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Safety True Stories

Do Not Try These Things At Home!!!!!!!!!

They Will Severally Injure You!!!!!!!!

Ouch That Really Hurt!!!!

By Vince Nakovics

Well let me tell you a story about a man named Vin, who went to work one day just to weld a thing or two, He just changed his shoes about 4 months prior, and rearranged his work bench two months prior. He was a welding fast and furious; just to make the day productive, when it hit him that something was a miss! Hopping and yelling he discovered that those 6 inch tie up sneaker type, steel toe hiking type shoes didn’t have a leather tongue on them. Nope, they didn’t and sure as Mom’s pie the special hiking socks made of the finest man made poly something and that tongue will melt really fast! Faster than you can get to the larger than life piece of hot slag that zinged through that tongue and sock only to settle between his toes! Ooooouccchhh! Obviously a hot time was had.

Seriously several things contributed to this embarrassing injury, all of which should have been avoided. The boots and the socks are obvious and there are many reasons that I had switched, weight and I don’t do welding every day and I have welded on and off with sneakers on for years in a different setting. Well after looking at my sneakers, I have bought the same ones for few years now; I realized they are all leather. Duh!

Another factor that really changed the risks of getting burnt wasn’t as obvious until after the fact. I had changed the location of my welding station to facilitate better exhaust ventilation. This move changed the way I stood at the vise that I use for almost all of my welding. I stood with my right foot directly underneath the vice instead of to the side as I had at the old station. This simple change of position, assured that a problem of some sort as all the slag and sparks followed gravity to its natural resting spot on the ground and my foot.

Luckily it was not all that severe and I have now changed back to my old standby of 30 years, steel toes, full leather and electrically safe boots. Heavier, yeah, but I don’t have to worry about cinders and slag anymore. I wanted to share this tale of woe so that you can have one more thing to remind you of why the proper personal protective gear is so important, even if you don’t do it every day.

This picture was taken about a week and a half after I burned myself. Initially the burn areas were all black. It was painful for about three weeks and healed completely in about 2 months.

Wire Wheel Safety!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Steve LaPaugh

When you are cleaning up your “S” hook on the bench grinder’s wire brush, don’t hook it on your finger! A power wire brush is like a buffing wheel in that it can grab an item out of your hand and throw it off the wall or back at you.

I have used a power wire brush on the workbench ever since I was 10 years old, with no more injury than some outer layers of epidermis removed when my fingers came in contact with the rotating wires. In 1984 I bought a one horsepower Craftsman bench grinder and removed the left grinding wheel and replaced it with and eight inch fine wire wheel. I also removed the tool rest to give more access to the brush. I had used it this way for 11 years, again with no more than some light skin abrading.

Three days after Christmas in 2005 I had just finished forging a nice S-hook out of ¼” sq stock with a twisted center portion between the hooks. To remove the scale I proceeded to the bench grinder to clean the hook. It cleaned up nicely, except for the inside curve of the hooks.

I knew there would be a great tendency for the rotating brush to “grab” the inside curve and pull it out of my hand. I thought I could hold it tight enough by hooking one end over the middle finger of my left hand while also holding it with my right hand and brush the other end.

I was only going to give it very light pressure to reduce the likelihood of it grabbing. Well it grabbed anyway, and since it couldn’t pull it out of my hand, it pulled my finger into the sheet metal guard and cut it almost all the way off.

My wife was very calm and asked no questions when I walked into the house with a clean rag wrapped around my hand and told her to take me the emergency room. They reattached it, but were unsuccessful in saving it. A couple of weeks later they had to cut it completely off, then shorten the bone to get enough skin to close the end with stitches.

But, there is a silver lining behind every cloud. While at the surgeons, I got my first paying blacksmith job to fabricate a branding iron for one of the nurses. I have since removed the guard from the wire brush end of the bench grinder, and I do not wire brush inside curves and corners anymore.


Things Get Hot If You Heat Them!!!!!!!!!!

This is a true story. Do not attempt this as this stunt was performed by the “Original Tuff Guy”. One afternoon we had a pump go bad at work. A person, who remains unnamed, was in a large hurry, and heating a shaft to get a bearing off.

Three of us were watching. Keep in mind; I said this person was in a large hurry. When the shaft was glowing red before anyone could move this person reached over and picked the shaft up with his bare hand! It didn't take him long to look at it!

He walked around the rest of the day with a frozen water bottle in his hand. He said he slept with one all night. Unbelievably the next morning his hand wasn't even red. He told us later that "If you’re gonna be stupid you got to be tuff" .

Travis Covington

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