I am lost for an explanation of why our Draftsman had a tie on and running a belt sander, other than, you'd never see him without his tie even on his days off at the grocery store, he had a tie on! And, as part of the employment agreement, we all had to sign a contract about shop safety,which included a statement about not wearing "ties or any loose clothing" on the shop floor. During the normal work week, he always took his tie off when he had to come out onto the shop floor. I'm not sure if he felt that because, I (his junior), was the only other person there that he could get away with it. I just know that I had forewarned him about it.
And your right about complacency, it becomes extremely dangerous when you become too comfortable with your surroundings and the equipment you work with everyday. It's just about the time, your feeling relaxed and at ease with what your doing, is about the time that the machine will reach out and bite you like a Pitt Bull. And if your lucky, it might just nip your ankle or other times it might try for your throat as this belt sander did!
The tie story is a good example of not respecting the shop environment. Another danger comes from familiarity. If you're around machines every day, you can forget to respect danger. I spent some time in a shop running a metal lathe and a wood lathe. You can get very cavalier when you're running these machines all-day, every-day. I had to constantly remind myself I was working with dangerous machinery.
Wearing a tie in a machine shop is about the dumbest possible safety violation that I have heard of. I would ask why a draftsman was wearing a tie on a Saturday, anyway, because that sounds more than a bit "off". Our compromise about ties was to rotate it around so that it hung down our backs, under our shopcoats. During the week I did need to visit the shop and that was our means to stay safer.
Of course, before anybody was ever allowed to even clean a machine, it was the rule that they had to have the hazards of that machine explained to them, and they had to understand the explanation. So I did tell people that the lathe could grab their sleeve and rip their arm off and never even slow down, as a start of the safety talk. The result being that we did not have any machine accidents resulting in injuries in that shop. So my guess is that the more graphic explanation was remembered and not ignored.
As sad as this story is, it's unfortunate that negligence is part of human nature. This story caused me to reflect back years ago, while still in High School, I worked in a commercial cabinet shop. On the weekends employees were allowed to go in and make their own cabinets. I was in the shop one Saturday along with our Draftsman,(a shirt and tie man), working on our own projects, when I noticed the Draftsman was wearing a white shirt and tie and using a 3-1/2"(industrial size) belt sander with a 36 grit belt. I stopped him and told him to remove his tie if he was going to use the belt sander. He said he would, so I went back to what I was doing and not even 5 minutes later, I heard this Blood Curdling scream! I ran back to where he was and found the sander climbing up his chest by ways of his tie. I immediately unplugged the sander, cut the remainder of his tie and asked him to leave pending the out-come of the accident report. This poor guy's chest looked like hamburger after that #36 belt got a hold of his tie. Now, common sense would tell you that a neck tie and belt sanders don't mix and that, "of all people, he should know better", But.... He was just seconds away from being eaten alive, killed by this sander.
Part of the out-come of the accident report was no more weekend projects because of him. All Because of Negligence.
This story might be another example of the "I can beat it" mentality that is seen in the manufacturing industry. While there is no proof that the spotter was going for the loose cable, it appears to be likely that he was and was caught on the way by the tractor. The spotter surely thought that he was doing the right thing by allowing the tractor to move while he was in the way, but in the end, he wasn't. Machinery moves fast and everything is always going fine right until you get pinched.
It seems to me that a big factor likely was lack of training for the temp. Just speculation, but perhaps the spotter tried to clear the cable, not realizing he was stepping into a blind spot (due to the lack of training). He may have even signaled ALL STOP, but was already out of view of the driver.
I agree with the previous comments that the driver should not move if he can't see the spotter. If that's not part of the safety protocol/training, it should be.
Perhaps better than extra mirrors or cameras, would be a more open specialty yard tractor, that perhaps looks more like the tractors used to move jets at the airport gates; something that does not have blind spots in the first place.
There seems to be blame all around. Did the "temp" have adequate training to perform the job? I agree with William and TJ's remarks too. The spotter gave an "all clear" so the driver went ahead with the hook up. There should have been a policy of not moving unless the spotter was in view. The spotter may have not been adequately trained to know to never move into the path of the driver even though common sense would say otherwise. Also, it sounds like they were in a rush to get trailers loaded and that will also cause a lapse of judgement sometimes too.
It just proves that safety training and procedures should be performed and followed at all times. If someone is not properly trained for a job then they should not be put into that job.
Having many years of experience working in yards, mines, quarries and so forth, the majority of blame in this incident lies with the operator. No matter if one is operating a yard tractor, crane or whatever, when one has a "spotter", the operators focus is to be on the spotter as the spotter is to have sole control of the movement, the operator is only there to do what he/she is told to do by the spotter. The vast majority of accidents involving an operator/spotter situation happen only because the operator does not remain focused on the spotter. CC video and other gadgets are of some value when the operator is working alone but when working with a spotter they're more than likely going to result in more accidents because they're just another excuse for the operator to not remain focused on the spotter. The only action the operator should take without being directed by the spotter is ALL-STOP and all-stop is mandatory anytime positive contact with the spotter is lost.
Benmlee2 has a point. The driver is blind to certain spots. The spotter knows where he or she is. The sign-off for clear and safe movement should be on the person with the greatest line of sight. A simple rule banning any movement of the truck without an all clear from the spotter would be effective.
The driver is the captain of the rig. Fair enough. However, spotter is there and is being paid because driver can't see. Driver depends completely on the spotter. Just like harbor boats guide the container ship to dock. Responsibility is transfered to the spotter.
If the spotter say is clear, that is final. Not sure why the driver got the blame also. If the spotter said is clear, and for whatever reason steps into the path of the truck, can't really blame the driver. There is no way the driver would know.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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