I now work at a facility that builds systems we sell to customers. The system uses DIN rail mounted components and the modular terminal blocks are the spring loaded type instead of screw terminals. I was talking with the safety officer and he was telling me that the safety consultant was just in the building and had commented that these terminal blocks were considered as having exposed surfaces. They were called exposed because an individual could push a pice of conductive material into a hole and make contact with energized components.
My reply was that we now have to remove every convience outlet because someone could do the same thing! Plus totally enclose every power supply with a perforated cover or any device that wasn't IP68.
Is this safety consultant blowing smoke or do we really have to protect idiots at all costs?
I guess I can't use the argument that if a person has a current driver's license, they might be smart enough to not stick conductive materials into electrical bits.
I can see accidental contact protection, but now we have to protect against deliberate actions too?
A person is compentent enough to get a job, drive to the place of employment, pass background and security checks, and be smart enough to work in a manufacturing environment, we still think they are dumb enough to stick a paperclip into electrical works?
I recently got stuck in a truck with an oil exec and, having nothing to talk about, I brought up the topic of safety. Their policy is that zero risk is the standard for their company
I did work for another oil company that had a "gloves on at all times, NO EXCUSES" policy. He though that was stupid. I think the rule is that their policies are smart and everyone else's policy is stupid.
So, I asked what he thought about the speed limit being increased from 55 to 65 mph, at the known risk of a 50% increase in traffic deaths. It was a very quiet trip after that because he was driving 65 in a 55 zone. I guess he thought the risk was worthwhile to reduce the time he had to spend with me.
If we really thought, as a society, that zero risk is the standard, that would end bungee jumping, football, swimming, boating, eating with a knife, cooking... It's impossible to regulate reasonable, so the rules get longer.
You cannot fix stupid, or regulate in to extinction! Every time a new fool proof device is invented a new improved fool will figure a way to defeat it. The answer is for people to be responsible for their own actions, YOU stuck the paper clip into the receptacle, YOU got electrocuted, I fail to see why I have to spend more money to install things to protect YOU, when I am smart enough not to do that.
Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
I've become convinced that 90% of the enthusiasm for "safety" is but a charade to impose authority and take away freedom.
Look at the basic premise: YOU are not smart enough to know what is safe, but some complete stranger in an office 1000 miles away is!
Most anything can be twisted into a 'safety' issue, giving despots a blank check to -at a minimum- practice 'seagull management' (swoop down, crap on everything, fly off).
Look at it this way: If the cops came to your door and said they wanted to check for drug ... wouldn't the response 'let's see the warrant' be reasonable and expected? Yet, some guy shows up at the front gate and says "I'm from OSHA and want to inspect," what's your response? Do you ask him for a warrant?
Imagine if, at the grocery store, you had to 'pass inspection' before they let you check out? It's only to protect your health, after all.
Even here at these forums, look at how many of us are so willing to write laws to impose on others. More is better, if it only saves one life, etc.
Don't let facts get in the way, either. A few examples:
1) Despite hysterical fears screamed in the press, returning to speed limits above 55mph did NOT lead to increased highway carnage- even for places with new limits in excess of 85mph;
2) The entire 'gun debate' is fraught with assertions that have long been debunked. "More Guns, Less Crime," which debunks these assertions, is written by a man who taught alongside our President at the U of C. Yet, the same tired lies keep getting trotted out, to justify further controls in the name of 'safety;' and,
3) Look to "Amish Country" for some insights to the 'misery loves company' principle. Over-regulated folks assert "it's not fair- we need to apply the rules to the Amish, too!" Note that folks don't say "The Amish are right- we need to trim back our government." This, despite plenty of testimony that Amish buildings don't fall apart (or burn down) any more than "permitted" buildings. This is even more impressive, as those folks still heat, cook, and light using open flames!
When I started in the trade, I was sent to the top of a 10 foot ladder to remove 2 ft x 4 ft fluorescent lights from a 16 foot ceiling in the middle of a warehouse. I don't just think my employer put me in a dangerous situation, I was really scared. At 17 years of age I didn't know how to stand up for myself. Under-regulation is bad.
I had a co-worker who hurt his back at home then came to work and claimed that he was injured lifting a fire extinguisher from the bracket. We went to every fire extinguisher in the plant and lowered them by 6 inches because action must be taken to prevent all injuries. Then there was a rule about the height of fire extinguishers. Over-regulation isn't a solution.
I have seen safety people with no clue specifying things.
A large printer in the computer room has to have an eyewash station according to the new safety manager but the photo copier on the other side of the wall in the office area that uses the same toner does not.
all the toners come in a sealed leak proof plastic cartridge and there has never been any incidents of exposure to loose toner.
The operators found that the eyewash station requires the raised floor to be opened so a pail can be put under it when they do the quarterly refreshing of the water. Just what they need splashing water onto cables and outlets in a computer room.
The computer operators also have to use cut resistant gloves and safety goggles to open boxes of paper according to this safety guy. He wanted to get rid of the utility knife they use but he couldn't figure how to get the boxes open without one.
Has anyone ever been in front of OSHA or had OSHA come to their job site? I was inspecting a large job with 5-7 story buildings. On one building the roofers were just throwing garbage off the roof and they hoped it landed in the dumpsters. Another day, an iron worker slipped off an I-beam and hit the deck below. (About an 8-10'drop) However the deck wasn't secured yet, so it opened up and he dropped to the floor below. ( Another 10') He survived but he got hurt pretty good.
OSHA stopped by that job site more than once. It was almost funny, every time an OSHA guy stopped by, all the workers would run into the woods.