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#125344 - 09/11/04 04:35 PM What's the point?
Trumpy Offline

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
A recent Occupational accident here raised my eyebrows, when I was reading about it in the newspaper the other day:

A worker at a meat processing plant had her right arm crushed in a machine on the slaughter-board of the said plant.
This accident occurred while the worker was cleaning down the machine at the end of the kill.
Investigations after the accident had found
the worker, in order to clean the machine, had removed the splash guards and had also wedged the Dead-man's type foot switch closed, that operated a conveyor belt in the machine.
She then began cleaning the now operating machine and proceeded to reach into the machine to remove a pice of meat when her glove became caught in the conveyor, pulling her arm through a roller.
As she was unable to reach the wedged pedal, she could not turn the machine off.
When are workers going to learn that controls like Dead-man switches, aren't put on machines, just for the fun of it?.
If there is one thing that REALLY winds me up, it's stupid workers defeating Safety systems on machines that can cause very serious harm to them.

{Message edited for spelling errors}

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 09-12-2004).]
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#125345 - 09/11/04 05:01 PM Re: What's the point?
BuggabooBren Offline

Registered: 11/15/01
Posts: 336
Loc: NM
I'm with you all the way, Mike. There's almost no engineered control that won't be tested by some fool who thinks they're above or beyond being hurt by the machinery they're dealing with (and circumventing the safety mechanism on). Hard way to learn the risks are very real!

#125346 - 09/11/04 05:12 PM Re: What's the point?
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Mike It is hard to protect people from themselves.

One thing I see with more machinery controlled by PLCs is that you can not mechanically jam or electrically jump out some of these safety features. The programing is done in a way that expects the switch to open at some point in the cycle. In the case of a foot operated switch it may be as simple as a timing program that will force the switch to be released once in a while or the machine will stop operating.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#125347 - 09/11/04 05:41 PM Re: What's the point?
Ron Offline

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 577
Loc: White Plains, NY
One of my associates was sued years ago when he was doing industrial plant design. The design included a door safety, which required the door to be closed before the machine would operate. The operator jumped out the door switch, and proceeded to get crushed when pulled into the open door by the machinery.
The worker's family got a lot of money from the court case, as the jury felt bad for them. My associate now has this follow him on his career from the insurance company to insurance company.

#125348 - 09/11/04 10:54 PM Re: What's the point?
Trumpy Offline

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Ouch Ron!.
Bob, at the end of the day here, most factory owners would not like the idea of a PLC running thier equipment, mainly because they would have no idea on how to defeat the control circuits.
Having said that, the Employer here, wants the darned thing to work as fast as it possibly can.
Who cares if a person operating it loses a couple of fingers or a hand?.
Productivity is the thing here, we have to compete with China.
Sorry, just joking!.
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#125349 - 09/12/04 06:38 AM Re: What's the point?
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
a while back the same thing happened in a pasta plant here, the safety gaurds were removed for cleaning, the worker was caught, dragged in, and subsequently died...

that person was a father, brother, husband, former green beret, respected member of our community, he was not stupid....

The safety community loves to demonize sorts like this as three toed sloths, which is just a diversion from the bigger picture isn't it?

see these things upclose enough, feel the anguish from the onlookers and/or fasmily, smell the incontinence, and i'll quarantee you'll think differently as i do


#125350 - 09/12/04 03:12 PM Re: What's the point?
trekkie76 Offline

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 219
Loc: baileyville, maine, usa
sparky, no one is saying these acts are not tragic, but the simple truth is they are preventable. Hopefully people learn from the mistakes that others have to pay a very steep price for.

#125351 - 09/12/04 04:27 PM Re: What's the point?
sparky Offline

Registered: 10/18/00
Posts: 5545
trekkie76, i live in a small town , pop 2800.

Within a short, less than 2 yr period, i saw 5 occupational deaths

none of these people were stupid, allbeit some made bad choices.

the only time we see OSHA is when someone dies here, and it's usually to fine the company it happened in

they never forwarded one thin dime to educate the people in question, although they will all admit in debate that education is key

so when someone like Mike here starts a thread wondering 'what the point' may be, i have to multiply this scenario X all the small towns across America

as a mentor said to me 'What Works Works'

what we have here doesn't

what's worse to me, knowing some of the families and widows, is the safety community's penchant for using these poor souls as example on thier high horse...

people dying apparently are good business for them, and it turns my stomach to see them do it

imo, the system should assume some cupability, yet like anything else here, it's hard to fight city hall


[This message has been edited by sparky (edited 09-12-2004).]

#125352 - 09/13/04 06:28 AM Re: What's the point?
Bill Addiss Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA

As trekkie76 said, no one is saying these acts are not tragic, but If someone purposely overrides features that are put in place for their own protection how can you blame that on the Safety Community? I'm sorry, but I don't get it.


#125353 - 09/13/04 09:58 AM Re: What's the point?
Big Ed Offline

Registered: 04/07/04
Posts: 56
Loc: Roxboro, NC, USA
I have yet to see the safety interlock that someone has not found a way to override. Like the saying goes; "Make something idiot-proof, and there will soon be a better idiot."

Now, that having been said, I am not classifying everyone who gets injured a moron. A great deal of this is a long and slow buildup of being lax about procedures and such.

I have seen it happen at a chemical plant I worked at. At some point in the past the maint. department was slow to fix a damaged interlock so the operators learned to "work around it." The habit stuck even after the device was repaired. Fortunately it was only a very close call, as opposed to a death, that woke everyone up to the problem.

I have pointed out things to supervisory personel to get the "Oh, that? It just slows down the operator. We don't need it. Nobody will put their hand there..." attitude.

Like I said, it is more of a chronic buildup, not acute ignorance. Sadly new employees are "trained" to ignore guarding and interlocks by the old hand who knows more than those busy-body safety inspectors.

It is just like tagout/lockout. You may save a little time by bypassing the proceedures, but it is not worth the risks.

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