Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: Safety War Stories

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Claremont, NH

    Question Safety War Stories

    As a teacher in the Machine Tool Field, and also a worker ect., and a newbie on this board, I love the volumes of information I have seen.

    In the "Networking" section of this board, I got off track with a guy on a thread called "GOLD MINE". We got off track on safety issues and shooting the breeze on safety war stories.

    In my shop I treat safety as the very most important thing I teach - first and foremost. I have my own war stories that have been thorugh the wringer so many times the students can almost quote the script as I speak it (we do not have many accidents, but I harp this) My shop also has its own legends of foolishness that live on years after they leave by word of mouth by the students, but I still like new stories from other venues. I will re-post my session from the networking area under this post, but would also ask that the many of you who are on this board post something that I can show "the troops" to show I am not a safety lunatic or safety nazi to my students -Thanks!!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001


    I worked at maryland shipbuilding way back when. I was re-machining pump bodies on a horizontal boring mill.
    Next to me was a young man drilling condenser plates on a radial drill.
    He was seated on a box drilling and drilling the plate between his legs.
    You guessed it. The chips cought his pants
    and pulled them clean off, Right down to his unders.
    He was very shook up and had pants burns on his legs.
    The moral of this story.. Dont run a drill between your legs I guess.
    take care

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2001


    I own a small shop and had a guy working for me who was not a skilled or trained machinist. He was a good worker and made an excellent operator when there was something repetitive to do. I took him to the lathe one day (where he had worked many times before) and was showing him the operations I wanted him to perform. One of which was to remove the part from the chuck and turn it around so we could work on the other end. I had stepped on the foot brake to stop the chuck without moving the handle to the off position. This lathe is new and does not have a clutch the lever on the apron is a forward and reverse switch for the motor. When you step on the foot brake the circuit is broken and the motor stops, you have to move the lever back to the off position and then to forward or rev. to start again. I had the chuck key in the chuck and the part in my fingers and was preparing to close the chuck when he turned the lathe on. My hand was mashed between the key and ways. It took 4 hours of micro surgery to put my finger back on and I still cannot hold anything smaller than a .250 drill in my left hand.

    Don't have time to discuss all of the things I did wrong that day they are to numerous to list. I will say that the most important lesson was finding out that it can happen to me.

    Good luck with your students and teach them well we need skilled machinists and tool makers.


    [This message has been edited by C. Tate (edited 12-08-2001).]

  4. #4



    I have a good friend who was a woodworker for years. He was aware of the inherent dangers in his shop and was careful with power tools. One day he was ripping a board on his Delta table saw. He was not using push stick as he should have "it is just one board". The wedding ring he never took off got caught in the carbide blade. The resulting action ripped his ring finger off and the board shot back into his midsection. He fell forward and his chest landed on the still powered blade, almost severing his arm. He no longer has a ring finger and was in rehab for 2 years. His wife sold all his tools.

    A Swedish toolmaker I know was one of the best craftsmen I have ever met - a true artist. He got sloppy one day while drilling a 3/8" hole in 1/4" plate. It was "just one hole" so he did not bother to clamp it. He figured even if it caught the bit he could "let it go" - no big deal - except as it (sure enough) spun around the drill press table his thumb dropped in a T-slot. He drove 2 miles my way to get a ride to the hospital which was 17 miles the other way. He lost a lot of blood and went into shock. He recovered with new repect for clamping work down.

    I was a shift supervisor on the night shift doing precision brake work. The Shop Forman had asked me to insure we had spring clips for the morning. I had set a 50Ton Promecan brake with the 1"x2 1/2" (about) punch & dies for the Stainless Steel clips. This operation took the full 50 Ton capacity. I had set the press up so if a mishap was in the works, the operator might get a blood blister if he was sloppy. The guy I put on the machine had 8 years experience with press brakes. As soon as I left for my own machine, the operator changed the set-up. The net result was that he placed a piece in crooked and instead of just letting the piece get mangled he went to straighten out the piece with his thumb. The combination of his "Rythym" and the excessive open height got his thumb caught between the punch and die. His thumb blew off. He was spraying blood everywhere. I packed the wound, had 2 workers look after him, got the rest of the crew looking for thumb pieces and called 911. The ambulance arrived in a few minutes, he was already in shock and getting I.V.'s We found pieces of his thumb 30-40 feet away from the press. The Micro-surgeons were able to rebuild the thumb - looked as good as new!

    In press brake work it is common to get warped pieces from punching operations. I was forming 72" end pieces for divider panels. The pieces had to be pushed tightly against the back stop to be formed correctly. Because the punches were very dull, the slots cut along the edge (to insert shelving brackets into) were extremely sharp from burrs. This meant I had to use leather gloves or have my fingers and hands lacerated. I slipped once off the backstop as the ram had contacted the piece. I pulled my hands away - the gloves were cut into two from the 250Tons of pressure. Gloves are cheap, I still have all my fingers.

    I have been fortunate in only have minor boo-boos. I got a paint sliver in my eye once, broke my little toe with some structural steel, minor cuts, and flash burn from welding (crappy equipment).


    [This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 12-09-2001).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2001


    Keep these stories coming, folks. I'm interviewing for a job tomorrow that would involve, as part of it, instructing students in the proper use of power tools. I can certainly go over the standard stuff -- eye protection, no jewelry, keep your hair out of the way, etc. -- but I think it would be really useful if, after doing the routine lecture, I could hand out a stack of horror stories about what happens if you DON'T do those things.

    Of course, I may not get the job, anyway, but I'm trying to be optimistic!
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2001



    Biggest wreck I remember back in high school vo-tech class was 3 dummies running the surface grinder. It was a team effort, one on each each end pushing table, third cranking the cross feed. Of course one pushed a bit too fast and the table rised up, pieces of wheel all over shop. Luckily nobody hurt, amazing that there wasn't. They never did that again.

    I still have 8 fingers and 2 thumbs, trimmed the end of left index finger with a skill saw when I was 16, still can play the fiddle.

    Got a knot on my right thumb, was running in a big tap under power with center and cresent wrench, had a moment of confusion with forward reverse switch, ouch. I have a big ugly dril chuck in my box now for these jobs, my thumb wouldn't take it again.

    Had a leadman helping me change a set of forks on a forktuck one day back when I was playing forktruck mechanic, thought he knew what he was doing, not. Broke a few toes, foot changed into wonderful varieties of colors. Would have kicked him if I could have hobbled over to him fast enough.

    Working as a mechanic in a truck shop, no safety glasses furnished, should have brought in my own. Got a piece of steel in eye from a chop saw. Wasn't fun having it dug out, not a bit. Would have been cheaper for company to furnish a hood of safety glasses than to pay doctor bill.

    Working in a cold shop one day I had my coat removed by the leadscrew of a Southbend Lathe, glad the coat fit loose, I shucked it off.

    Been working in a shop of some sort for 23 years now, guess I'm lucky.

  7. #7


    i have oonly had my lathe/mill for about 3 months. I do my best to becareful and i can hear myself double checking my actions when i say; " Ahh it is just one hole!" etc. we have all been there.

    I was polishing a piece of metal on my lathe at its slowest speed. I figured i was been safe. For some reason i beleived that holding the sandpaper in my hand was ok. i figured it would always just rip if anything happened. Hmm WRONG. I tightened the sandpaper by pinching it close on the metal. Wham my hand when aroud the work. Luckuly it wasn't between centers or i would have no hand today. Everything is ok just a load more respect for the lathe and my thumb seems to shake everytime i polish work....using the toolpost to hold the sandpaper.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2001


    Saw a picture in a safety bulletin once....a piece of "shrapnel" off a lathe somehow went flying and landed square in the middle of the left lens of the guy's safety glasses, about 1/4" from the center of his eyeball. Stuck in the glasses, saved his eye. Like Norm Abram says "always wear your safety glasses".

    Not paying attention has cost me the end of one finger on a roughing mill, another one on a joiner, and yet another one on a table saw. All fingers were repaired and good as new today, but only cuz I been lucky. Never put your hands where you can't see your fingers, or you may never see them again.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Western NY


    A mechanic at a local shop got himself a new toy from the Snap-On guy. High speed air grinder, cut off (CRS setting in). He put a new disk in it and reved it up. The disk was a cheepie and was ratted for 1/2 the speed of his new tool and he just let it sing WFO. The disk bust and 1/2 went off a plate of steel leaned againt the wall and cut clear to his femer. Almost bleed to death and we dont want to talk about the infection that came on a week later.
    The best was one I have to find better refrences since I heard this on a morning radio program. They had a safty expert on to talk about weired/nasty industrial boo-boos. He said the worst was a guy who liked to "get off" by rubbing "his you know what" against the running belt of his lathe. (I thought yea right but it gets worse) Well he got cought and lost a nut. But instead of finding some ice and running for a doc. he just stapled himself up and went back to work. Finnaly passed out. I wish someone could confirm this story.

    I also know of 4 fingers lost to table saws. One eye lost to a screwdriver. (use a knife to open UPS packages) Lots of skin lost to gas being dripped on a bare bulb under a car. one guy cut in half by a falling truck hoist. One good friend killed by no breaks on a payloader (had to get the job done) But more even more people have bought it with cars/booze or cars/stupid than I can keep track of.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2001


    I broke my middle right finger trying to stop a 24" round by 5" thick from falling out of the four jaw chuck when i was trying to set it up in a lathe. I had just taken the clamp off the part and moved the hoist. The part started to fall then I caught the part. My finger stopped at the carbide insert in the tool post. It only took about nine weeks to get back to using my fingers again.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts