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Thread: Bacteria Growth
03-18-2012, 12:41 PM #1
Just wondering if anyone has heard of or experianced what i'm going through right now. On Wed evening right before quitting time i had a TIaLn coated EM break and a small sliver went into my palm. Within 4 hours i found myself sitting in a emergency room waiting room with a extremely swollen hand. 2 hours later i was rushed by ambulance to Thomas Jefferson Hospital for emergency surgery to relieve pressure and clean out bacteria.....The doctors are saying the Bacteria had to of come from the collant that my cheap ass boss never changes,,,, any thoughts on this???
03-18-2012, 12:49 PM #2
If the coolant is "ecological" as they usually are nowadays, it is good place if you happen to be a bacter.
Warm, rich with air and something to eat too (biodegradable = edible for bacteria).
So, nobody to blame except bad luck and maybe a lack of first aid kit (alcohol wipe or desinfectant spray).
When I get small wound like this, standard procedure is washing hands with soap, suck out excessive blood (dont swallow , wash again and use some first aid supplies.
Very small point electronical tweezers may help to dig metal particles out. Sharp needle is also helpful.
A little OT, but it seems that one gets faster response in ER if he is laying at sidewalk dead drunk. Normal people usually have to wait 2-5 hours, no matter if its a metal in palm or broken kneecap.
03-18-2012, 01:34 PM #3
03-18-2012, 02:40 PM #4
A good sign that it's time to change the coolant is when you get a drop in your eye and it burns like hell. Or you have a small cut on a finger and get coolant on it and it burns like hell.
03-18-2012, 02:55 PM #5
I would have to assume that there is always plenty of bacteria, and God knows what else, circulating in a coolant, even soon after a change of coolant. There are just too many filthy hoses and pumps and rough castings around to ever get a contaminated coolant system clean, ever.
Our own skin carries around a vast selection of bacteria, I'm told, and when your skin is penetrated by an object, it is quite likely that some of those get injected in with the sliver. While harmless on the outside, they can become a serious problem when taken inside. So a quick application of disinfectant is a good idea, and being around some nasty old coolant should be a reminder to disinfect quickly. And let the entry site bleed a little bit, too, to help with the flush out.
But, I would imagine that the same emergency could happen to nearly any machinist working around coolants, who gets a deep sliver.
03-18-2012, 03:28 PM #6
Very possible it came from the coolant. Some nasty critters can live in there - which is why coolant includes bactericide, but is depleted with use and time.
03-19-2012, 09:17 AM #7
Usually the bacteria are called anaerobic. Means they can't tolerate AIR, as in, oxygen. We, when I had the larger business, used fish tank bubblers to introduce air into the coolant. We left them on 24/7. No nasty smell from the coolant. Big tanks may need more than one to get the job done.
03-19-2012, 09:49 AM #8
I have a follow-up appt. today for the 2nd infection in my left hand. I get hangnails bad and it doesnt take much to get infected with that nasty coolant. Physicians Asst. told me the same thing, we have staph and other nasty crap on our skin just waiting for an opening, it might not be the coolant. I told him I'd wager the deed to my house against his salary that it was, I'll even pay for the culture test.
The previous company I worked for took care of their coolant like it was liquid gold, even had a supplier come in once a week to test/refill all 25 machines. Didn't stink or infect your digits. The coolant was blue and super-slick, I wish I could find the name of it.
Kinda cool squeezing it and having that nassy puss squirt out like popping a zit, feels much better also!
03-19-2012, 10:37 AM #9
"Pics or it didn't happen." (Sorry, had to be done.)
But seriously, the OP might take this opportunity to try for better "coolant management" with the boss... You can't really wear gloves to protect yourself, without increasing other risks. And splinters are going to happen. Hate to get OSHA involved and all...
03-19-2012, 10:45 AM #10
i've been doin this for quite awhile and seen some very stinky coolant. what you describe is not that common (high speed, high infection reaction) in my world.
theres something special goin on and you need to find out what
03-19-2012, 10:50 AM #11
I guess I will thank the good Lord for a healthy imunity system.
I can't think of ever having such issues.
Maybe it is b/c I am constantly giving it something to fight?
I get more cuts and slivers than Carter ever thought of having in little liver pills.
I am Ox and I approve this h'yah post!
03-19-2012, 10:56 AM #12
I use a 3 tiered approach to keeping the bugs out. Bubblers in all the tanks. A 4' ultraviolet light that I perch over the tanks once a week overnight with the bubblers on for circulation and a ph neutralizer. I use about a tablespoon of Ampho-Mag every 2 weeks in the tanks, mixed with a half gallon of water. That keeps the PH at a point where bugs have a hard time growing, it also keeps the acidity they create down and that makes your tables and parts rust less and cuts dont burn. I also save the water out of my dehumidifiers and use that rather than tap water. I also use hangsterfers s 500 but I think any coolant gets buggy if not maintained.
Metalcutter liked this post
03-19-2012, 10:59 AM #13
I have had to clean out some wrecky coolant over the years and got my fair share of cuts and splinters in the process. Never had that kind of problem. Not saying it isn't the coolant...but also not saying it is.
Good luck with your follow up.
03-19-2012, 06:27 PM #14
Years ago when I worked full time as a machinist I used to cut myself all the time.
We used Oakite MM.
I would put a band-aid or piece of tape on it and go right back to work.
I swore I healed faster immersing my fresh wound in the coolant and grime.
If I tried that nowadays, with my health of late I'd probably end up with necrotizing fasciatum (sp?) commonly known as flesh eating bacteria
03-20-2012, 02:42 AM #15
03-20-2012, 03:01 AM #16
Metalcutter and especially MarkP are dead on, without some kind of a coolant maintenance it will become rotted disease filled toxic waste. I just went through this, took two bubblers on my macturn 250. If the coolants bad you cannot revive it. Dump it, clean your tank, and start fresh. Bubblers are cheap, you only really need to run them during downtime on the machine. Tell your boss it's an tool life and surface finish concern as well as health issue.
03-20-2012, 03:19 AM #17
Some really innovative approaches to keeping the coolant from spontanously generating a new life form ! Seriously though coolant is a pretty darn good medium for growing bacteria. Bubblers I suspect don't kill anerobes they keep the coolant moving avoiding stagnant patches which are more likley to give rise to life. Most bacteria that will begin to munch on us are aerobic such as staph, tetnus, e. coli and so forth. I would be inlined to use the bubblers to keep things moving and maybe finding a disinfectant to kill more in the soup. Fish tank suppliers have UV units that cirulate the fluid past a uv bulb.........benefit dead bacteria, moving coolant and no UV exposure to the eyes.
As far as preventing infection from coolant entering broken skin or being introduced by a splinter or cut, some common sense is called upon. If you have an open wound then cover it well before mucking about in the soup (I know it is a PIA but simpler in the long run). Maybe determine how long the coolant is "good" for and develope a schedule to change when it gets to the nasty point. Finnally attend to wounds as soon as they occur, flush with water or sterile saline (litre bottles avalible at pharmacy) then apply some topical antiseptic. More over keep a close eye on the wound and seek immediate medical attention if it starts to swell, get red or warm to the touch. Most of all get your tetnus jab from your Dr..
03-20-2012, 03:41 AM #18.....The doctors are saying the Bacteria had to of come from the coolant that my cheap ass boss never changes
03-24-2012, 12:58 PM #19
Hopefully you turned this in as a work comp claim, which along with lost time will cost your boss more than a good clean-out would have. Also hopefully you can use this info to convince him to implement a simple coolant management plan which will definitely pay for itself over time. Do not mess around with this type of injury, immediately remove the sliver if possible (if not get to the doctor asap) and using good first aid procedures, clean and disinfect the wound and protect it until it starts to heal over. A good coolant maintenance plan would include mixing with good water (5 grains per gallon hardness or less) using DI or RO systems if needed, tramp oil skimmers or coalescers, concentration control (+ or - 1%), rinsing down the inside of the machine and chip removal every day, and of course regular sump clean-outs before the coolant smells (usually 2 to 4 times per year depending on several factors). This will remove the food sources and create an inhospitable environment for bacteria, fungus and mold. We are surrounded by bacteria at all times, so it's really a matter of population control. Bubblers, chemicals, UV lights, ozone, etc. (although they may help) are just bandaids to an already out of control bacteria problem. One major problem mentioned here is stagnant coolant, whenever a machine is not running for more than a few days, things can start going south very quickly. Turning the coolant on daily (not likely), a coalescer, or a simple Little Giant type circulation pump on a timer can keep the coolant moving. Most coolant companies have coolant maintenance/sump cleaning brochures and training materials available and can also test coolant samples for contaminant levels (contact your coolant rep for proper sampling procedures) for free. Here are a couple sites with some very good info on coolant maintenance and equipment: www.coolantmaintenance.com www.coolantconsultants.com
P.S. That flesh eating bacteria scares the s**t out of me, I don't know if it's getting more prevalent, or it's just great news copy.
Good luck and be careful Edub - keep the chips flying. Guys like you and all on this forum are what keep this country great IMHO!!