No announcement yet.

A tremor in the Force, did you feel it???

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • A tremor in the Force, did you feel it???

    There was a tremor in the Force on Monday, did you feel it?

    It happened in Pennsylvania, but it could happen anywhere. The event was totally unexpected and it happened to an experienced member of the trades; who got a little too complacent; was distracted; or for some other reason didn't have 100% focus on the operation he was performing at the time and was not thinking about what he was doing.

    While operating a Mag-drill, he was brushing away metal filings with his gloved left hand as the drill operated. His left sleeve became entangled in the drill bit, and pulled his hand into the bit causing the ring finger of his left hand to be amputated and index finger to be three quarters of the way severed. A co-worker came to the individual's aid pushing the "OFF" button to secure the Mag-drill and then called for help.

    His hand will never be the same. His life will never be the same. And his families life will never be the same. He didn't do it on purpose and it didn't happen because he or someone else was clowning around, but it still happened and he will have to endure the consequences of the event for the rest of his life.

    It seemed like an innocent enough tool, a Mag-drill (magnetic-base portable drill press).

    Everybody, PLEASE, BE CAREFUL.

    THINK about what you are doing or about to do, and ask yourself this question: "Is this a safe thing to do?" or "Is this the safest way to perform this task?"

    If you can't answer YES or maybe if you answer YES too fast, you better take a minute or two and analyze the task, because you don't want to end up like the guy in this post.

    I didn't know the individual above personally, but years ago (1978) I saw a co-worker succumb to almost the same type of incident. He was drilling while sitting up on a scaffold with a big D-handle 1/2" drill. His glove got caught up in the bit and it threw him off the scaffold. He fell approx. 25 feet hitting some steel and large bore pipes on the way down, landing head first into the concrete floor. His hard hat came off after he hit the first pipe. There was a ambulance and first-aid team on site at this job, but he died before they got him to the hospital. I was in the second year of my apprenticeship and this was already the third death that had occurred on a jobsite I was on, but it was the first that I saw happen. The Journeyman I was teamed up with and I were working only 50 feet away when it happened, and we were the first ones there and to call for help.

    The Force I speak of is the collective health of building trades people everywhere. Every time someone is injured or killed it reduces the power of that force, and takes a small piece of us all.

    Maybe (for myself) I was lucky in a way to have been so close to three deaths so early in my career, because it has kept me always questioning if I am working as safe as I could. That doesn' help the three men who died, but I am trying to make sure that the lesson was not lost on me.

    There was a tremor in the Force Monday, did you feel it?


    Don't let your co-workers, your employer, or anyone make you do something or use a tool that you know is not safe.

    Don't let them gamble with YOUR LIFE.
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

  • #2

    for the longest time i told my boss that we should all have our Own safety harness . then i said to him that i do rope rescue work for a volunteer sar team and that we do not share our harness to now one for safety reasons !!!

    so he got every one new ones

    you always need to think of the worst thing that could happen if you do not
    think of job safety first

    thanks for the heads up


    My seek the peek fundraiser page

    new work pictures 12/09


    • #3
      "Safety First"

      My father spent 45 years with Wisconsin Telephone Co. (Long before it was Wisconsin Bell and way longer still before it was SBC), and at one time, part of his job was safety coordinator for his operating area. I remember him saying over and over, "Safety First." He's been gone 10 years now, but every time I pick up a power tool, work on electricity, work on an automobile, or do any kind of construction work, I hear his voice in the background uttering those two words of advice. It makes you stop and think about what you're doing and how you're doing it. As to previous posts on not having employers force or coerce you into doing something dangerous, a few years ago, one of the largest cranes ever built collapsed at Milwaukee County stadium during a construction job. Some bean counter-type supposedly told the crane operator if he wouldn't make the lift, he'd find someone else who would. While the crane operator is supposed to be the one making the final call, he did the pick anyway. It was too windy for the pick that day and the rest is history. Three very good men, who were not involved in making that pick at all, died as a result of that bean counter's command. Safety First, mi amigos, Safety First.
      Jim D.


      • #4
        I remember hearing about that crane accident. That crane (Lampsom Lift was the company name IIRC) or one like it was on a big project I worked in the early 80's, and made a 600T pick plus some smaller ones. It took them about three weeks to prep the area where the crane would be setup and to test all the rigging they would use. The day they made the pick they sent everyone home and paid us all for the rest of the day, just to get us all out of the way for safety's sake. That was an expensive 'gift', because it meant sending over 3000 people home one hour early, so 3000 manhours of zero production for that day! They sent us home early to be sure they would have enough daylight to finish the lift before dark. They probably realized that everyone would be standing around and watching the pick anyway, so even if we stayed not much would get done. After all, it's not everyday you see 600 tons floating through the air on a couple cables.

        Somewhere I have a photo of that crane, I will see if I can scare it up.

        For those who have not seen the video, here's a link to it at

        It's a 12MB, 1m15s video.
        Last edited by Bob D.; 02-25-2006, 06:24 AM.
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


        • #5
          I work on overhead cranes and hoists. I have had several near misses over the years. The 2 most memorable have resulted in my being overly cautious when performing my work. I was at GE appliance park working on the bridge wheels of a 50 ton crane. I was off the crane sitting on the runway adjusting some bearings. I was wearing a harness and was tied to the crane itself. The crane took off down the runway dragging me with it. I was lucky in the fact that there was another man up there on the crane catwalk with me. He pulled me off of the runway and up onto the catwalk. Still don't know where he got the strength to do that, he was a small guy that could not tear his way out of a wet sack. When I regained my ability to think I shut the crane down from the panel disconnect. Then switched operation over to the pendant control instead of radio. I drove the crane back to the access ladder and we climbed down. Found mine and my helpers locks laying on the floor with a pair of bolt cutters. Turns out a production manager told the operator that we were finished working on the crane and that we forgot to remove our locks. he ordered the guy to cut them off and run the crane. Both men were fired and the manager was charged and sentenced to 2 years in prison for removing the locks from the disconnect. The other incident happened only a couple months after that one. I shut a crane down and opened the door to the disconnect before locking it out. That lets everyone know there is no way to turn the systen on even if they cut the lock. I climbed up onto the crane and opened the main panel. Reached in with a screwdriver to start removing a contactor and my arm brushed up against the main fuses in the panel. EMS rescue workers woke me up as they were getting me down for the crane. Seems that somehow my leg got caught on a cable and kept me from falling. The fire dept started the investigation on why this happend as soon as I was able to talk. When I told them I had locked it out with the diconnect open they checked it out. The customer had delayed getting the crane fixed and because it kept blowinf expensive fuses, he disconnected the wires from the bottom of the fuses and run the up behind them and reconnected the before the fuses. When looking in the disconnect everything looked normal. That business does not exist anymore. OSHA shut him down and he filed bankruptcy before I could even get a court date against him. I actually disconnect the wires from the fuse blocks before locking out a crane to work on it now.
          info for all: --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."


          • #6
            Wow Dan, that is scary. To think that there is someone out there who would cut off your locks on the disconnect without checking to see if you were still working or not. I am surprised he is still alive, I bet you wanted to hang him from that crane and leave him for dead huh?
            "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



            • #7
              Yeah I did, but I had 3 cracked ribs and could bearly breath.
              info for all: --- "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."


              • #8
                Wow Dan,

                Just reading that sent shivers up my spine. You are one lucky fellow! It's amazing what people will do for the sake of "production". Minimal jail time and loss of their job seems only marginally satisfying considering the fact that they could have killed you.

                I'm certainly glad that you have an angel on your shoulder,



                • #9
                  Originally posted by CWSmith
                  Wow Dan,
                  I'm certainly glad that you have an angel on your shoulder,
                  I'm wonderin' how many beers Dan bought for that "angel" that saved his butt!
                  "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06


                  • #10
                    Bob, thanks for the eye opener! sometimes i can get complacent and your story will keep me on my heels. I repair at least 1 or 2 mag drills a day and when i test them i usally use an oil squirtbottle to lube the cutter so my hand can get close to the i will keep very aware.thanks , john.
                    A fishing pole is the best cordless tool!


                    • #11
                      I think I'll print this out and keep it somewhere obvious in the shop. Safety First just can't be repeated enough!!!! Thanks!
                      I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.