Safety tip # 97: Never wear flip flops in the shop

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Blog entry by Eric Vossbrink posted 03-28-2008 10:27 PM 1352 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Ok, they tell you to always wear closed toed shoes when you’re working in the shop. Here in S.D. the weather is too nice to have long jeans, leather shoes, and steel toes. So I went out in shorts, a tank top, and flip flops.

I was mounting my bench grinder on a 12’ work bench I just finished. I had a ratchet on top, and an open end wrench I was using to hold the nut below.

2 maybe 3 things went wrong

#1 – I dropped the wrench on my unprotected big toe. Ouch!

#2 – the wrench then deflected under a glue up table I have stored under the bench making it a 2 step process to retrieve the wrench.

#3 – I moved the table, I bent down, picked up the wrench and I hit the back on my head on the way back up…ouch again.


15 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 11:10 PM

Sounds like you had a bad day. The only cure for this is to spend some additional time in the shop making some sawdust.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Earle Wright's profile

Earle Wright

121 posts in 3747 days

#2 posted 03-28-2008 11:25 PM

I think your injuries qualify you to go shopping for more tools!

-- Earle Wright, Lenoir City, Tennessee

View Splinters's profile


190 posts in 4210 days

#3 posted 03-28-2008 11:26 PM

I think there are some rules which we all must learn the hard way. Glad nothing worse than a couple bumps happened to you. hmm I bet now you at least will wear closed toe shoes when you are in the shop. I agree with Scott go make some sawdust…..

-- Splinters - Living and Loving life in the Rockies - -

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3966 days

#4 posted 03-29-2008 12:15 AM

If you had only been wearing shoes you would have never dropped that wrench and all would have been well with the world. See, they make these rules for a reason. ;-)

-- Working at Woodworking

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 3907 days

#5 posted 03-29-2008 12:19 AM

i agree with earl , poor guy needs a shopping trip after such a horrendous ordeal !! lol

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3771 days

#6 posted 03-29-2008 12:27 AM

Remember Eric. When you drop a chisel, it always lands on the tip. You start cutting off toes, you’ll be falling all over everything. :o)

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4333 days

#7 posted 03-29-2008 12:28 AM

hmm, wonder how this ranked 97th! I think it could be at least 74th!

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Eric Vossbrink's profile

Eric Vossbrink

70 posts in 3777 days

#8 posted 03-29-2008 12:43 AM

It’s sandwiched between

96 “Turn the table saw off and lower the blade before sitting down”


98 “If you can’t find your safety glasses you’re probably wearing them”


View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4015 days

#9 posted 03-29-2008 01:17 AM

Some people have all the luck!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View GMoney's profile


158 posts in 3830 days

#10 posted 03-29-2008 03:15 AM

You are clearly justified for a couple of expletive outbursts. If you just took it in stride without cursing then karma owes you a release or two.

-- Greg, CT

View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3795 days

#11 posted 03-29-2008 07:07 AM

Reminds me of the old story of the guy that was using a rope and pulley to pull-up a load of bricks in a bucket. Remember that one?

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3902 days

#12 posted 03-29-2008 11:23 AM

A bricklayer working on a three-story-tall chimney had set up a pulley system so that his helper could raise the bricks up to where he needed them. As he was working, his helper complained about how difficult it would be to get the last of the bricks up to the flat roof of the building. Just then another contractor had some material delivered and it was placed on the roof by a fork lift brought to unload it. The bricklayer asked if the driver would load the rest of the bricks up there as well and the driver agreed. The bricklayer realized that he would not need his helper any more and sent him home.

When the bricklayer completed the chimney he noticed that he had quite a few bricks left over and that the fork lift was no longer at the jobsite. Now he had to figure out how to get the leftover bricks back down by himself. If he dropped them, they would surely break. So he decided to use the pulley he had set up earlier to lower them down.

First he went down to the ground and raised a large metal bucket up to the roof level using the rope and pulley. Next, he tied the rope off onto a railing and climbed back up to the roof and loaded the bricks into the bucket. Then he went back down to the ground. He knew that the bricks would be heavy, so he wrapped the rope around his hand a couple of times and then untied the end of the rope with his other hand. Well, the bricks were heavier than he imagined and with physics being as it is, he was immediately launched upwards at a high rate of speed.

As he was racing up towards the roof he encountered the bucket full of bricks coming down at an equally fast rate. He collided with the bucket and broke his nose and his shoulder. The bucket passed him by as he sped upwards. He reached the pulley just before the bucket hit the ground and broke a few of his fingers as they were pulled into the pulley. When the bucket hit the ground, its bottom fell out and all of the bricks spilled onto the ground. Now the fun reversed. As the now light bucket sped upwards, the mason took a shot to the groin when one of his legs slipped into the empty bucket.

He then tilted enough to fall out of the bucket and continued with his gravity experiment. Eventually he landed on top of the pile of bricks and broke both feet. He collapsed in pain there on the bricks, but was glad to be alive. He let go off the rope and cried out for help.

It was then that the bucket hit him in the head and fractured his skull.

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4233 days

#13 posted 03-29-2008 02:01 PM

Hello Eric;
—-and I thought you were going to tell me:

#98 ….and then the nut holding the bench grinder in place was defective with a hairline crack and on my way back up after hitting my head….the bench grinder fell off and landed on my other big toe….

Now thats a reason for wearing steel toed safety boots….LOL

Have a ‘very good’ day today…..and,

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View HallTree's profile


5664 posts in 3795 days

#14 posted 03-29-2008 05:38 PM

Thanks Rikkor for the ‘now the rest of the story’.

-- "Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life" Solomon

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#15 posted 03-29-2008 05:50 PM

Thanks rikkor. For those of us who have led sheltered lives we would have spent a lot of time scratching our heads in confusion about the bricklayer story. Now we know.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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