Index Home About Blog
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.metalworking
Subject: Re: Stupid Human Tricks
From: (Grant Erwin)
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 1995 20:15:46 GMT

Well, after reading this thread awhile, I thought I'd throw in a few
of my old shipyard stories. I'm going to skip the old Seattle-shipyard
legends and just post the ones I saw myself.

First off was the time I spent all day welding with a hairline crack
in my welding lens. I woke up at 2AM screaming in pain from the worst
flash burn ever.

Next .. there was this fishing boat that had hit a rock and it had put
a big wobble in the keel. This type of boat has a keel plate that's
vertical, 2" thick, and about 24" wide, at least along the after part
of the boat. We had cut out a nice C-shaped piece about 14' long x 1'
wide by 2" thick, and fabricated a nice straight piece to weld in its
place. So they let this shipfitter put the thing in place. Well, the
boat was up on blocks on a drydock, about 2' off the deck at its lowest
point. The guy tacked up padeyes on either side of the keel, and put
chainfalls on them, and hooked up the piece, and got it roughly vertical,
and then started raising it into place. Well, to get comfortable, he
scooted in and was sitting with his *legs under the piece* and was working
the chain by hand. His tack broke on one padeye, which overstressed the
tack on the next, which ... he lost both legs at the knee.

Next .. they fired up a 100 kW AM radio station about 150 yards from 
Todd Shipyards. The first lucky rigger to grab a hook on a cable hanging
down about 100 feet from a huge shipyard crane took a direct arc of 
immense proportion. He now has a hook.

Next .. anyone who works ship repair knows about sealed up steel tanks
that have a little water in them. The steel gets oxidized by the water
and that pulls most of the usable oxygen out of the air. This is a
condition called "dead air". A couple of pipefitters were tasked with
opening such a tank and blowing it out for an hour or so to refresh the
air. Well, they got the hatch off and then the lunch whistle blew. One
guy scooted around right next to the hole, and dropped his wallet down
in the tank. Faced with no money to buy lunch, he held his breath and
started down the ladder. He dropped like a rock. His buddy, seeing this,
went in after him. They both died.

One more from my personal set: I once jumped off a 4' ledge with a 100 lb.
toolbag over one shoulder. I didn't get up on my feet again for six weeks.
Still feel that one in bad weather.

Oh, by the way just the other day I caught a linoleum knife in a grinding
wheel, and had it flung violently into my face. I have a really FU'ed 
face shield that paid for itself in spades that day. 

Wanna become a safety nerd? Try eleven years in the shipyards around a
bunch of guys dumber than stumps. After awhile, you BELIEVE.

Then there was the time when I was a laborer and bent over to sweep up
a pile of trash under an engine room ladder, just when a guy above was
welding let loose a big glob of red hot slag which went right down the
crack of my a**. Three tiny 3rd degree burns. For three months I had to
go to work early, go to the infirmary, drop trou and bend over to get
rebandaged. How embare-assing.

Gosh, this is fun.

Grant Erwin                     | Senior Member, Technical Staff
Cascade Design Automation Corp. | Internet:
3650 131st Ave SE, Suite 650    | TEL:       (206)-649-7613
Bellevue, WA  98006             | FAX:       (206)-649-7600

Index Home About Blog