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Close Calls - List yours

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  • #31
    Re: Close Calls - List yours

    baby scorpions in my bedroom, Tempe Az.

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    • #32
      Re: Close Calls - List yours

      I went to a duplex to diagnos an electric water heater problem. There were two identical 40 gal elec w.h.s side by side in the attic. The receptacle for each heater was mounted overhead next to the heater. There was a chicken wire fence separating the two sides of the attic and went between the water heaters. I unplugged the water heater, removed the panels, pulled the insulation back and felt the tank right above the upper thermostat to see if it was warm, tugged on the wires to see if they were loose and pushed the reset button. I glanced up at the power cord and my eye just naturally followed it---up to the RECEPTACLE ON THE OTHER SIDE! I had to sit down. My knees started shaking.

      Many years ago I went out on a roof of a two story house plus an attic to check a lav vent. This was a home from the 1920's with 11 ft ceilings so the roof was extra high. I started to slide. Nothing between me and the points of the iron fence below but 30' of air. My feet hit the gutter and my fingers were dug into the shingles and my heart was about beating out of my chest.

      As a helper, 1976, I was sent under a house to pump water from under a floor furnace. Laying on wet ground, I grabbed the pump, the plumber above the floor plugged it in, the current hit me and my legs contracted and propelled my head straight up into the floor joist and I feel BACK ON THE PUMP. As I screamed the plumber finally decided to unplug it. I guess he thought I was through pumping. He was right.


      In the 80's I was lighting an old coal fired boiler that had been converted to natural gas. There was a constant pilot and a thermocouple. It had those fire bricks that stand up on the inside of the boiler. I lit the pilot, depressed the safety on the gas valve. It was my stupidity, but somehow the pilot had shifted away from the burner. As I reached up to turn off the gas because it was taking too long to ignite, it exploded. Man, I swear that whole boiler expanded and contracted. There was so much asbestos in the air that had been insulating the boiler, it looked like a white-out. I couldn't hear a thing except the ringing in my ears.
      "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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      • #33
        Re: Close Calls - List yours

        In the 80's I was lighting an old coal fired boiler that had been converted to natural gas. There was a constant pilot and a thermocouple. It had those fire bricks that stand up on the inside of the boiler. I lit the pilot, depressed the safety on the gas valve. It was my stupidity, but somehow the pilot had shifted away from the burner. As I reached up to turn off the gas because it was taking too long to ignite, it exploded. Man, I swear that whole boiler expanded and contracted. There was so much asbestos in the air that had been insulating the boiler, it looked like a white-out. I couldn't hear a thing except the ringing in my ears.
        __________________
        A similar thing happened to me. My hair and eyebrows burned partly off.
        Water Heater Reviews & Water Heater Information

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        • #34
          Re: Close Calls - List yours

          I don't know if any of mine compare to the others I've read. But I'll list a few.

          Backfilling around a house with my dad. I was in the corner of the brick steps and stoop. He would push the dirt near and then I would shovel it in. One time he came back and didn't slow down. I could tell from the momentum that the brakes would not stop it. So in the last second I jumped up on the stoop (about 35") as the box blade smacked into the brick. Would have broken both legs. My dad said "You better watch what the hell your doing."

          Working on an electric water heater in a ceiling of a commercial building on a ladder. Switched off the breaker labeled water heater. Went up and removed the covers. Put my meter on it. Read no power. Went to work. Accidentally touched both wires enough to knock me off the ladder. Come to find out the breaker was marked wrong AND my meter was screwed up. What are the odds? So I shut the main off.

          Went to move an ice maker line in a zero property line townhouse complex. The kind that are all connected by a common firewall.
          Shut the internal main to the residence off. Drained the house at all points. Went to work on cutting the line to move it. First cut and BAM! water shoots 10' in the air. I run to the meters 50 yards away. 6 meters in a row, unlabeled, and underwater. Shut them all down. Some IDIOT CONNECTED THIS ONE LINE TO ANOTHER HOUSE SOMEWHERE. YES THEY DID! The only good thing that came out of this is the homeowners couldn't have been more helpful and gracious. Even help clean up the water. AND THEY INSISTED PAYING ME! Even after me arguing with them for like 30 minutes that they didn't owe me a dime.

          Still some good people in the world.

          J.C.

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          • #35
            Re: Close Calls - List yours

            A few years ago we had to jack hammer through a cement wall at a college. Normally we would suspend the hammer from a backhoe and hammer away horizontally. But there was a brick wall around the building and no way to get the hoe anywhere near the building. We would take turns swinging the hammer up to the wall and hammering for a few seconds, or as long as we had strength for. During one of my turns the hammer kicked back hard and came down horizontally with me still holding the handles. We had cut a vertical pipe a few hours before and the stub end was still sticking up. Unfortunately for me the hammer came down and my middle finger and ring finger on my right hand were nearly severed by the jagged end of the pipe. It gets worse.

            My daughter-in-law works for a group of orthopods. I called her and drove to the office. With her influence, got to the head of the line with my dangling fingers. No waiting room no nothing, right to the doc. He unwraps my hand surveys the damage and starts to inject novocaine. That injection was the most painful experience of my life to date. He started jamming that needle in at the base of my middle finger, palm up, and proceeded to keep pushing the needle till I thought I would scream. I suspected what was coming next and I was correct. The same treatment was given to my ring finger. Terrible, unbelievable pain.

            He cleaned the yuck out but for some reason he decided to wait until the next day for surgery, at which time, thankfully, I was put under. Fingers sewn back together. No scars visible unless I look closely, but some loss of movement and my two fingers become very cold during the winter. I called the company to see if I could return to work, after a lot of discussion with the doc got his permission, and was driving a dump truck two days later and for the rest of my recovery period.

            Tom
            Last edited by Tom W; 05-29-2008, 08:49 PM.

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            • #36
              Re: Close Calls - List yours

              Originally posted by JCsPlumbing View Post
              I don't know if any of mine compare to the others I've read. But I'll list a few.

              Would have broken both legs. My dad said "You better watch what the hell your doing."

              J.C.
              ROTFLMAO!! He sounds just like my dad.


              A few years ago I stuck a large screwdriver under the lid of one of those big rectangle water meter boxes. I pushed down with my foot and lifted the side enough to get my fingers underneath and lift it up the rest of the way. After getting my readings off the meter I dropped the lid back down in place - forgetting to move the screwdriver.Ofcourse, I was looking straight down at it. The screwdriver flew up and hit me in the face cutting a gash from my lip across my checkbone and into my eyebrow. How I escaped losing an eye I can only attribute to the Grace of God.
              "Man will do many things to get himself loved, he will do all things to get himself envied." Mark Twain

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              • #37
                Re: Close Calls - List yours

                Was working in a Texaco station mainly pumping gas but doing mechanical work also to help out the owner who was a clutz. Came in at noon one day and the owner was in a tizzy. Was trying to put a new filter in the glass fuel bowls of old (about a 1961 Olds, IIRC). Anyway, owner couldn't get it to seal right and everytime he started car, gas leaked all over the place. Bay smelled like gas when I arrived. He asked if I could put it all back together without a leak. I did. Trouble light was hanging down in front of engine, and I was practically laying on the radiator with my head down inside eng. compartment. Owner is in a hurry and sees me put my feet back on the ground and he asks if I got it. I say yes, and he jumps behind wheel and turns the key!!! I saw trouble light get hooked in the pulleys and belts and it comes around once just missing my head, as it hits something the bulb explodes with a bang and a flash, with all the gas around, I'm sure something's going to blow up. It didn't. Owner turns off the key and rushes over to me. I'm pissed but don't say much. Then I notice my face feels wet. Blood coming from a cut just below my eye where a piece of glass from the exploding light bulb hit me.
                Another night, same station, I'm closing down about 11 p.m. Working alone, but my friend shows up. As I'm bringing stuff in from the islands, I notice a thin whisp of smoke coming up from the concrete. I figure somebody spilled some battery acid there (in those days we filled new batteries so always had sulfuric acid around). It had rained a little so everything was wet. Figuring it's battery acid, I go get the rad. watering can and flood the entire area with fresh water to dilute the acid. Still no result, smoke rising. I look down and see a wire. I go inside to get a Vice-Grip to grab the wire, and luckily thought better of it. I pick up the watering can, and stick it in the slight depression where the smoke is rising. Suddenly, the dark night is lit up. I look closer and investigate and find that there are two wires in the depression and they are obviously a hot and a ground or neutral. Luckily, when I touched them with the can, I was holding onto the plastic handle of the can, as I was now standing in water all around the area I had just flooded. Next day the owner had a Sparky come and shut off power to the old light fixtures which had been removed previously.
                Jim Don

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                • #38
                  Re: Close Calls - List yours

                  Hi all.

                  I was 17 "24 years ago" and we were disconnecting a Septic Tank and hooking up to the sewer main. We had about 210' from the back of the house around the left side and to the front. We were about 18' deep I was making the connection "We had no shoring nor did I know any difference" All I heard from Roger was "Get out, Get out" I turned and started to run towards the shallow end of the ditch and just made it as both sides fell in.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Close Calls - List yours

                    Good thing someone was looking down the hole and watching your back.

                    Nothing like being in a hole and hollering up when you need something and having to do it 5 times in order to get their attention away from the "last Saturday night" conversation.

                    Welcom to the forum!
                    INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                    Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

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                    • #40
                      Re: Close Calls - List yours

                      Welcome to the forum BigDog Glad your not still 18' under.
                      Josh

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                      • #41
                        Re: Close Calls - List yours

                        Not so much of a close call as an actual stupid move. Monday morning the rod busters show up - short handed. I finish using the loader to bring the rod, all 5 and 6 bar, to a pile. The crane still is not set up so the rod has to be carried into the hole for the footers for the dam we are rebuilding. "I'm going to show those laborers how to carry that bar. There is no need to carry only two or three pieces at a time. We gotta get this done." I tell myself.

                        Me 62 the laborers in their 20s. I grab a bunch of rod and make a few trips to the footer. Now coffee time. I sit down in the shade with my back against a cool cement block building. BAM my lower back muscles contract. I can't stand up.

                        Long story short I scored three percocet and was able to drive the 50 miles home. According to the chiropractor when my muscles contracted the left side of my hip was drawn up 3/4 " higher than my right making my left leg 3/4" shorter. So here I sit with two more two more trips to the chiropractor scheduled. I hope I feel well enough to go back to work on Tuesday.

                        Someone's tag line here is: "If your gonna be dumb you gotta be tough." That fits me but I guess I ain't tough enough.
                        Last edited by Tom W; 08-29-2008, 07:27 AM.

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                        • #42
                          Re: Close Calls - List yours

                          You better get some extra pain killers, for all the ribbing those young bucks are gonna give you come Tuesday. I have a feeling your going to be hearing a lot of old man jokes.

                          Let them have their fun for a bit. When you tire of it just give them the friendly reminder of how a good operator can make a laborers job much easier. Nothing will get their attention faster then 3 or 4 yards of "misplaced" gravel that you "can't" get to.
                          Grab your shovels boys!!!
                          INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
                          Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: Close Calls - List yours

                            I really do not know if you call it a close call, or not, but it was dangerous, if one would have been in the way you would have been dead.

                            I went with my son to day, partly to play safety officer (my son some times is not a careful as I would like to see him be)

                            The job was to attempt to help load a small old drag line that had been abandoned for the last 50 years and he got permission to salvage it, so we backed up the trailer up to it, and strung out the winch line, and chained the truck to a tree, the machine had been setting for 50 years and had been in floods in the past, but when we started to pull there was small movement in the tracks, but the winch stalled out (we purposely set the winch down so we would not over stress the cable) so we put a snatch block on the line and back to the trailer we got it to move, and slowly got the tracks broke loose from the sand they were in, and after about 20 feet we were near the trailer, and it started up on the trailer, and the winch stalled, out so we hooked up a third block and doubled back to the first block and chained the one block on to the trailer, each time we would take cover behind or under or move out of range, where if a failure would occure one would not be in the line of the winch cable or parts, I stood out of range, and we ran the winch controls by remote line, behind the front of the truck winch on rear, the 3/8" chain broke (which we used as much for a safety of over stressing things) broke and the two 8" snatch block and the cable and chains flew (towards the rear), in less time it took to hear it, and about 25 foot of 1/2 cable and two 8" snatch blocks a hunk of 3/8 chain and some 1/2 and 5/8" chains about 10' long ended up in the cab of the machine we were trying to winch on, After a second try it was obvious that some thing had caught, and was not going to move any more, try we gave up, and it will now be cut apart in to fork lift manageable pieces,

                            when it snapped it was instant, there was no way one could have reacted to get out of the way if one would have been in the way, it was instant, jsut like an explosion.

                            I write this more as a warning

                            when using chains or cables or tow ropes, use great care and caution, as if failure occurred the potential could be deadly, (have seen many chains and even cables break but never fly at that speed or distance), when it happens it is deadly dangerous.

                            place your self, in a safe location, never stand near a cable or chain under tension,, and a wind shield will not protect you, tow ropes are especially dangerous as the they can store a tremendous amount of energy, and if it slips or breaks it will really fly,
                            some good information on safe used of a winch, http://www.paccarwinch.com/service/wormsafety.asp
                            Last edited by BHD; 08-29-2008, 11:58 PM.
                            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                            attributed to Samuel Johnson
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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                            • #44
                              Re: Close Calls - List yours

                              My definition of fear is: negative expectations. When I am a situation similar to what you described I am afraid. There are so many possible negative consequences to think about that attention to detail is of utmost importance.

                              We use all rated and tagged chains and straps, but just because they passed a test at onetime doesn't mean something hasn't happened between the test and when you have to use them that weakened them. Should you use 3/16, 1/4, 7/16, 1/2 inch chain to lift or pull something? When you are in the field you don't have the luxury of weighing something before lifting or moving it. How much resistance is there when a Cat 330 is stuck in mud up to the swing house and two D8s can't budge it ? Who knows? That is where experience pays off and your experience payed off big time. No one was hurt.

                              When I see younger, inexperienced workers make unsafe moves they know I have seen them because I unleash a flurry of invectives at them that would make a drunken sailor blush. Typically when I see an experienced worker, someone who should know better, make what I consider a bone headed move we talk it through, because maybe he is right and I am wrong and I want to learn his logic.

                              Thank you for the reminder to play it safe.

                              -Tom

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                              • #45
                                Re: Close Calls - List yours



                                hello.

                                i was working in yellowknife, nwt, canada, 1990 in a drug store that had the boiler replaced.

                                i was finishing up soldering the new connections to the existing heating system. i was standing on top of the shipping/receiving table. i put my left hand on the table and jumped down.

                                i didn't see the chrome plated rod used for a display. it reflected the light perfectly enough to camouflage it.

                                just before my feet touched the floor the rod caught me in the right armpit. my feet swung out from under me and i hit the floor on my back.

                                luckily, i didn't weight enough to cause the rod to puncher my skin. i was sore for a couple of days.


                                winnipeg, manitoba, 1975

                                i was 10years old, got bit by a mosquito carrying the equivalent to todays west nile virus. almost died.
                                (4 residents of wpg got sick that year, 1 died, 2 became permantly paralysed, i was the only one forunate to walk away)

                                rankin inlet, canada, 1991

                                i was 26 years old, contracted viral meningitis from a tenent in a house where i was replacing the water meter. almost died from that one too. i didn't eat for two weeks straight. i lost 20 pounds. i was only about 160lbs before i got sick.

                                there hasn't been and ill effects,
                                there hasn't been any ill effects,
                                there hasn't been any ill effects,.......

                                i'm lucky to be alive and i thank the big guy upstairs every once in a while. he looks after me.

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