Death by lathe .
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  1. #1
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    Default Death by lathe .

    I have just returned to work after being off for 6 months due to a health problem.
    when I returned I was told I was not allowed to run the shops lathes that I have ran for the past 26 years .
    I work for a large packaging company that has many locations through out the US and world .
    I was told that at one of our other plants that some one got pulled into a lathe and killed .
    what little I was told about the accident was that the person was using a long strip of cloth type sand paper { a major company safty violation} that wrapped up and he was wearing a loose long sleeve shirt that also hung up and pulled him in .
    The cause of death was called an internal decapitation.
    This person was repremaned the day before for the exact same saftey violation.
    This is basicly what I was able to find out .
    I am the lead man in the maintenance shop and went to a Jr collage to learn machining skills , the problem that I see in my shop is that the company allows any maintenance person to just go up to a machine tool and start running it weather they have any training or not .
    I have brought this up many times , when i returned to work from being off I also found that the surface gringing wheel was blown up and just abought every cutter on the lathe and mill were destroyed .
    I will not be allowed to run the lathe again untill we have chuck guards with electrical interlocks installed .
    This really pisses me off because i do a large majority of my work up close to the chuck .
    I was also taught in my classes that if you must polish a work pice with sand paper that to use short pices and to hold them with two fingers so they will be pulled out of your fingers if it wraps up.
    I am frustreated with this because now I am watching my work being sent out to a locat machine shop.

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    One of the most gruesome post-accident pictures I've ever seen was a man's clothes wrapped around a lathe workpiece and what looked like hamburger meat splattered all over the backsplash. That image is burned in my head, and I think of it often. A lathe is no joke. I'm speaking from experience, being down to just 9 digits on my hands these days. Don't be too bummed out. Your employer is looking out for you. Your work might take a bit longer after the new interlocked guard is installed, and paper towels and glass cleaner will be a regular feature next to the lathe now.

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    I used my chuckguard for a while on a new 21 x 80 Colchester. a genuine PIA. I discontinued it's use. I am owner/operator. I was contracted to a large ind. plant in main. I too watched too many dimwit plant hands just destroy 1'' bandsaw blades, drills, perishable waste waaaaay too soon. so the big boss dimwits put restrictions on all to cover the tail of maint. dimwits. i do not let sensationalism affect my attention for safety, such as photos and films. one does need to have the senseability's to always be prepared for mr. murphy, he is always there waiting for the opportunity to arise to totally ruin your day. saw an experienced millwright/machinist let 4 fingers go between the surface grinder wheel and the part. in a nano second he was missing 4 fingernails. amazingly they grew back pretty good.

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    I am sorry to hear any time someone gets killed in a shop .
    Your employer will no doubt go through insurance and OSHA hell as this incident gets investigated. To survive they will need to be hyper reactive to safety . No amount of guards or safety switches will override stupidity , especially if the person has been warned before of an unsafe practice .
    Perhaps in time , their attitude will moderate . I agree with the employer that a casual user of a machine tool is riskier than a person who runs the same machine on a daily basis . My CNC lathe is the last machine I will train and allow a new employee to run . The dangers are just so great . The long strip of emery clothe pulling into the work is a familiar scenario to most older lathe hands . If your lucky , you will just get a nice cut on your finger as it saws through your skin - lesson learned !
    I still see chuck keys plugged into a chuck as the machine sits idle .
    And this in shops that the operators should know better .

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    Honest hop- please don't take this the wrong way, but how old are you? I'm interested to know only to help me understand your viewpoint better.

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    My condolences to the guy's family. Don't use a long strip of emery cloth. If you must hold emery cloth hold it with your fingers pointing towards the chuck not towards the work and don't get too near.

    One place I worked had a series of what looked like giant wood nutcrackers with several holes of a different sizes in them. You put the nut crackers on the work with the emery trapped in place in the holes and then very carefully switched on the lathe.

    You could apply plenty of pressure with the nutcrackers and it was safe to use.

    Wherever I've gone I've made a pair for my own use.

    Similar to using a sweeping brush handle with a slot in to hold the emery when polishing bores.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Looks like the bucket was kicked your way while your back was turned so that now the kicker can say he has reacted to the threat. Quite understandable in a way, he has to watch his backside.
    I dont't see your professional honor has suffered as you were in no way involved in the accident.
    How about writing up a list of all the precautions you have taken to avoid accidents, and what you want done securitywise? And I think you just have to accept chuck guards etcetera even though you yourself is so experienced and security conscious you find these things superfluous and a PIYA.
    I think I myself would be pissed off in your situation but I hope I would be able to swallow my pride.
    Just my .02 $
    fusker
    Last edited by fusker; 01-24-2016 at 11:17 AM. Reason: Speling errors

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    That was a terrible and horrific accident. Even without seeing the picture I know the exactly the shop death your explaining. The man's name was David, and it was down in Louisiana. I would say he was a friend of mine. I meet him in the early 1990's in North-Carolina as he and his wife just moved here from Baton Rouge I believe. I believe he was in his 30's back then. And was a real good lathe man at that time. Started a small shop around 1990 here in NC that grew into a large shop doing plant maintenance style machining, big lathe- and fabrication work and grew his one man operation into a few million dollar a year successful corporation with about 20 employees. Unfortunately by the late 1990's early 2000 he fell on serous hard times, both business and personally went through a divorce and ended up moving back to Baton Rouge to start over. I lost touch with him after that but I did hear that he got a job in a big machine shop and was starting to do well again and getting his life together. I could not believe when I heard the tragic news, that night a few days before Christmas as he was working over time trying to make some extra cash to buy presents for his kids. He always loved his children. I believe David was around his mid 50's by then. Here is a guy that been primarily a lathe Machinist since he was 18-yrs old. A novice by no means. Terrible-terrible tragedy. Rest in Peace and God-speed my friend.

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    Well ... after reading all the above it comes as a vivid reminder not to cut corners ... not even for a SECOND! ...

    I've been so near but never been bitten yet and as long as these snippets come up I hope I (or YOU) .. will not fall foul of machinery!

    Thanks for posting a vivid reminder to us all!

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    Seems to me that the biggest danger in your shop is allowing untrained people to just walk up to a machine and use it.

    In your place I would write up a summary of the bad shop practices that you have seen. I would add some sensible suggestions for safety. I would also add a section about the additional dangers involved in trying to work around that "safety shield" they are going to install.

    Put it in writing and ON PAPER. If you need help with that, I am sure some here can help.

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  17. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
    Honest hop- please don't take this the wrong way, but how old are you? I'm interested to know only to help me understand your viewpoint better.
    Im 53 years old , and please don't get me wrong , I have no problem with guards , it only took once getting my fingers smacked with a chuck jaw to learn not to put my hands near them.

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    I think about the possibility of one of these tragedies every time I walk up to an engine lathe. Or a drill press. Or a pedestal grinders. Or a surface grinders. Be safe everyone...

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    I am also in the CNC repair trade. One previous shop I did not have to see The accident scene as I happened to be on the other side of the country doing some training. We got the call from the other Maintenace guys that one of the works had a lathe accident. The operator was doing just as you described. A long strip of emery cloth. It pulled here in. The work piece was a shaft with feet welded to the end. Check the other operator looked over the operator was laying face down into The conveyor area he ran and E stopped the lathe. She lived but had several teeth knocked out and half her hair pulled out. After that the state forced us to reinstall the door interlocks. Gu ess how long that lasted?
    I have worked at many companies where no training requirement was need for anything. Including doing commercial electrical un licenced and un permitted. Operating heavy machinery and man lifts with no tearing or test. Running the machinery etc.

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    I don't remember who but a member here suggested a method of using abrasive cloth that I thought brilliant. Attach by staples or glue the strip to one of the wooden paint stirrers that are sometimes free at the paint stores. It keeps it flat and is easily renewed.

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    No need to hold emery cloth when polishing a shaft or journal.

    And the lathe feed does the work.

    Sucks up the dust also!

    Better finish than holding strips in your fingers.

    Easy as pie!






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    Very neat but there will always be an occasion when you need to hold the emery in your hand or hands. Polishing complex shapes etc.


    Regards Tyrone.

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    Emery hasn't been imported or used in significant quantities in the United States for over a 100 years.

    Just sayin'

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpinjimmy447 View Post
    ......
    when I returned I was told I was not allowed to run the shops lathes that I have ran for the past 26 years .......
    .......
    I am the lead man in the maintenance shop and went to a Jr collage to learn machining skills , the problem that I see in my shop is that the company allows any maintenance person to just go up to a machine tool and start running it weather they have any training or not .
    So I'd guess or hope that all these maintenance persons are not allowed to use the machines now?

    Quote Originally Posted by jumpinjimmy447 View Post
    This really pisses me off because i do a large majority of my work up close to the chuck .
    I was also taught in my classes that if you must polish a work pice with sand paper that to use short pices and to hold them with two fingers so they will be pulled out of your fingers if it wraps up.
    I am frustreated with this because now I am watching my work being sent out to a locat machine shop.
    You were taught to hand sand parts on a lathe to get a better finish or bring in a dimension?
    Hand working close to the chuck? Your teacher should have his nuts tacked to a telephone pole and then be pushed over sideways.
    I realize this gets done and admit to doing it myself out of stupidity. It is a gamble, a roll of the dice.
    You can polish the finish by hand out of the machine. Works just fine.
    Teaching hand sanding in a lathe or accepting it as part of a process is crazy. Someone will get hurt eventually it's only a matter of time.
    There is not much worse than your employee walking into your office dripping blood from a rag wrapped around his/her body parts saying "I think I need to go to the hospital".

    It certainly takes more time to do it on the safe side. Often this results in frustrating rules or safeties
    To most it would seem that you just use some common sense or have some training.
    How many among us have not done something that common sense would say "No, no, no.... do not do that.". ?
    Yet we do it thinking "I'll be ok". Hence rules, lockouts, safeties that make it take longer.
    I'm right with you on shortcuts and "get'er done"..... I've also seen too much of the inside of people's body parts.

    Yes, I would outsource this if my lead man continued to think this ok to do but saw it as a training/experience problem.
    Takes longer, slows you down, costs more....How much would saving one person's life be worth in real dollars?
    How about just a fingertip or a hand?
    Hand work a part on a machine tool and buy yourself a lottery ticket.

    Work by yourself and risk what you want.
    Have employees and part of your job is to restrict them from doing things that 99.999% of the time work out.
    It's that 0.001% that you will regret forever.
    Bob

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    Now what is wrong with the long strip of emery cloth?
    Hold the ends between the fingertips and if the strip binds the ends will be torn right out of between the fingertips.
    What can happen?

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    The correct way to use Emory cloth is to hold it on a file. No loose emory ever. It's an irritating pain in the butt but saves your fingers. I have a shop built guard over my chuck that I use 95% of the time. Keeps coolant and chips contained instead off all over my shop. Also do lots of polishing by hand. Not the greatest idea I know.
    Jordy


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