View Full Version : Lathe Fatality

02-21-2004, 07:50 PM

02-21-2004, 08:51 PM
Makes me think of the chuck key sticking in the chuck. I have developed a habit of removing it "NOW"


02-21-2004, 10:36 PM
Sounds like one of the jaws was not secured properly. Ever notice how it is never the owners of the companies that get killed - too bad, eh?

02-21-2004, 10:36 PM
Dunno,sounds like the guys doing the work dummied up to me.But geez,just think,it must have been really spun up to do that go through a sheild at all and still have enough velocity to kill,either that or it was really big.

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 02-21-2004).]

02-21-2004, 11:23 PM
Well, if it was the Owner that got killed, I bet their would be quite a few machinists with no job. My bison chucks have a safety spring on them, cant leave the key in, unless you remove the spring.

02-21-2004, 11:47 PM
My guess is that he neglected to put the screws in the top part of a two piece jaw.

02-22-2004, 05:41 AM
Those freekin chuck keys with the spring are a major piss off. I will take the chuck key out myself. I have NEVER forgotten. Leaving a key in a chuck, any chuck, is like what I imagine it would be like walking down the street with my parts hanging out. It gives me a major spine shake to even see a picture of a key in a chuck with no hand on it.

John Stevenson
02-22-2004, 06:29 AM
Last place I worked at we had 4 apprentices, one of these was always leaving the chuck key in despite being told.
One day I walked up to him and smacked him as hard as I could on the side of the head and told him that's only a bit of what it feels like.
Got dragged up into the office but told them to p*@s off and I wouldn't back down, apologise or promise not to do it again.
I told them that was part of my job to prevent stupid accidents that could be prevented.

Never caught him doing it again.

Don't believe in none of this PC crap, it's gone too far. Caught two of the yard guys fighting one day, both as bad as one another but regs said I had to sack both guys on the spot. Only problem was these were two experianced yard guys and they would be missed so I had them locked up in the wood kiln for a whole day and told the rest of the yard crew to keep stum and cover for them.
Let them out that night with some of the other yard guys around [ I'm not that brave ] and they came out best of friends.
Both came over to apologise for their actions and thank me for not getting them sacked. Top management never knew but the yard ran a lot smoother after that.

John S.

[This message has been edited by John Stevenson (edited 02-22-2004).]

02-22-2004, 06:57 AM
I agree 100% with Thrud & Evan.

Peter S
02-22-2004, 05:54 PM
It could be that the brake they were repairing was part of the lathe, and they were starting and stopping the lathe, without any workpiece held in the 3 jaw chuck.
I have worked on lathes with very free (ie easy to adjust) 3 jaw chucks where if you start and stop the lathe, with no workpiece in the chuck, the chuck jaws undo slightly. I think this happens while the chuck is accelerating (from memory), if you did it enough times, I guess eventually one of the jaws would fly out.
I have also seen what happens when a job that was clamped to a face plate turned to custard. The workpiece was held with clamps and packing blocks under the clamps. The lathe was a "direct start", ie when you engage the start lever, the motor starts and takes the chuck up to full speed within a fraction of a second, not like a clutch start. Unfortunately, somehow (probably through the backgear selector being in wrong position, the lathe started very fast instead of nice and slow, and the packing pieces departed in all directions. No one was hit, but there were holes in the insulation paper of the high bay roof, other pieces went horizontally.
Always good to be reminded of the power and forces we are working beside, and take care.

02-22-2004, 06:50 PM
We had an inexperienced guy send a lathe chuck wrench flying at a plant I worked in. The thing completely vanished, despite everyone in the toolroom looking for it. It was found some months later by an electrician, laying on a beam overhead. I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't been there (and been given the job of making a new wrench). Drill chuck keys are far less dramatic. I've started a drill press with the key deliberately left in the chuck, just to see what would happen. It just fell on the floor.

02-22-2004, 08:26 PM
I was setting up something in a 4 jaw and using a piece of 3/8"key stock on the back of the part.
Phone Rang...some asshole wondering about prices.
Went back to set up and forgot about the keystock.....
Dropped the clutch....
The key went flying just missing my head.
When I found the key it was bent like an "S"
This was about 5+ years ago. Never forgot it.
Now I have the phone always on a low setting and never answer it during a set up.Call ID and message manager are great tools in a one person shop.

reality checker
02-22-2004, 08:41 PM
Hey Thrud, if you think that the chuck jaw killed the guy why is it too bad that the owner was not killed? Is it the owners responsibility to fasten all jaws to chucks in England?

Do you think that if this happened in China the owner would be punished? Should the owner be punished for poor safety habits of employees? ?

Maybe if it was a training issue or the owner replaced the guard with sub-standard material he should share the blame but I have always felt that if I put myself in a position where I am injured, I put myself in that position.

If you rely on the guard to stop the flying debris from injuring you, you are making a mistake, you should consentrate on preventing the flying debris in the first place. Chip guards are not blast deflectors.

It is too bad that the guy was killed but I would like to know how it was the owners fault and why Thrud wants him dead.

Do you think this legal verdict will inspire more folks to go into manufacturing in England?

02-23-2004, 01:52 AM
Reality Checker,

Hmmm... Interesting nom de plume. I agree that the workman is to blame for the accident. However, Dave did not say the owner should be dead. What he implied was that the root cause of bad safety practices lies with management.

02-23-2004, 09:14 AM
The root cause of bad safety lies with the idiot who performs the unsafe act even after years of training and instruction by management.
To lay the entire responsibility at the feet of management is wrong. Most "accidents" are the direct result of someone violating a basic safety rule or principle. The solution is to blame management because somewhere in the Federal Register is something they did or did not do.
If someone runs a stop sign and is killed, they are at fault. If someone violates a company safety procedure and is killed, it always seems that the company is at fault.

metal mite
02-23-2004, 10:05 AM
I knew a machinist that got wound up in a lathe and killed at a steel company machine shop near me.

I had a close call or two in the last 30 years as well. Been near some too.

Could have been a lot of things, over rpm, cracked bolts, loose or missing bolts, or as someone said, vibration on loose chuck jaws.

Some chucks are rated for maximum rpm's these days.

We have to stay on our toes every minute.

Watch out for the other guy too, even if he has too much pride to listen.

Dead guy dosen't care who paid the suit off.
Sure wasn't the new wife's falt.


J Tiers
02-23-2004, 10:06 AM
If someone repeatedly violates safety procedures, or will not use their safety equipment, the company is obligated to fire them.

In this case, it appears that one layer of the safety shield was missing, which likely could have prevented the death. Workers do not own the machines.

While a worker SHOULD be able to refuse to use unsafe machines, or perform unsafe operations, the law does recognize that this is unrealistic. The law assumes that workers may be forced to do things under threat of firing, both to be safe, or to not be safe, depending on circumstances.

Management is to blame, like it or not, for any long-standing safety issues.

reality checker
02-23-2004, 11:37 AM
Quote from Thrud "Ever notice how it is never the owners of the companies that get killed - too bad, eh"

The "too bad,eh" part made me think that he would like to see the owner dead. Re-read my post, including the part where I say "Maybe if it was a training issue or the owner replaced the guard with sub-standard material he should share the blame"

I saw this posted on another board and the conclusion was that the guy screwed up, unfortunatly he was killed.

I think that manufacturing in England has been dealt a legal blow that will make less people willing to risk capitol when it is easier to go to china and no matter how many people are killed there will be no liability.

Is it ALWAYS managments fault when some one gets hurt J Tiers?

02-23-2004, 11:59 AM
Of course the worker is responsible for his own safety. But, if the work place is inherently unsafe then that is a problem with management. I worked for a company in Edmonton building barges for the Mackenzie river. I had just finished an uphand weld on a five foot high side of a barge section and stood up while flipping back my hood. Approaching me at a distance of about two feet was a 50 foot I beam traveling on the overhead crane, no siren, no spotters, no horn. I ducked just in time to avoid being decapitated. That plant was the most unsafe place I ever worked and it was a systemic problem. I quit before I was killed.

02-23-2004, 12:20 PM
It is a tragedy;
A man is dead.
The company is in receivership.
The manager has been fined.
The politicos will write more feel good legislation.
There are probably large lawsuits in process.
The lawyers will get richer.
It just got harder to do business in the UK.
We all will pay in the long run.

There are surely many contributing factors in this, or any other accident.
It says the manufacturer specified the type of guard. Apparently, they did not provide an appropriate guard, so maybe a guard was not tampered with, but was merely the normal chip guard.
Maybe the mechanics were fooling around, wasting time until lunch break, repeatedly overspeeding the lathe and applying the brake, and contributed to the situation. Who really knows unless he was there at the time of the accident.
If management is everywhere, they are acccused of being opressive. If an accident occurs, they are lax. No win situation.

metal mite
02-23-2004, 06:14 PM

02-25-2004, 01:47 AM
14 years ago, I worked for a company that made hydraulic cylinders. My job was placing square piece of leaded steel into the 4 jaw chuck of a CNC turret lathe, turn switch to close the pneumatic jaws, close safety shield, push start button, and wait for it to run it's cycle. Then I'd remove it, deburr it and stack it on my bench with others. Very uneventful until one day when the chuck failed while turning at a very high speed. I heard a funny noise inside machine, ducked instintively, and was immediately rewarded with a 2 pound chunk of steel whizzing over my head, instead of through it, and imbedding itself in the back of my workbench. It went halfway through a one inch wooden back. Not penetrated one half inch of wood, equal lengths of the workpiece were protruding through the front and back sides of the bench back.
Scared the crap out of me.
Boss came running over, yelling at me about why did I f**k up like that? and saying that I must have not closed the chuck. Then he looked at the chuck switch which was in the closed and locked position. I was still right where I was when I ducked, and nowhere near the switch.
He then apologized and called maintenance to lock out my machine and find out why it flaked out like that.
I never found out why, I found a new job and quit that one.

02-25-2004, 10:02 AM
Same thing my Grandad told me Jaymo,like he said you can always get another job,but you only got one life.