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View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

A Near Tragedy

by Gene Howe
posted 09-16-2012 01:37 PM


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51 replies

51 replies so far

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CharlieM1958

15714 posts in 2940 days


#1 posted 09-16-2012 01:39 PM

I saw that story last night. She is very lucky.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#2 posted 09-16-2012 02:08 PM

Student defies policy that requires hair ”... to be pulled back…”. Well that says it all. I have no sympathy here. Mom needs to suck it up and spend her time helping daughter to get over the traumatic event and aftermath. My 2-cents…

BTW, this very thing happened to my older sister in my father’s machine shop (on a lathe), back in the early ‘70s. Don’t remember any details since I was already overseas in USN at the time.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1880 days


#3 posted 09-16-2012 03:27 PM

Old school, Mike! I try to balance those thoughts with a little more compassion (simply because I’ve done stupid stuff to hurt myself as well)...like trying to jump atop a pitched roof house from the top of my pickup truck. Don’t ask…

But yeah, I’ve called myself every name in the book for my stupidity…and I think if we were a little less PC in this world, it’d probably save a lot more people. Being that we are/were both educators, I’m sure you and I would agree that if more people called things for what they were our system would be in much better shape.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#4 posted 09-16-2012 03:54 PM

Jay,
As you well know, shop class is different, and with truly real-world consequences for those who don’t follow the rules. Beyond my sister’s example I shared above, I also had a school mate (2yr younger) who lost 2-fingers on the Jointer in Shop Class.

I am not saying “mom” is a bad person, just a bit too much distracted… Maybe this is from the sensationalism/attention from the news media, and/or an additional possibly could be because of daughter’s history as prom/homecoming queen (02:17 in video). At least HER hair will grow back, unlike my friend’s fingers.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Dez

1121 posts in 2799 days


#5 posted 09-16-2012 03:57 PM

Next we might see a call for “hair detection” technology? LOL
I think maybe a better call would be for “stupidity detection” tech don’t you think?
(NOT, nature usually takes care of that just fine).
Every time I have been hurt it was because of a lapse in common sense or lack of thought for what ever reason – i.e. – it will take too long, getting just a little more done before I knock off for the day, not giving proper attention, etc.
The one good thing here is that she learned a good lesson without permanent damage and will live to continue learning if her mother and others don’t muck things up too badly with the attitude of “it is someone else’s fault” and “we need to protect everyone from their own stupidity”.
I really believe that the lessens learned best are the ones that cost us something, be it a little pain, effort or what have you.

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

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stefang

13529 posts in 2056 days


#6 posted 09-16-2012 04:12 PM

I don’t know all the details in this instance, but I would tend to blame the teacher anyway. The girl should not have been allowed to use the machine unless she complied with safety rules. That said, maybe it’s not so easy to keep an eye on all students at once. Or is it? My thought is that safety should be the teachers top priority. I don’t believe the teacher should be unduly punished for this oversight, but it certainly is a serious enough to be noted on the record in case something like that happens again. I assume the student also learned something.

I didn’t attend wood shop as a youth, but I have heard a lot of scary shop stories from my own kids and others who did. They all involved revolving machine tools, mostly lathes, but others as well. My personal feeling is that teaching the proper use and maintenance of hand tools would be much cheaper, more instructive and valuable, especially for first year wood shop students. Though I doubt all wood shop teachers have those skills themselves. I know hand tools can also be dangerous, but usually not life threatening like a skew chisel being slung from a lathe and stuck into a door frame just as the teacher walks through it (True story, honest).

I realize hindsight is always better than foresight, but tough safety rules are really a must in a place where serious accidents can happen very fast and without warning.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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Gary

7525 posts in 2154 days


#7 posted 09-16-2012 06:30 PM

Pretty hard to be real critical when we see folks here on this site getting hurt….like I did. And we all know the rules. I sure wanted to blame someone else but no one was there but me…..

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

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whitebeast88

3571 posts in 912 days


#8 posted 09-16-2012 08:26 PM

things happen either accidents or our own stupidity.normally our own stupidity sometimes we get to complacent in the shop which i tend to do and have to fight it when i’m out there.i’m glad she wasn’t hurt any more serious.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

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Pimzedd

463 posts in 2525 days


#9 posted 09-16-2012 11:30 PM

stefang, please don’t take this the wrong way, but as a retired shop teacher who currently provides training to “shop teachers” and administrators on how to provide safety instruction to students, I have a few thoughts.

You state ”I don’t know all the details in this instance, but I would tend to blame the teacher anyway. The girl should not have been allowed to use the machine unless she complied with safety rules.” You are correct in that we DON”T know all the details. We hear Mom’s impression and that of a reporter.

As a retired shop teacher of 34 years, I know from experience that the student was most likely not”allowed to use the machine” without following the safety rules. You are correct when you state ”maybe it’s not so easy to keep an eye on all students at once.” When you have a class of students all working in a shop at once, a teacher cannot see every student perform every action every time. Another news account quotes the student as saying she knew to keep her hair tied back. A shop teacher must be ever alert and on the move in the classroom, ever vigilant to unsafe actions, but students are human and it is ultimately up to them to follow the rules that they have been taught.

You write of ”teaching the proper use and maintenance of hand tools” as a alternative to machine instruction. The use of machines can be successfully and safely done at any level from middle to high school. However, the age and maturity of the students MUST be considered when deciding what machines a student will be allowed to operate.

I do have one concern from one of the news stories I read. It said the teacher did not send the student to the school nurse. He allowed her to walk to her next class. I believe that was a serious mistake. A teacher should let a trained health professional make the decision concerning the severity of the injury. It appears that the nurse did not believe the student needed emergency treatment since the student was allowed to remain at school.

Finally, I agree that ”tough safety rules are really a must in a place where serious accidents can happen very fast and without warning”. We don’t know that those rules were not in place in this class. The teacher did have 29 years of experience in teaching such a class. Some teachers are better at teaching a comprehensive and successful safety program that others. However, my experience shows that even the weakest of such teachers are concerned about student safety.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

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Jimbo4

1156 posts in 1484 days


#10 posted 09-17-2012 12:30 AM

It’s also amazingly scarey to watch Woodsmith. Those guys operte all kinds of power tools – TABLESAW – with long sleeve shirts. Talk about unsafe on TV so any soul who has not operated any kind of power equipment can see that it’s ok. Gives me the willy-wobbles.

-- *Arachnoleptic Fit*: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidently walked through a spider web.

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derosa

1557 posts in 1557 days


#11 posted 09-17-2012 01:20 AM

Both are at fault, the girl just has youthful stupidity and inexperience on her side, the teacher should have paid more attention to make sure everyone was at least starting off watching the safety rules. I would still place a touch more blame on the teacher then the student; he should have checked that all the students were starting off properly dressed, especially dealing with high schoolers who don’t believe that it can happen to them even if they are skirting the rules. A reprimand for him not taking enough caution and a bill to the school for a weave for her and all should be fair if our system worked properly.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

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casual1carpenter

353 posts in 1197 days


#12 posted 09-17-2012 01:31 AM

I would have to give the shop teacher the innocent until proven guilty verdict. First let me state that I remember my wood shop days and the shop teacher must have been a saint to handle our attitudes and behavior. We were exposed to the safety rules and instructed in proper use of the tools, in quite a few of our cases his instruction was irrelevant, we were not listening, we were kids. How much can one worry about what they are doing when their main goal is to try and get the teacher/instructor’s head close enough to the dust collector to suck his toupee off. In my job environment today we have a job specific safety meeting not only every day but as jobs change. We are told of the work being preformed and informed of known common issues, and ones a bit more specific to the days tasks. Some of those meetings contain valid information but some are repetitive and boring. Wait was that the little boy from wood shop, “I’ve done this a hundred times,” or “yes I know that, but” or “but I just have one hole to drill.”

I do feel sorry for the young girl who had to learn a lesson the hard way, a lesson she should never have learned in this fashion. Mistakes and misjudgements were made by all parties including the other students who also should have stopped her from using the machine and reminded her she needs to put her hair right. It might be true that the shop teacher is responsible for all that happens in his shop, but he is not his own boss in all cases. Additionally he can not see everything nor always respond across the shop before an accident might happen.

If the shop teacher had of sent the students to the office for discipline over the hair infractions etc would the mothers and the school district have been happy? How can the shop teacher properly monitor all of the students at all of the work stations while at the same time providing individual hands on instruction? I believe that safety is one area where politically correct should be outlawed. It is better to learn that ignoring safety rules will have consequences, and better those consequences be discipline than disaster.

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Monte Pittman

15116 posts in 1059 days


#13 posted 09-17-2012 02:00 AM

I will blame the teacher only that they should be fairly conscious of fairly obvious safety violations. That being said, humans, especially youth, like to work on “it won’t happen to me” theory. I knew a gentleman who lost his right arm at elbow on a metal lathe. He broke a couple shop rules. Long sleeve shirt and gloves. Always complained that he was cold so they ignored him. Every person in the shop should be willing to point out safety violations to anyone. It’s simply the best thing to do.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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oldnovice

3845 posts in 2089 days


#14 posted 09-17-2012 06:19 AM

I agree with Monte! The teacher is responsible for this kind of accident.

That being said, I feel truly sorry for the girl but she should also count her blessings as it could have been much, much worse. Kids are resilient and with hair transplant technology today in a couple of years no one will know what happened to her.

Back when I was in shop class, almost 50+ years ago, the teacher had a check list that was used before any shop work for all safety related issues but one student proceeded to cut off the tips of three fingers when pushing material through the TS.
He was not using the push sticks and/or pads which probably would have prevented the accident. Fortunately, this was in Rochester Minnesota, home of the Mayo Clinic, and his fingers were re-attached to the point of no disfigurement but limited functionality.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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rance

4145 posts in 1882 days


#15 posted 09-17-2012 07:29 AM

Bill(who was likely my own shop teacher) said it well.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#16 posted 09-17-2012 01:53 PM

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If we held each child’s parents to the same safety standards that we require of all “teachers”, nearly all children would be living under Protective Custody arrangements/environments mandated by the local Courts.

  • Should we require parents lose their employment because of the resulting negligence (lack of time spent) in their “parenting”?
  • Should we remove children from their parents custody if this happened “at home”?
  • Should parents be fined, in order to recover the costs of prosecuting them for negligence?
  • Should parents be forced to disclose “parental negligence” to all current and future employers?

I am NOT saying these things SHOULD occur to parents when a mistake or accident occurs, though the current mindset of many is to expect just that IF they are teachers.

As a retired teacher and school administrator, that is my observation. Shouldn’t our expectations of parents be set to the same standards we set for our teachers? Hmm…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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redryder

2217 posts in 1823 days


#17 posted 09-17-2012 02:47 PM

As a retired teacher and school administrator, that is my observation. Shouldn’t our expectations of parents be set to the same standards we set for our teachers? Hmm…

No..........

Teachers are trained in thier craft. Parents are not…..........

-- mike...............

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#18 posted 09-17-2012 03:09 PM

redryder: _”...Teachers are trained in their craft. Parents are not……..........”

That may currently be true in most cases, however the Courts have noticed that lack of training and are increasingly ISSUING COURT ORDERED PARENTING CLASSES
in an attempt to correct this deficiency.

I know that in some of the high schools that I have administered, we offered “parenting classes” to student mothers/fathers. I do not know why such programming couldn’t be expanded to serve the entire community. After all, poor parenting affects not only those particular students, but all others as well when it spills into classrooms and into the community as a whole.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Gene Howe

5923 posts in 2150 days


#19 posted 09-17-2012 03:13 PM

I’ve known some decent teachers who were terrible parents.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#20 posted 09-17-2012 03:20 PM

Indeed Gene, poor parenting is widespread and affects the entire community.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Surfside

3361 posts in 895 days


#21 posted 09-17-2012 03:44 PM

It’s sad to hear the story, but she’s lucky anyway for not having further damages. I think the blame should be charged on the teacher. I am not overlooking things here but the teacher is the very person who has the authority and responsibility in taking the students inside the shop. Safety precautions and measures should have been observed before allowing the students get inside the shop. Those who have long hair should have been pinned and tied or wrapped their hair with a hair net. Orientation must have been observed before going to the machines. These measures should have avoided the tragedy from happening.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#22 posted 09-17-2012 04:19 PM

The shop teacher had 29yr of experience:
  • Is it possible he have made a mistake in supervising the student? Yes
  • Is it likely he made the mistake in supervising the student? No

Respecting authoring and the following instructions/orders/directives(or however you put it) is something that is primarily taught at home via proper “parenting”, and that appears to have been lacking in the limited information that we have privy to regarding the student following proper procedures.

”Don’t put your hand on a hot stove. Don’t put your hand on a hot stove. Don’t put your hand on a hot stove… OUCH! That hurt!”

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Surfside

3361 posts in 895 days


#23 posted 09-17-2012 04:33 PM

You’ve got a point there, Mike. But I think we can’t directly take the blame on the parent’s lack of proper parenting, though the parents may have a little share for the blame. The teacher, IMHO, should’ve the bigger part of the blame because he’s the very person who has the direct authority inside the shop. He knows the machines best than the students nor the parents. I am thinking now, maybe because of his 29 years of teaching and have not experienced any tragedy before in his hands, he was confident enough nothing would happen like the past 28 years of his teaching career.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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MrsN

941 posts in 2247 days


#24 posted 09-17-2012 04:46 PM

I teach wood shop classes. I am not defending the teacher but I do have a question for some of you.

I have a class of 17 students. They are all required to take safety tests and pass preformance tests on all of the machines that we use and general shop safety. When we are in the shop I keep track of all 17, to the best of my ability, watching who is using what machines and what they are working on. But sometimes someone needs specific help, which takes my attention from the whole group and focuses it down a bit so I can help with the individual. I still am mostly aware of what all 17 are doing, but some can fly under the radar for a moment or two. and it only takes a moment or two for a student to do something stupid. what should I do to prevent the student from making a stupid choice in that moment?

I wouldn’t have let my students walk out into the shop with their hair down (I myself make a show of putting mine up, to prove the point) but I have had the battle of wits with highschool girls who like to think they can take it down every time I turn my back. (or have long bangs that don’t tie back well, or wear their pony tail in a way that isn’t helpful to the safety standard) try going into a highschool and arguing fashion over function with a seinor girl, you will lose! espically if you are an old man (i am lucky, as a younger woman, they will sometimes listen to me)

sometimes students choose to do things that are not safe, sometimes adults choose to do things that are not safe. In todays culture people hate to take responsibility and say, “i did something stupid” rather they want to blame anyone else that they can.

-- ----- www.KNWoodworking.com ----- --

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Pimzedd

463 posts in 2525 days


#25 posted 09-17-2012 04:49 PM

Surfside,

the teacher is the very person who has the authority and responsibility in taking the students inside the shop Not totally correct. The school principal and counselors who schedule the number of students into the class have a responsibility as well. It is difficult to observe all students in a class with large numbers of students. About four years ago when I was an school district administrator over Trade and Industrial classes, I walked into a Carpentry class. It was overloaded with students. I asked the teacher how many students were on the roll. He said 42!!!!! I immediately went and had a talk with the one person that could do something about that, the principal. His reply, “Where am I supposed to put them?”

However, the teacher ultimately does decide when the student has proven that they have the knowledge to go to work in the shop. “Shop teachers” typically document that they have demonstrated a machine to each student. The student typically takes a safety test that they must pass with a score of 100%. Typically a student must demonstrate the safe use of the machine to the teacher. Only then will the student be allowed to operate the machine. Did the teacher take all of these actions? We don’t KNOW. A teacher with 29 years of experience would most likely do so.

Safety precautions and measures should have been observed before allowing the students get inside the shop. Do you KNOW that did not happen? Nothing I have read in any of the news reports indicates that those precautions did not take place.

Orientation must have been observed before going to the machines. Again, do you KNOW that such an orientation did not occur?

Those who have long hair should have been pinned and tied or wrapped their hair with a hair net.” Do you KNOW that did not happen? Another news account quotes the student as saying she knew to keep her hair tied back. If she knew that, it appears that there was a safety rule in place to cover such a situation.

These measures should have avoided the tragedy from happening.” Even if the measures were in place, the accident could have happened. The student was human and humans make mistakes! If the teacher took all the measures you describe, there is no guarantee that the accident would have been prevented.

I hate to get on my soap box here again. I just don’t like to see people jump on the teacher without knowing all the facts.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

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Surfside

3361 posts in 895 days


#26 posted 09-17-2012 05:02 PM

I know and I’m not closing my ears to that. Thanks for clarifying some thoughts. I think, safety should apply to everyone working around dangerous machines. From teachers to students. We just hope for the best result regarding the investigation of the said incident.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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DonSC

19 posts in 803 days


#27 posted 09-17-2012 05:10 PM

It was yrs. ago, but my woodshop class instructor gave safety tests and had signs near the machines reminding us of safety procedures. But, as was said, all teens think they are bullet-proof. ultimately safety is everybody’s duty, not just the teacher’s. Without further info, we really don’t know if the student was careless or poorly trained. either way, it sure is a shame it happened. I hope she will heal completely. Can’t figure out why he didn’t contact medical help afterwards. Now-a-days tho, some schools have eliminated on-site nurses..

-- Don, Culleoka, Tn.

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Gene Howe

5923 posts in 2150 days


#28 posted 09-17-2012 05:22 PM

Thanks to all that have posted on this topic.
My intention wasn’t to fix blame for this incident, but to remind that loose ANYTHING around machinery is inviting injury, or worse.
Lets all be safe out there.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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Surfside

3361 posts in 895 days


#29 posted 09-17-2012 06:18 PM

Nice post, Gene!

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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Knothead62

2364 posts in 1682 days


#30 posted 09-18-2012 10:31 PM

I worked for precision metal products manufacturer. I was told that in the old location a girl got her hair caught in a machine and was literally scalped. Yep, violation of company safety rules.

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Gshepherd

1640 posts in 923 days


#31 posted 09-18-2012 11:20 PM

It just takes one split second and things go very bad….. Even the best teacher out there can not prevent anything like this happening. How many times we as seasoned professionals get caught off guard and 99.9% it is still our own fault. I remember our shop teacher before we went out and started he would make darn sure everyone was quiet, look to your right,left,front,back. Take your rings off, roll up those sleeves, tie those shoes ect ect….. He got us in the frame of mind….. Even had a few who were just not cut out for shop class but they really enjoyed it, they chose to work in the tool room handing out tools and keeping inventory or cleaning floors. If someone razzed them, guess what you were doing their job.

It is accidents like these that have prevented other schools from having shop class as most of us know it. When it does happen we want to string up someone for it and make them pay dearly.

I never met a shop teacher who was not more concerned someone getting injured or thought of safety as a past time. Ask one what they fear the most about teaching. Safety is taught but it has to be executed by the individual to be effective just like everything else in this life. Thank God the young lady was not more seriously injured. Calls should have been made reguardless.

How can anyone be held totally responsible for more than one person when you can not watch their every move? I learned more from shop class than just building a cedar chest. I learned that I would make mistakes, but had the ability to correct them. Not everything is perfect that we must work at it to make it to our choosing and in the end I alone was responsible for the outcome.

Just my 2 cents worth. Oh Thank you Mr. Burch and Mr. Porter for teaching me this….....

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

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DrTebi

150 posts in 1988 days


#32 posted 09-19-2012 08:02 AM

Being a student at the “sculpture department” of the academy of art in SF, I have seen so many potentially dangerous scenarios in the metal shop, jewelry rooms, wood shop, and even the clay and glaze rooms (toxic chemicals). I often feel that the teachers are not paying enough attention. It is certainly tough to keep an eye on 15 or more students at a time, while still trying to teach. But it would help a lot if teachers would be a lot more strict from the first day on, and even send students home if they don’t show up properly dressed etc.

It takes a lot of responsibility to have complete newbies operate a table saw, a gas forge, belt sanders, handle toxic chemicals. If it was my school, every first session would have to be on safety, and I would quiz on it and not let failing students touch anything until they get it…

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Surfside

3361 posts in 895 days


#33 posted 09-19-2012 01:47 PM

A good lesson learned in a not so good way.

-- "someone has to be wounded for others to be saved, someone has to sacrifice for others to feel happiness, someone has to die so others could live"

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#34 posted 09-19-2012 02:05 PM

I openly wonder whose responsibility it is when others observe first-hand instances of unsafe behavior.

Is it OK to NOT say anything about such unsafe behavior…
  • to the peer doing the unsafe behavior?
  • to the instructor in a student shop environment?
  • to the manager in ANY industrial shop environment?

Does the silence of other students, in a school shop environment, eliminate any and all of their personal responsibility for others “safe” behavior? Or to the safeness of the shop environment?

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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DrTebi

150 posts in 1988 days


#35 posted 09-19-2012 06:44 PM

Mike,
I have not been standing around watching, hoping for a flashy accident. I did go up to the students and reminded them to wear a dust mask, to put on the safety glasses etc. when I noticed an unsafe behavior.

However, it is not my job to do this, it’s the school’s responsibility to educate the students and teachers about safety.

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#36 posted 09-19-2012 07:26 PM

”...I did go up to the students and reminded them to wear a dust mask, to put on the safety glasses etc. when I noticed an unsafe behavior….”

Good. I am glad to hear that you took action.

”...However, it is not my job to do this, it’s the school’s responsibility to educate the students and teachers about safety….”

Why get all defensive about this and insist on pointing fingers? I do not recall anyone denying that teachers have a responsibility. I know of NO comments where a teacher said as you just did, ”... it is not my job to do this…”

In summation, the safety of others, IN ANY SITUATION, is everyone’s “job” and to state or think otherwise, I just find is just plain offensive and wrong. I am not trying to bait you or anyone else on this matter, as the questions were actually meant to be redundant. The obvious answer is that we are all responsible. However some out here may need to wake up to that fact. It is a basic human responsibility, take care of your fellow man/woman.

And what I find as the sad part about all of this is that governments have had to pass LAWS that “require” people to stop and render aid, all because of attitudes like ”...it is not my job to do this…” Let’s all be safe out there in the shop/world, and let’s all take responsibility to remind others of this as well.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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DrTebi

150 posts in 1988 days


#37 posted 09-19-2012 09:25 PM

”… it is not my job to do this…”

Of course students should always take care of their peers when they see a dangerous situation arising, but please think about the fact that I and all other students are complete “newbies”, and teachers or the school cannot hold students responsible for any safety issues that they don’t understand yet.

We are in school to learn, and if we are not taught how to work safely, we won’t be able to help others to do so (except by using common sense).

Common sense works well e.g. when a student tries to make a “free-hand” cut on the table saw. But when we are introduced to things like chemicals that produce fumes, we most likely don’t know anything about the dangers of inhaling those. This is where I am pointing fingers—the school needs to require teachers to teach us about these types of dangers. About the dangers that we students are not aware of, simple due to lack of knowledge.

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DustyMojave

4 posts in 798 days


#38 posted 09-19-2012 11:25 PM

Long Post…
When I was a High School Senior, I was taking an after-school course in Land Surveying at my High School. The instructor, Paul Bott, was also the Wood Shop teacher at the school. I think of him in looking back as a very good teacher who got the message through to us students. Although I understand that such is often not a good way for things to be in a classroom, the members of that class actually looked upon him as a friend and mentor rather than in the usual way one sees “Teachers”.

So when one day he was surly and obviously quite upset about something, we students were concerned. So a group of us got up from our drafting tables and gathered around him insisting he “fess up” and get his problems off his shoulders. So he relented and called the rest of the students to gather around so he could tell us all what the issue was.

During his regular teaching day, I believe it was 3rd or 4th period for woodshop, a student was seriously injured. He told us that a couple of students were talking to each other about unrelated matters while working with adjacent power equipment. He told us he had observed this and hollered across the shop at the students to stop talking to each other and pay attention to what they were doing. After acknowledging his commands, they went back to what they had been doing. As he headed across the shop towards them, he yelled at them again. The one using the planer had his head turned toward the other student as he fed his machine a fairly large board. Then the sound of the machine suddenly changed and the shop was sprayed with red instead of sawdust. His hands had fed into the planer and were taken off to above the wrists. He pulled back the stumps and held them up in front of his eyes before collapsing to the floor. Mr Bott performed 1st aid as he had learned while serving as a Combat Medic in Vietnam. He sent a couple of students to get help and asked others to clear out the rest of the students. Once the ambulance attendants got the student out of there, the Principal had asked him not to go back in the shop pending the investigation. It was some time before things were back to normal with Mr. Bott.

In that case, I feel that while I was not there to observe what actually happened, considering how Mr. Bott handled safety when the Surveying class was out in the field, that he was quite probably quite good at handling safety in the woodshop too. Since at that time I had 10 years experience as a Technical and Safety Inspector at Sports Car Road Races, which I do now at OffRoad races, and was also responsible for crash investigations at the races, I feel I was uniquely qualified to judge his concern for safety.

My evaluation of that incident was that it was probably one of the student, while having been schooled in safety and proper operation procedures with that machine, was simply not paying attention to what he was doing and paid the consequences. I hope that the school and Mr. Bott were NOT held responsible for that incident.

In this incident with the girl and her hair, perhaps the teacher COULD have done more to make sure the student was obeying the safety rules, ultimate responsibility must lie with the student since she acknowledged that she knew she was violating safety rules regarding hair. I doubt the injury was severe enough to warrant calling 911, but the student in this case should definitely have been sent right away for evaluation by trained medical personnel. Since her mother apparently works for the school district, she should have been notified immediately and relieved of her work to take her daughter for medical examination.

-- Richard

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#39 posted 09-19-2012 11:35 PM

Well put Richard.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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CplSteel

142 posts in 886 days


#40 posted 09-19-2012 11:45 PM

“17-year-old does something stupid” doesn’t get the same ratings and interest as teach negligence and students put in danger.

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DaytonHM

129 posts in 1064 days


#41 posted 09-19-2012 11:55 PM

Not to be in-sensitive…but lesson learned I hope! Two years ago I put three of my fingers too close to a table saw blade…I got away with a deep nick in each one! I now have very loooong pusher sticks! LOL :) I knew better and still did something dumb. One of my class-mates in high school did the long hair-drill press dance also. It removed part of his scalp. We all had long hair in the 70’s, we carried rubber bands for pony-tails after that incident. It happened right in front of me actually. I was scared for that kid, I do remember that very clearly. Hope this gal heals okay and returns to normal, it could have been a severed finger or even worse. If we are going to be around these machines, watches, rings, necklaces, long hair must be removed and tucked in before
starting to work. Simply a must do Kids!

Aaron

-- DaytonHM Dayton Va.

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TopamaxSurvivor

15014 posts in 2397 days


#42 posted 09-20-2012 12:04 AM

It could easily have been much worse. Good thing her hair gave away. A kid a year ahead of me in high school got caught in a post hole digger. When he didn’t come for lunch, his dad went to check. There was nothing left but a few bloody rags!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Uncle_Salty

182 posts in 1794 days


#43 posted 09-20-2012 01:04 AM

It has been 25 years since I started teaching. I have had two incidents in my shop that required medical attention outside of a bandaid or a pair of tweezers. I was one of the incidents. I was cutting a piece of 1/4” plywood about 12” square to fit a drawer bottom for a kid during class, and, for some reason, the board kicked back and drug my right index finger over the saw blade. I have played this one over in my mind about a thousand times, and I am still not sure why it kicked back. I truly believe that it was an accident, and I reinstalled the splitter and it NEVER comes off unless the crosscut sled or dado head is being used.

The other incident involved one of my better students dragging his thumb over the cutterhead on the jointer. Fortunately, other than some flesh and some pride, it didn’t take anything else off. He had failed to use a push block (like he had been taught, trained and tested over) and admitted to screwing up as I was wrapping his hand up to take him to the office.

No matter how much safety is taught and reinforced (daily, in my situation), sometimes kids let it slide. Have I been lucky that nothing more has happened? Maybe… but I like to think that part of that is because of my diligence. And no matter how keen a teachers’ observational skills, how rigorous the safety training, how smart, stupid, responsbile or careless a student is, sometimes, stuff happens.

Was the teacher wrong in this situation? There are very few people that know. I’d guess that, after 29 years, the guy probably has a pretty good handle on the situation. I don’t think WE we ever know the truth or will be presented both sides of this story. I’d say there was some fault by all.

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DustyMojave

4 posts in 798 days


#44 posted 09-20-2012 05:21 AM

Working with power tools of any sort can be quite dangerous and we all need to be careful of what we do. I often make a living as a metal fabricator. There are lots of things I work with in that which could alter my life permanently.

I’d say the teacher Uncle Salty above has done quite well to have only 2 incidents in 25 years of teaching shop. Since the mid 70s, I’ve been to the emergency room 3x myself for “Industrial Accidents”.

Once was for a power tool incident. It wasn’t woodworking, but the equipment involved does get used for woodworking. It was a belt sander. 2” x 72” “Square Wheel”. I was prepping bronze casting pieces to weld them together to assemble an 8’ high x 6’ wide sculpture of “The Burning Bush” for a Jewish Synagogue. The pieces needed to get a “brushed finish” lengthwise on all sides, then the joint areas needed to be chamfered about 5/16” all around both sides of the joint for the weld. then the welds would later be ground and the finish matched. So in chamfering one of the pieces with 36 grit on the belt sander, the 20-some pound piece slipped off the belt and my right thumb jammed in with all the force I was applying. The nail was obliterated back to the knuckle. To date, that was the most painful injury I’ve ever experienced. It grew back almost undetectable though.

The other 2 times were for stitches in cuts in exactly the identical spot between the thumb and forefinger of my left hand. Both times were with the same wood chisel.

In the late 70s, I worked for a cabinet shop. I was an installer, so didn’t normally work inside the shop. One time, I was held up waiting for cabinets to be made as the shop was behind in production. So to make things happen, I was told the only way I could get the cabinets in the next 2 weeks was if I came into the shop and built them myself. Working in construction, there were plenty of injuries on the job. but when I went into that shop, I learned that every employee who had been doing that job for 5 years or more was missing digits from one or both hands. It was bizarre at break time the 1st day when the gang of 30-or so employees were sitting around outside on stacks of lumber munching on burritos and whatever. One of the older employees and I were talking about the subject of missing digits and he raised his voice and asked for a show of fingers. Gave me the willies working in there and I was glad when I was done with the set of cabinets and out of there! Not my idea of a safe shop.

-- Richard

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#45 posted 09-20-2012 02:42 PM

You know Richard, after going back and re-reading your post in #39, I just could not get the “planer” incident out of my mind. Just about a week ago I nearly had a very similar accident on my Lunchbox planer. I was final-sizing four 52” legs to 1 1/2” by sending them though the planer butted next to each other, rotating and sending them through again. Part way through this process I got a bit careless. In feeding, I was holding them butted next to each other and on the outfeed I was also grabbing them to keep them together as well. My momentary lapse of concentration led to my left “feed” arm/hand moving so close to the planer as to “just” start to pinch my fingers, causing me to quickly jerk my hand away. Had my fingers not been as vertical as they were, I probably would have had my hand pulled into the blades.

At the time, I didn’t think much of that close call. NOW, after reading your #39 post, I realize just how easy it is to screw up! My “best practices” on the planer are now being modified, immediately. Geez…

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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Gene Howe

5923 posts in 2150 days


#46 posted 09-20-2012 03:18 PM

Wow Mike. Close call, there.
Most of my planing is @ 3/4” or less. I gotta remember your story for those thicker pieces.
Come to think of it, I built a sled for the planer just for those thinner cuts. But, I’ve been using it for almost all of my cuts recently. The surface is covered with 60 grit cloth backed sandpaper, so I can lay a piece on and feed it through by pushing the sled instead of the work. That serves to keep the fingers away from the opening. Hadn’t thought of that.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

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Mainiac Matt

4329 posts in 1050 days


#47 posted 09-20-2012 05:02 PM

Last year a local teenage boy in electrical shop class took a dare (for a can of Mountain Doo) and clipped alligator clips across his nipples with 120 volts. INSTANT HEART ATTACK.

Shop teacher gave him CPR and saved his life.

Parents sued the school district.

Teacher was fired.

And we wonder why America is failing?

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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ChuckC

714 posts in 1656 days


#48 posted 09-20-2012 08:29 PM

I think there is too little information available at this time to have an opinion. If the girl was walking around with her hair down for the entire class or even for every class then the teacher holds a lot of the blame. If she had it up and for a moment let it down when the accident happened then she holds a lot of the blame.

A shop teacher has a tough job. I couldn’t imagine being responsible for a bunch of teenagers in a wood shop. I think back to some of the stuff I did before I “knew better” and I’m a little surprised I made it out without any major injuries.

It’s a sad story. I hope she recovers.

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Pimzedd

463 posts in 2525 days


#49 posted 09-20-2012 09:32 PM

ssnvet,

I am familiar with that event. I read that the parents sued the teacher, a master electrician with 12 years of teaching experience, as well. I read that he resigned. Of course, he may have been encouraged by the school district to resign. Or it may have disturbed him so much he resigned, I saw a Construction teacher do that after an accident.

I have been trying to find the result of the lawsuit as well. If you know of the result, I would like to hear it.

I play a news station video about that event when I present safety training to teachers . http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=n17WvwHFI7o It shows cell phone video of the student electrocuting himself, an police interview of the teacher and the student. After seeing all of that report, I definitely don’t have enough information to decide if the teacher had any fault in the event.

My guess is the student wanted to show how tough he was by attaching the clips to his nipples; boys tend to like to show how strong they are. Having taught “shop” for 34 years, my guess is that he was not planning for electricity to be applied to the leads. But that is just a guess on my part.

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

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HorizontalMike

6960 posts in 1635 days


#50 posted 09-20-2012 10:48 PM

@ssnvet: _…”Teacher was fired. And we wonder why America is failing?...”

Surely you are not inferring that the shop teacher was the one to put this kid to the “dare” are you? Your final statement sure sounds like you are. Please explain, as I hope that this was just a mis-step.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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