Your worst accident or near miss

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Bingy man

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Inspired by the recent post by Keith 66 ( a stupid accident) it’s got me thinking of some of the accidents I’ve had in my years within the building and construction world over the last 40 years or so. I personally believe that anyone who goes public with an accident and opens themselves up to criticism is actually helping others to learn from these accidents and hopefully prevent others from working in an unsafe manner or environment. So deep breath from me- about twenty years ago I was working in West Sussex and lodging with a fellow engineer In lancing. We cleared there garden , removed the old concrete and sheds etc and installed a 20’ x 30 raised deck and the remaining ground was then to be slabbed. All went to plan the slabs were laid and the last row needed to be cut . No probs I said -I’m going home this weekend so I’ll bring my angle grinder back with me . That’s where it went wrong- I retrieved said 9 1/2 inch grinder and decided to test it before leaving. Some of you will now pick up on where I went wrong and broke just about every safety rule in the book . The grinder was in a black back previously used for plaster, the guard and side handle was missing, I was wearing trainers , no gloves and I was in a rush to drive the 200 miles to lancing . What happened next was just a few seconds of panic and mayhem . In went the plug into the kitchen socket , it instantly started ( it was on trigger lock ) it kicked out of my hands and hit the floor spinning and attacking everything it came into contact with including my foot . 3 hrs in a/e ,a severe gash in my big toe , and my sister’s kitchen was a mess, the washing machine fridge freezer and cooker were all victims. It could of been a lot worse as the cut to my toe happened as the spinning grinder fell onto my trainer -I think it was the direction of the blade that actually meant the grinder cut my toe on impact and then the rotation took it away from the rest of my foot . I’ve never forgot this incident that was my own stupid fault but every time I operate any tool or machinery I check check and check again. Thanks for reading..
 

Fitzroy

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Grinders are terrifying, but any tool with a trigger lock is equally poorly designed from a human factors viewpoint. NVR switches will have prevented many many injuries.

The ones I’d list for learning from but luckily got away with minor outcomes.
- Tablesaw kickback, making a quick cut, I’ll be ok without the riving knife! BANG, dent in the wall, saw still spinning as I wonder what happened. You cannot control it once it starts to kick!
- Cut forearm on a drill bit in the drill press. I can move the workpiece without turning it off, it’ll save me 30s.
- Badly twisted ankle and snapped 4x2. Putting a new roof on an outhouse stepped off the ladder on to some rubble, turned my ankle fell backwards onto the 4x2, snapping it but it likely acted as a crumple zone and stopped me smacking my body, or worse, head on something else. Poor worksite cleanliness was at the heart of the accident.

Fitz.
 

Doug71

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Not me but a builder I know.

He got his nose broken by a piece of brick dropped from a scaffold above him. He was wearing a hard hat but it was the classic where someone shouts "Look Out!" so he looked up and got hit square in the face, if they had kept quiet it would have just bounced off his hard hat.
 

ChrisWiduWood

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My Near miss!
My first Saturday job was on a pig farm many moons ago and one day we had to move an old steel oil tank that was 1/3 full with oil, the farmer brought a front loader tractor with forks and proceeded to lift and drag the tank off of the concrete filled blocks (it was in a low level barn so a straight lift wasn't an option)
i was stood at the back of the tank and the driver couldn't see me. when we had got the tank halfway and sat on only 1 section of blockwork i decided to put my hands under the tank for stability , luckily for me another chap came round and shouted GET YOUR HANDS OUT OF THERE just as the farmer accidentally put it in forward shunting the tank at me and making a guillotine effect between the tank and concrete.... That man saved all my fingers....
 

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Sideways

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Beware elastic tie down straps. In my early 20's I lost my grip on one while pulling it really tight. It whipped around the bundle and the metal hook hit me in the eye. Within a minute I couldn't see. Off to A&E feeling very scared about the outcome. Thank goodness the impact only caused a bleed inside the eye, a bit scraped but no penetrating injury. They let me out the next day as the fluid inside my eye cleared naturally.
 

RobinBHM

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One of my employees was using a spindle moulder set up as a tenoner.

The cutter was turn blade tooling on a 350mm dia block

for some reason he decided to brush away the dust off the bed -by luck the cutter just machined off his finger nail.
 

screwpainting

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Picked my elu flip saw which was in rip mode to carry it a couple of feet. Grabbed it by the sides sort of hugging it, as you do.. my hand hit the green button and it started, as it was still plugged in!!!. How I wasn't eviscerated I will never know. I got not a scratch but was very badly shaken and didn't do any more that day.
 

Lorenzl

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That reminds me @screwpainting . At one of my jobs we had a mitre saw for aluminium and a guy was using it and the casting at the back broke. He was standing there holding the arm with the blade spinning at high speed unable to get the the power switch. Luckily somebody was passing and turned off the isolator on the wall.
 

Keith 66

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I fell off a staging round a boat back in 82, It was only about 3ft off the ground, busted left arm & still paying for it with advanced osteo arthritis.
Angle grinders, had a few close shaves with these, usually through inattention, along with chainsaws i consider them the most lethal tools.
Saw the aftermath of an accident at the boatyard, Guy using a 9" grinder fitted with cutting discs that were not rated for the speed of the machine, he was cutting scupper holes in the side of a ferro cement boat, Disc burst & a third of the disc hit him in the ribs sliding between two of them & puncturing his lung. Lot of claret but he survived.
Launching a 4 ton yacht at the club, boat on its trolley starts to run away on a slight slope after the tractor towing it. Bloke grabs an 8x2" wood block & places it under the wheel with his fingers underneath. Fork lift truck wheels are quite hard & the load was very heavy. He jumped about a lot once his fingers were prised loose!
 

Ttrees

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Second time in a year touching the grinding wheel.
This time I wasn't in a rush to get the noise made before dark.
First was hogging off hot metal, and I had it coming,no proper vice grips, just using cheapie useless one. £3.50 whattya expect lol.

The second was grinding a wee chainsaw file, briskly but not rushed, along with an absent toolrest. that's a recipe for at least a graze for sure, since something like that will wear a troff in
the wheel fairly lively.

Tom
 
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eribaMotters

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Three spring to mind, in order of them happening.
- In need of a new spring for my pillar drill I sourced a length of spring steel. I cut it to length, guillotined it to width, annealed and bent over the ends before re-tempering. All went well until it decided to unwind when fitting it and my finger got in the way. It took 4 hrs to stop bleeding.
- cutting wheels on a bandsaw for a student in an after school club I put my finger into the blade. Again 4hrs to stop the bleeding by which time I was in A&E and they decided to have a little look and it all started again.
- finger hit with mallet when "adjusting" a door for fit. By the time I'd ran 120 feet up the garden back to the house it had doubled in size. My finger went black and looking back I was lucky not to loose it. I should have gone to A&E as it never returned to size and still does not feel correct.
I count myself lucky as others have not faired so well

Colin
 

EvaBeaver

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I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes starting a fire. Back in the 70s when I was a youngster I used to help out the foresters in the holidays for some extra cash. The usual method of starting a fire in the woods back then was an old tyre with 1/4 gallon of petrol poured inside and then laid on the ground. You then struck a match and immediately tossed the still igniting match straight into the tyre and off you go- instant fire. Obviously you have to be fairly accurate with the match toss and as I found out, tossing it in from about 18 inches is not the best thing to do.. mum was not best pleased.
 

DBC

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Well I started off building timber frame houses in NZ before the age of nail guns. We used to hit in hundreds and hundreds of 4 inch nails every day; back then you could tell who the builders were because they had one big muscular arm and one skinnier arm. For the first sixth months at least I usually had 2 or 3 bright purple fingernails on my left hand from missing nails. But as far as more serious accidents go I made the same mistake twice.

When I was 18 i missed my hammer loop and chipped an enamel bath when fitting a glass screen. Not able to learn from that I missed it again a year later when flashing a roof and it fell a couple of metres onto my mate Pauls’s head. Loads of flowing blood but there was no taking Smithy to A&E during work hours. He carried on working all day with a big bloody bandage over his head and the back of his shirt all soaked in blood. His girlfriend took him to hospital after work and he got a strip shaved out of his mullet (it was the 80s) and 10 stitches. Still feel bad about it.
 
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TomB

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About ten years ago I had to dismantle an old cast iron BT kiosk that was held together with brass bolts. With no spanner large enough to fit the bolt heads I thought I’d just knock them off with a cold chisel. My colleague handed me the chisel bit from the SDS max breaker drill we had just been using thinking the brass wouldn’t take much persuading. At the first strike with a lump hammer the top of the chisel shattered and a shard of it remains lodged in my bicep to this day along with a bit of the shirt I was wearing at the time.

The closest near miss I’ve had was cutting up a tree which had fallen awkwardly down a very steep bank above a cliff edge. I was with my dad and we’d not been getting on that well at the time. As I started to make the first cut my dad shouted that he though it might roll towards me if I carried on as I was but I basically dismissed what he said out of hand. I don’t know why now but maybe partly because I was pis***d off with him, partly because I thought I knew what I was doing and he didn’t and partly because I was young caught up in the moment. Who knows, but he was right and the tree did roll towards me, detached from the root ball, slid down the bank and off the cliff. It missed me by a whisker as I scrambled out of the way.
I don’t think I would have survived had the tree connected on it’s way past. I still cringe when I think about the stupidity of it now and the look on my dad’s face after it happened will be burned into my memory forever!
 

macca

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a few spring to mind but ill try and bestow some foolishly obtained wisdom on some relatively easy mistakes to make, firstly a near miss I've hand a couple of times, don't wear gloves when driving screws, nearly broken a couple of fingers, when (not if) the screw grabs the fingers of the glove it will either rip the the finger off the glove or potentially try and wrap your finger around the screw, fortunately for me the gloves ripped.

the most recent severe injury was a festool domino, along the common theme of this thread i was in a rush to get some carcasses knocked up for an upcoming job, i was domino-ing the sides/tops of the carcasses, in my haste i missed a mortice in the face of one of the carcasses pieces, unit half dry fitted and said peice stood up i proceeded to plunge the domino into the piece. now, the unit was as i said half assembled at this point so obviously i held the workpeice with one hand to steady it whilst cutting the mortice, crucially, the domino was set up for morticing into the edge of the sheet goods, roughly 10mm deeper than the thickness of the sheets. needless to say my finger was positioned just the other side and I ended up dominoing the tip of my finger. it felt like a decent electric shock, i guess it was vibration of milling my finger, couple of stiff cups of tea and holding my hand in the air for a few hours stopped the bleeding enough to dress the wound. It was definitely an a&e job but like many I avoid hospital like the plague. To this day theres nerve damage I can feel typing this, it was about 6 months before I could type with my middle finger and cold weather brings pain.

There are many others, first and second fix nail guns, (1st fix hit the bone 😣) I guess I'm part careless part hasty but I chose the domino for one reason, I now systematically cut all shallow mortices, holes slots etc first for anything with a variation in depth setting, and the deeper mating part second and always double check and sometime even verbally confirm it to myself. hopefully someone will adopt this rule and save themselves the risk, I lost the corner of my finger (it grew back luckily) and I consider it a near miss compared to what could have been lost.
 

Stigmorgan

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So many to choose from but the 2 that spring to mind the most clearly...
Back when I was new to working on building sites I was told to go cut a steel beam in half that had been delivered and placed across a skip, I got the petrol saw and climbed into the skip and started cutting, as I cut through the beam the overhanging ends began to drop and the middle where I was cutting started to rise up, I finished the cut and all went smoothly, just as I hit the kill switch I turned and slipped on some rubbish in the skip, I dropped the saw with the very hot blad still spinning, it went through my work trousers and hit my skin just above the knee, luckily for me it left me with a shallow burn in the flesh but oh boy did it scare me, could easily have lost the leg.
Back around 2016 I was still working construction but had moved on to working on London underground, this was 12hour night shifts in the tunnels and was exhausting work, on the way home one day I could feel and hear that my motorcycle chain was slack so when I got home, about 4hours after leaving home the previous evening, I decided to clean and tension the chain, my way to do this was to put the bike up on the rear paddock stand and put the bike in first gear so that the wheel was spinning, then spray the chain with WD40 to clean it then lubricate it, between these two steps I would use a rag to dry the WD40 off, this time I was half asleep and didn't notice that my hand was getting too close to the rear sprocket and got bitten, next thing I'm looking down at a cross section of my right index finger as the sprocket and chain ripped the top section off at the joint.
16514477951526605367538619344921.jpg

I have a few photos of the injury when it was fresh and during the healing process to remind me of my stupidity. The surgery was performed under a local anaesthetic and was interesting to watch but the pain afterward was extreme.
 

Bingy man

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So many to choose from but the 2 that spring to mind the most clearly...
Back when I was new to working on building sites I was told to go cut a steel beam in half that had been delivered and placed across a skip, I got the petrol saw and climbed into the skip and started cutting, as I cut through the beam the overhanging ends began to drop and the middle where I was cutting started to rise up, I finished the cut and all went smoothly, just as I hit the kill switch I turned and slipped on some rubbish in the skip, I dropped the saw with the very hot blad still spinning, it went through my work trousers and hit my skin just above the knee, luckily for me it left me with a shallow burn in the flesh but oh boy did it scare me, could easily have lost the leg.
Back around 2016 I was still working construction but had moved on to working on London underground, this was 12hour night shifts in the tunnels and was exhausting work, on the way home one day I could feel and hear that my motorcycle chain was slack so when I got home, about 4hours after leaving home the previous evening, I decided to clean and tension the chain, my way to do this was to put the bike up on the rear paddock stand and put the bike in first gear so that the wheel was spinning, then spray the chain with WD40 to clean it then lubricate it, between these two steps I would use a rag to dry the WD40 off, this time I was half asleep and didn't notice that my hand was getting too close to the rear sprocket and got bitten, next thing I'm looking down at a cross section of my right index finger as the sprocket and chain ripped the top section off at the joint.
View attachment 134930
I have a few photos of the injury when it was fresh and during the healing process to remind me of my stupidity. The surgery was performed under a local anaesthetic and was interesting to watch but the pain afterward was extreme.
Ouch!! This is my point exactly- of all the posts to this thread yours will probably stand out more - simply because of the picture which “is in no way gruesome “ but acts as a visual reminder of just how easy it is to make a mistake. I’m in no way asking for pictures of missing limbs or lots of blood and gore -simply saying that a picture paints a thousand words. like most if not all of these posts it certainly could of been a lot worse
 

DBC

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Wow. What a story Stig.

Bingy man is right about images. They stick with you. When I started my apprenticeship in the 80s I had to watch the infamous ‘safety film’ on my first block course at polytech about 9 months into my time: infamous because the other guys at work had warned me about it. I remember; man kangos own foot, man looks up as length of 4x2 falls off upper floor and lands end on into his face and guy gets impaled after falling off scaffold. These images are still with me and I saw this film 35 years ago. The reason I only remember these three is because I stopped watching after a while and just focused on the back of the guys head in front of me. Talk about being scared straight. The film was very gory and graphic in its special effects and none of us were even old enough to have even got into an R 18 movie yet.

I might stop reading this thread. Its making me too uncomfortable.
 

HamsterJam

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My eldest lad thought he’d be helpful and cut the hedge while we were out.
it’s a tall hedge, needing a platform to reach the top. He slipped, dropped the electric hedge clippers and instinctively caught them…..

by the blade 😱

Thankfully the clippers in question have a brake and stop in less than a second so he only suffered a deep cut in the very tip of a finger.
 

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