RE: Another tragic case of not reading the manual

Subject: RE: Another tragic case of not reading the manual
From: "Gregory Sweet" <Gsweet -at- cdphp -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 17:27:24 -0400

Real Darwin candidates:

I worked as an elevator constructor summers during college and could recount a number of induhviduals that a true Darwin candidates, and it always made me nervous to be paired with and "experienced" mechanic missing bits of his hands and such. But one crew did finally wise up.

When elevators are modernized, they are usually stripped down to an open platform (enclosed on three sides to a height of 4' as per OSHA) that can be run up and down the shaft to move workers and materials. For safety reasons an elevator specialist must manually run the platform, and as I was the least skilled at the actual mechanics of installing the new equipment, running service platforms often fell to me.

It was my distinct pleasure one day to operate a platform for a group of electricians (the Darwin candidates) who's job it was to run new electrical conduit and wire the length of the shaft (some 30 stories at this particular site). For whatever reason, the electricians eschewed wearing the hardhats I offered them. we started at the top and when we were about a third of the way down, a 4-inch junction box cover somewhere above us came loose, fell, struck the platform and drove itself into the flooring with a loud thunk!

All of a sudden everyone wanted a hardhat.

Let's review: You're working in a 300' foot open shaft. There are people installing various sized, shaped, and weighted chunks of steel directly above you. You're offered a hardhat * and you _choose_ not to put it on.

Fortunately, no one was injured or killed that day, but it certainly wasn't out of the realm of possibility.

Techwriting tie-in, there was a very clear, and well-established guide (OSHA regulations), safety devices were offered, and hardhat notices were plainly visible to all who entered the job site (in English and picture). There was no pressure put on these persons to work unsafely, in fact it was exactly the opposite. People choose to be stupid, and they're not always parent-of-six-minimum-wage-earners.


neart - misneach - diongbháilteacht

>>> <MList -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com> 08/15/03 03:39PM >>>

Daniel_Hall -at- trendmicro -dot- com [mailto:Daniel_Hall -at- trendmicro -dot- com] opined:

> You have to wonder
> what could be done to save someone willing to climb deep into
> a machine where the temperature was 167F minutes before. It's
> pretty much impossible to engineer all the danger out of any
> complex piece of machinery, since it's impossible to
> underestimate the intelligence of your dumbest user.
> Actually, for the stupid, even a screwdriver is dangerous.
> This is Darwin Award material.

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