Your worst accident or near miss

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Ozi

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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..
Those things scare me too. I have never understood why they fit a trigger lock, would like to remove the one on mine but modifying something without understanding why it's there sounds like a way to end up on this page.
 

Ozi

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Building a shed last year, needed to fit a 6m length of 4" x 2" at the roof line, because of the slope in the ground this means being up a ladder. Should have waited for my friend to get back from the builders merchants but no clever boy can do two man job on his own. Screwed an off-cut to the far end post at a bit of an angle and lifted one end of the wood onto it. climbed the ladder with the other end plus screws and Makita, pushed the far from straight beam against the post and just started to screw it in place when it sprang off the other end. I'm not the most coordinated of people but managed to drop the drill jump up on the ladder and throw the beam away from me so that it fell between me and the ladder then land back on the rung I had been standing on.

Sounds great but the far end of the beam hit the floor just as I was letting go with a lot of spring energy and bent my thumb back to the point where my thumb nail dug into the back of my hand cracking bone on both sides of the lower knuckle. So nearly lost my thumb, the joint still hurts if I try to open tight lids etc. Stupidity is it's own reward.
 

GweithdyDU

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Oh, hec, so many over 45 yrs+. Perhaps one of the daftest was cutting my belly open with an angle grinder. I was holding a piece of chain against a vertical surface to cut it with said grinder. It kicked and went straight through the T-shirt I was wearing and removed skin etc leaving a deep wound and nothing to stich back together. If I'd have seen anyone else doing that I'd lecture them for ages about how stupid it was. Just a rush moment with no brain engagement.

Oxy Acetylene welding without gloves and drawing the torch across my free hand was a bit stupid as well. That REALLY hurt and involved a drive to A&E with a wet cloth wrapped around my hand that I stuck out of the window every few moments to re-cool the water.

Working on a car engine in a workshop when the battery exploded scared me very much but I managed to stumble with my eyes shut tight to the sink in the corner and rinsed rinsed rinsed, no damage to eyes or scarring thankfully.

I've learnt not to hold steel in one hand and use a hacksaw with another and remember that every time I bend my left thumb as I have permanent stinging pain in it. That did take two lessons to learn though!!

However, I do learn form other's mistakes as well. I have a friend who was holding a fencepost with a sacrificial offcut nailed to the top of it, while his mate stood in the back of a pick-up whacking it in with a sledge. Yep, you've guessed it. A very serious head injury from a glancing blow was the result. He's fine but never quite the same afterwards. I have made a tool for holding posts while being whacked that keep them at a greater distance than an arm and hammer handle make up.
 

Kittyhawk

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Two incidents, one happened to me, one to someone else.
I have a huge Hitachi drill at home, a real beast of a machine about 2 foot long. It has a spade type handle on the end that can swivel around and a bar in the centre of the drill for extra grip. It has tremendous torque and the motor is geared down to 350rpm at the chuck. When you let go the trigger it takes about 8 -10 seconds before it stops turning.
A mate of mine who had an engineering shop gave it to me. He came round in some distress and said - do you want this drill? You do. I know you do.. take it, take it now..
Some time later I heard the story.
He had a sheet of heavy steel on the floor of his shop and was drilling holes in it with the Hitachi -standing upright, legs wide and pushing hard down on the drill. Well the bit caught in the hole and he lost his grip on the machine which started rotating and it became entangled in the crotch of his overalls and wound it up like a corkscrew and unfortunately his manly equipment was also involved. As he later said, it darned well nearly tore his nuts off. One tries to sympathise but sometimes its just so hard..

My mishap happened whilst welding on a steel boat hull. Above all the other smells associated with hot work I got a whiff of something burning. I looked around and couldnt see anything but then my wife yelled that my butt was on fire. We had wet sacking to protect other parts of the boats structure so she was able to beat it out with one. She said it gave her no pleasure but... I dunnno. She certainly showed a lot of enthusiasm with the sack.
And what I learned from that is cotton overalls only when welding, not polyester.
 

Bingy man

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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.
It’s quite understandable but if nothing else it shows just how many of us at some point have let our guards down and had serious accidents with potential life changing injuries or know of someone who has done similar. Rushing, shortcut’s, insufficient or no risk assessment etc lead eventually to pain and the inevitable injury and tbh it’s down to Lady Luck if the injury is serious or just a cut or bruise- stay safe - the project or job will still be there tomorrow.
 

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Stigmorgan

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It’s quite understandable but if nothing else it shows just how many of us at some point have let our guards down and had serious accidents with potential life changing injuries or know of someone who has done similar. Rushing, shortcut’s, insufficient or no risk assessment etc lead eventually to pain and the inevitable injury and tbh it’s down to Lady Luck if the injury is serious or just a cut or bruise- stay safe - the project or job will still be there tomorrow.
Holy $h1t that video is bad and reminds me of an incident while on a job in Southend, we were building new blocks at a college campus near the main highstreet, we needed to expose the main HV cable so that a connection could be made by the power company so I sent a labourer down with nothing more than in insulated shovel with the instruction to dig down and find the cable then come get me, about an hour later all the power went out, turns out the silly person dug down and hit concrete (the protective cap over the cable) so decided instead of coming to get me he would go get a breaker and break through the concrete, the point went straight through the HV cable, we found him 10feet from the hole in the ground, burns all over his body, most of his clothing was burnt, every hair was gone, he lost his finger tips but survived, the one thing I remember most though, burning human flesh smells like bacon 😳
 

Stan

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About 20 years ago I attended a road accident involving a builders van carrying baulks of timber on a roof rack. These pieces of timber were 8 feet long and about 4 inches square. Unfortunately there was nothing securing them. Somehow, one piece shot backwards and speared itself through the windscreen of the car behind, through the headrest of the front passenger seat and impaled itself into the rear seat. Luckily there was nobody in the back and the front passenger flinched in time...
 

Bingy man

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Holy $h1t that video is bad and reminds me of an incident while on a job in Southend, we were building new blocks at a college campus near the main highstreet, we needed to expose the main HV cable so that a connection could be made by the power company so I sent a labourer down with nothing more than in insulated shovel with the instruction to dig down and find the cable then come get me, about an hour later all the power went out, turns out the silly person dug down and hit concrete (the protective cap over the cable) so decided instead of coming to get me he would go get a breaker and break through the concrete, the point went straight through the HV cable, we found him 10feet from the hole in the ground, burns all over his body, most of his clothing was burnt, every hair was gone, he lost his finger tips but survived, the one thing I remember most though, burning human flesh smells like bacon 😳
Yeh unfortunately the rescue attempt in the video was doomed from the start , soon as his leg is lifted onto the h/cable it’s all over. The guy in your example is ultra lucky to be alive . If I remember my electrical training for b. gas the human body can sense electricity at 20mv and 80 mv is enough to knock your heart out of sink. One of our white goods engineers had a 240vac contact at work, didn’t report it and 1hour later was found slumped over his steering wheel after suffering a heart attack ( I guess he was embarrassed ) at the thought of reporting it and being told off etc . or like many of us would just shrug it off and carry on regardless. The advice we were given after the investigation was after any 240 vac contact was to stop work immediately and contact our line manager and under no circumstances to drive . the manager would then come and take the engineer to the nearest a/e -no waiting in line but straight to the front for immediate treatment-good advice to follow in the event of an electrical contact .
 

TRITON

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My worst came only a couple of weeks after the HSE film i mentioned in Kieth 66's thread. To my defence I was only 15 at the time and we were totally unsupervised, due to the lecturer and technician being in a card school and not actually in the machine room at the time.
I was using a horizontal metal planer(known as a shaping machine). I didnt have a hand brush, so used a finger to brush away the swarf.
Blade goes back- I brush away the chippings.
Blade comes forward- makes more chippings.
Blade goes back I brush away the chippings.
Misjudged it didn't I :LOL:
I was lucky and it only pinched off the top of my index finger, which they pretty much managed to reattach with 24 stitches.
I do consider myself fortunate, it was incredibly stupid, i was young and despite having seen what can happen in full glorious and gory colour only a few weeks previously, managed to have my own industrial accident. In truth I was lucky, it could have pinched off half my hand.

I've since endeavored never to make the same mistake twice, hence the religious accounting of what im doing before i do it.
 

Hpps

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When I was an engineer I was drilling theast hole in the last peice of steel on the drill press.
It was an older machine with an emergency stop that didn't work and the on/off/forward/reverse lever just above head height on the main pillar.
I was wearing the correct safety gear as advised by our health and safety officer, glasses, gloves etc but as it was the last peice and I was eiger to get home, I failed to clamp the peice down properly.
I remember watching as the drill bit (around 25mm) skim across the metal I was holding as it slipped from under the clamp, roll up my glove and grab my overalls sleeve. I briefly thought to myself it would bind up and the drill would jam as the drive belts slip, until I remembered it was direct drive. By this point it had wraped my overall cuff so tight before ripping them open that it had squeezed a sizeable amout of blood through my skin from my wrist. By the time it was up to my elbow I was trying to pull the forward/reverse lever into the stop position, which I managed just in time. The drill then too a few turns until it stopped, by which time it had pulled my in up to my shoulder, by this time renderring the stop leever out of reach.
It was a painful experience which left me with a large dent in my wrist for a few months where the overalls pulled so tight, and now a patch with no feeling in it, but it could have been a lot worse.

And after all that, the emergency stop was never fixed either.
 

Awac

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I remember working in a garage in London and putting a engine into a MGB. It was getting late and the other two said “time to pack up and go“, but I really wanted to get to a stage before doing that so stupidly I said “No, you go, I will be done soon and will lock up” being a Friday they were not in any mood to argue the finer points of H&S (it was a while ago..) and left.

Well any one who has used a spanner will tell you when the open end slips all that force does not just vanish.I was just getting the engine mounts nipped up and it slipped. The heater is controlled by a wire similar to a bicycle wire, my hand slipped up and the wire went straight through my thumb and nail :eek:.

Now imagine the scene. Bent over a wing (fender if you must), wire through my thumb and no one missing me until the morning. I tried to reach the works phone, no chance. I tried to reach the wire cutters, no chance.

Ok I will count to 3 then whip my thumb down. Not as easy as it sounds, kept getting to 2 and stopping. My back is screaming by now. A sneaky little thought came into my head, pretend to pull on 3 but actually go on 2 :unsure:.
Ah-ha, it worked but the whole street must have heard my swearing.

So I find it difficult to look at an MGB without this episode coming into my head….mind you as a kid the rear bonnet on an Hillman Imp slammed down nearly taking the thumb cleanly off (other side, and sewn back on very nicely btw) also brings a memory….what is it with me, thumbs and cars lol.:D
 
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jonn

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The result of routing a piece of wood the wrong way. Finger was infected badly when I slipped on an icy staircase (hence the blue botty), and was amputated in 3 stages. Now I have phantom feelings as I get cramps in the missing finger. Only really positive about it is that I live in Norway, so no costs for hospital. Had to stay in well over one week at one stage because they couldn't fix the infection without drips. Another bonus was very nice nurses 👩‍🔬👩‍🔬
 

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imageel

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3 from me, 1st down to stupidity -
In my early woodworking days I needed a table mounted router but didn't have the funds for one so improvised mounting the router inverted in a B&D workmate and with a makeshift fence started making up some mouldings. I can't remember quite how I managed this but one piece I fed from the wrong end and upon hitting a knot the workpiece shot through the cutter and bounced off the garage wall. Being predominantly left-handed that hand retracted in time, however my right not being so quick and my ring finger went through the cutter taking the nail bed and a piece of bone off too. It was pretty messy both the garage walls and my finger but in the end A&E patched it up and that finger is still operational albeit with a little nerve damage.
2nd time was down to tiredness -
I'd been surface planing a batch of hardwood on a small Kity combination machine and not using push boards.... being tired as I put one piece across the cutters my left ring finger just kissed the cutter block as I started planing the leading edge. It bled profusely but didn't hurt that much and since I live alone I wrapped it up in kitchen towel and drove myself to A&E where they spent a long time removing the many shards of planed nail out of the wound. That too recovered well with only a slight loss of touch!
3rd - I wasn't expecting this...
I was working on a 1st floor extension and was trying to move a full sheet of 18mm shuttering ply that had been laid as a temp floor for the plasterers and had managed to slide it a couple of feet from a wall where it got stuck. To get a better purchase on it I was balancing astride a couple of joists and crouching down with my back against the wall, I gave it a full strength shove when Bang! my right arm felt like I'd had an electric shock, it buzzed from my shoulder down to my finger tips and I was shaking almost uncontrollably.
I went downstairs and made myself a mug of tea and collected my thoughts - in the past I have dislocated both my shoulders due to a congenital defect and the one of the affected arm was always particularly loose and I've lost count the number of times I've dislocated it but it never hurt as much as this did!
Once again I drove myself to the local hospital but decided to go to the triage unit as opposed to the real A&E as this was a Saturday and from past experience those places are like a circus..
The triage nurse took one look at my arm and said 'I know what you've done - you've torn the tendons attaching your biceps to your forearm -you need to got to A&E!!
Long story short their consultant wanted to operate to re-attach it however I sought a 2nd opinion at a sports injury clinic the following week and the guy there said 'to be honest most of the people I see with this sort of injury are body builders who take steroids to build muscle mass, a side effect of which is that it can cause tendons to become brittle so in reality they want it re-attached for cosmetic reasons. The fact is you can get by without it as your body will adjust and at your age (I was ~55 at that time) there are significant risks of operating.'
So I took his advice and after a month or so started getting back to more strenuous work and he was right and now some 5y later I don't even think about it!
 

evildrome

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The starter on my Fobco 7/8 drill press died & I got a new one & used my minimal electrical skills to get it to start from the machine but not to stop.

To stop it you had to switch it off at the wall.

I was drilling some big holes in thick stainless and I was holding the drill press vice (too lazy to bolt it down) and the swarf would occasionally burn my hand so I... put on gloves.

Oh dear.

The swarf caught the glove and pulled me into the drill.

Not all the way, it had tightened up enough to start burning my hand but not enough to swing me around. Yet.

I had to work out if I could reach the wall by moving round the machine, while also not changing the angle my hand was at potentially having my hand ripped off.

It turned out, yes, I could reach the switch.


1651567770313.png



I got left with this small reminder.

I was very, very lucky.
 

Mark Karacsonyi

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An apt post at an apt time. I have never really had a workshop related accident due to being a nerd regarding, HSE and disconnecting machines from power prior to blade changes etc. I had once a router bit shatter, I have a post on this forum somewhere. Otherwise only nicks and splinters.

However, I am recovering from a broken spine at this moment. This is related to helping a relative remove 8’x4’ asbestos sheets from a shed roof. I refused to climb the structure and unscrew the sheets. A 60 year old wooden structure with no scaffolding. I took the first-sheet as it was lowered to me, which crumbled as predicted. As I turned around the second sheet slammed me in the back from sliding down the the roof.

I will never work with shortcut idiots again in my life. Especially if they are family.
 

KingAether

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About a year ago i lit the small propane forge and this one time i just didn't think to check and tighten the hose clamp nuts. A few minutes go by no problem, the metals hot, i step out the shed door to the anvil and hear a whoosh sound- turn around and see that a nut had come loose, propane was spraying out and there was a lot of fire moving towards the propane. It also managed to flame-throw across the door way and blocked me from my fire extinguishers so after trying to reach in and burning my hand I stood there dumbfounded for what felt like forever wondering if i should risk doing something quick and stupid or shut the door and hope for the best (its a solid brick shed) Eventually my brain kicked back in and i managed to use the tongs and a hammer to reach in and turn the valve off. Luckily the flames saw themself out with that.

Aside from that i regularly grind, sand, saw and hammer my fingers but still have all 10 where they should be
 

KingAether

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The result of routing a piece of wood the wrong way. Finger was infected badly when I slipped on an icy staircase (hence the blue botty), and was amputated in 3 stages. Now I have phantom feelings as I get cramps in the missing finger. Only really positive about it is that I live in Norway, so no costs for hospital. Had to stay in well over one week at one stage because they couldn't fix the infection without drips. Another bonus was very nice nurses 👩‍🔬👩‍🔬
Take a look online for phantom limb mirror therapy mate, i cant say anything from experience but studies have shown good results.
It uses a little box with no lid and a mirror in the middle. I believe it works because when you see the limb or appendage in the mirror, your brain assumes its the one it thinks is still there and you can scratch and stretch the finger on the other hand to get rid of the pain or itch.
I hope this helps some
 

Stigmorgan

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Take a look online for phantom limb mirror therapy mate, i cant say anything from experience but studies have shown good results.
It uses a little box with no lid and a mirror in the middle. I believe it works because when you see the limb or appendage in the mirror, your brain assumes its the one it thinks is still there and you can scratch and stretch the finger on the other hand to get rid of the pain or itch.
I hope this helps some
100% agree with this, it works for me with my little bit missing so would work for larger amputations too.
 

TRITON

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The result of routing a piece of wood the wrong way. Finger was infected badly when I slipped on an icy staircase (hence the blue botty), and was amputated in 3 stages. Now I have phantom feelings as I get cramps in the missing finger. Only really positive about it is that I live in Norway, so no costs for hospital. Had to stay in well over one week at one stage because they couldn't fix the infection without drips. Another bonus was very nice nurses 👩‍🔬👩‍🔬
Finger/hand injuries are one thing. But I draw the line at gratuitous bum shots. Totally inappropriate.

:LOL: :LOL:
 
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