A Bad Day at Work

One of my former students (graduated June 2003) stopped by today. He
has plenty of time on his hands as his out on workman's comp for the
foreseeable future.
Back in June he was working for a company here in N.E. CT that makes
drill heads for serious drilling work (oil I think). He was lowering
some pieces into a tank of tempering oil that was held at 1000 degrees
F when some moisture that was on the parts exploded into steam
spraying him with MUCH hot oil.
A co-worker heard the pop of the steam explosion and came running as
my fellow came out of the heat treat room on fire on his right side.
They airlifted him to UMASS medical center in Worcester MA where he
stayed for several weeks. He is healing nicely now but will carry the
scars for a long time. Fortunately although his face was burned it
has healed fully with no noticeable scaring. Can't say the same for
his forearms and I don't even want to see his torso.
The phrase I use over and over with the kids when I am cautioning them
about things safety related is "you are cruising along fat, dumb and
happy one second and in a world of hurt the next. He has learned the
lesson all too well.
He says that when he is able to go back to work it won't be in that
Errol Groff
Instructor, H.H. Ellis Vo-Tech
Danielson, CT
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Errol Groff
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well hope that the kid makes full recovery
one of the local shops was doing some on-site repair of a rock crusher and a guy got killed ,very sad, young guy with new kid and wife
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Errol Groff snipped-for-privacy@snet.net
I'm not assigning blame anywhere on the info given, but in that kind of shop they have to be way on top of dunking water-bearing parts in a high-temp solution.
My old plumbing boss had the lead pot going (melting lead for CI soil pipe joints) one frosty morning. He grabbed a ladle full of ice, thinking its contents lead, nealt down to the pot, and dipped the ladle into the molten brew.
Frank Morrison
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A couple years ago at one of our local foundries a maintaince guy shut off a mold ramming machine to do some work on it. To get into see what he was doing he stuck his head through an opening in the machine. Now most of us know what happens to a hydraulic operated machine when the power is off, they bleed down. Well this machine had a heavy assembly that would come down and vibrate and ram molds. This fellow made the mistake of NOT blocking the machine, before he knew it the machine had come down enough he couldn't get his head back out. It didn't take long before the weight broke the guys neck and that was the end of him. My buddy is a firefighter and after the first in company couldn't budge the machine with an 80 ton jack, he went in and showed them you can't compress hydraulic fluid. Good thing the guy was long since dead. It still amazes me when I go to other people's shops the lack of safety glasses. To me that is the first basic safety requirement when working around machinery or just about any type of metal work.
be safe
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And just a reminder about confined space issues. According to C. this scenario is all too common, with different types of tanks and different chemicals, but the same human nature:
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One guy goes in without supplied air, then another, then another..
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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Spehro Pefhany
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I suspect that you have already thought about this -- but what are the odds that you can talk him into coming by during class time sometime and telling his story. Since he is near their age, they may listen to him once they see what happened to him.
Is it even possible that the school system can pay him a bit to give the talk? I don't know how difficult this would be to set up, but it might help him somewhat.
That sounds wise.
Good Luck, DoN.
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DoN. Nichols
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Wow, what a shitty way to die. (And an unforunate pun, too.)
-- "I've got more trophies than Wayne Gretsky and the Pope combined!" - Homer Simpson Website @
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Tim Williams
My family knows the emotions with this type accident well. Back in the early 60's, one of dad's best friends was a supervisory type at a big casting shop in the Beaumont, Tx. area. I don't remember the exact numbers but I think he said they had about 100 tons of molten steel in the mold on their big centrifucal casting unit. Something happened and the mold ruptured and most of the molten steel went through the control room and motor power room. Dad's friend was the only one to survive, if you could call it that. He was standing behind a huge motor control cabinet when the steel came through. The cabinet slowed the splash down just enough that it didn't kill him outright, but gave him 3rd degree burns over 100% of the body. Took three weeks for his body to finally give up and let him go.
Personally, I've been set on fire twice at work over the years and it's no fun at all. I am extremely lucky that the one time that I got serious burns, they some how managed to heal in such a way that you would never see the burn area without knowing exactly where to look.
And some of the guys that I work with wonder why I jokingly call myself the "Safety Nazi" when the rules are not followed.....
Craig C. snipped-for-privacy@ev1.net
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Chuckle. I was recently helping someone who has to produce a training CD for use of a maintenance shed for Boeing 747s.
Neither client or provider has done anything like this before, so they are learning as they go.
Over the last six months, he has taken nearly a thousand digital photographs of various items, procedures, etc. Then it is time for the camera guy to turn up with the professional camera to take the movies since they are going to swing test the wheels today. During the day, and reel two out of three, they decide to shoot the introductory bit.
Sequence after sequence is taken; fixing position, hands, movement, (shut that bloody pump off), intonation, posture, the giggles,, etc, etc, then finally I hear "aarrh, that was good I think we can use that" then "shit, no bloody safety glasses".
I'm wondering if it will take another six months to replace all the stills {:-).
Reply to
Terry Collins
On Wed, 1 Sep 2004 01:58:48 -0500, "Tim Williams" calmly ranted:
I can see the second guy trying to save the first, but you'd think the third guy would have realized that something was VERY wrong and should have known better than to try anything, despite an overwhelming wish to save them.
As Spehro indicated, they all should have known better than to open a tank in a confined space without breathing apparatus. Sad.
Do they bury tanks that deeply up there in Canuckistan due to the (perma)frost layer or something? My lid was 6" and output line was only about 18" down in So. Cal.
----------------------------------------- Jack Kevorkian for Congressional physician!
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Larry Jaques
It's a classic. This happens around here at least once a year.
"Oh my god, Joe's down! I better rush right in there and help him!"
"Oh no, Joe and Mike are in there, I better rush right in and help them!"
Reply to
jim rozen
My septic tank lids have a warning embossed on them that says not to enter-poison gas may be present. Speaking to the county inspector I mentioned this warning and wondered aloud who would be so stupid to enter a partially full septic tank. He told me at least one person a year dies in a septic tank in WA state. ERS
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Eric R Snow
A fews years ago several (4?) members of a Northeastern family died in a barn due to gasses from decomposing manure.
|||| || ||> ||>One guy goes in without supplied air, then another, then another.. || ||It's a classic. This happens around here at least once a year. || ||"Oh my god, Joe's down! I better rush right in there and help him!" || ||"Oh no, Joe and Mike are in there, I better rush right in and help them!" || ||Etc. || ||Jim || || ||-- ||================================================== || please reply to: ||JRR(zero) at pkmfgvm4 (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com ||==================================================
Texas Parts Guy
Reply to
Rex B
I'll second that notion of getting him into the class to talk of his accident. Especially get him to talk of how invulnerable he felt he was before the accident and how it really suprised him when it happened.
-- Bob May Losing weight is easy! If you ever want to lose weight, eat and drink less. Works every time it is tried!
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Bob May
I seen my share of explosions in both furnaces and molds from water-related incidents. One fact has always sobered me, I've heard that water at ~2500' F. has the same explosive power gram-per-gram as TNT. I cannot verify this statement, but I know from experience that a very small amount of water can cause a very large bang!
With regards to your former student, I think I would rather take a burn from molten iron that 1000' F. oil. Of course molten salt baths are even more dangerous.
In 25 years in the foundry I've been burned on about every part of my body except the soles of my feet and one other very important area! The worst was a 3rd degree burn over 50% of my back. We'd just poured off a 1 ton mold and were moving the ladle out when the mold blew, shooting iron back up through the risers. Must have been a damp core.
The foundry and heat treat biz can have some pretty tough moments. I wish the best for your guy's recovery!
Regards, Mike
Reply to
Mike Malone
Usually the top of the tank is at least 4ft down to get under the frost line in our neck of Canada, and not the coldest part of it :-)
Larry Jaques wrote:
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My first month on the job as a machinist, I heard a great big Whomp from the back of the shop. We did a lot of babbit bearing for fishing boats, they collected the scrap from reaming the bores and would remelt it. One of the young guys had that job and must have missed a damp rag or paper towel, because the Whomp I heard was the 10 or 20 lbs of babbit blowing out to the melting pot. He was a little stunned and no longer had any eye brows :-) but was wearing safety glasses and a welders cap so he survived ok. He checked the scrap a lot better after that :-)
Fdmorris> Errol Groff snipped-for-privacy@snet.net
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You can tell old bullet casters from new bullet casters. The new ones dont have any lead spatters on the walls and ceilings.
Letting a live primer hide in the spru cut offs makes for an interesting melt, as does an ingot with a cavity in it that contains water from sitting outside for a year.
"In my humble opinion, the petty carping levied against Bush by the Democrats proves again, it is better to have your eye plucked out by an eagle than to be nibbled to death by ducks." - Norman Liebmann
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