: “My curling iron has a tag on it that says, “Caution: May burn eyes.” Yeah. I never would have guessed.”

    What? You don’t use your curling iron to curl your eyelashes?

    I do think the machete recall was reasonable, though. My stomach turns just thinking about my hand slipping on something like that.

  11. This machete was reviewed in the April issue of Knives Illustrated (p22) and the only concerns the author had about it was the size of the belt loop on the sheath.

  12. Y’all are too hard on Lenore. I think this actually a reasonable recall, but sheesh, lay off! It is kind of funny on the surface to think of a knife being recalled because it is sharp. It’s just that this isn’t actually the reason for the recall.

  13. This makes sense to me. If anything is NOT suppose to happen it is a knife slipping in during proper use. Assuming this is what is happening here, then the recall is warranted IMHO.

    This is like the McDonald’s coffee ‘outrage’. Yes, superficially- it seems like a dumb thing to sue about. Until you realized the woman spent a week in the hospital, had skin grafts, etc, etc because she spilled hot coffee. Moral of the story- you don’t serve consumable liquids in flimsy cups that can cause 3rd degree burns. And if you do, you at least pay the nice lady’s hospital bill so she won’t sue your pants off.

    Often times there is more to a story than just the sound bite.

  14. And the illustration sends my “mental jukebox” to Monty Python and the “Lumberjack Song” (I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK/I sleep all night and I work all day……”)

  15. Gosh, it’s too bad they are recalling those. If I knew about them I would have picked up a couple because THEY ARE AWESOME.

  16. Well, Scott, they’re recalling the ones without the guard, yes. However, you can still “pick up a couple” that are designed *with* the guard on the handle to keep your hand from slipping.

  17. Yeah, they need to alter the handle. And unless they wanted to get tort thrown all over them, they have to do that recall.

  18. Personally, I find the picture and the byline to be quite inappropriate. Lumberjack was and is one of the most dangerous professions. When something is inherently dangerous, the tools and working conditions should minimize that risk.

    Providing sensible protection (like covering moving parts) is waaaaay different from stupidity like banning kinder eggs or putting “do not put in mouth” on a gun barrel.

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