“Eternal Mistakes”

Some mistakes last forever—as Arnold discovered after he lost two fingers to the machine he had operated for seven years.

On June 5, 1989, Arnold violated two of his company’s safety rules: he cheated the guard when he adjusted the coolant line on the machine and he also failed to follow the prescribed lockout/tag-out procedure.

Arnold had two fingers severed when the machine he was adjusting cycled unexpectedly. Ignoring company policy to save time, Arnold had not thought what the results of his actions would be.

When he woke up in the emergency room, he immediately thought that this could not have been happening to him.

Then he realized the consequences of his unsafe actions.

“I made myself look at my hand and an awful feeling came over me,” said Arnold. “All I could say was ‘Lord, let me live this day over again.”

But Arnold couldn’t go back and undo the damage. Arnold’s co-workers could not believe what had happened to him.

To explain his actions, Arnold made up a story about not thinking about what he was doing. “The truth of the matter is…I did know.”

Finally, Arnold came to the realization that his mistakes had altered his livelihood forever. “I realized my life had changed when I wrecked my hand,” he said.

  • Our unsafe actions—not the machines we operate—are our own worst enemy.
  • We must believe that safety is an integral part of everything that we do.
  • Be wary of setting yourself up for an accident. While some people want to test fate at some point or another, don’t do it.
  • Machines are objects that follow a set procedure. If you fail to follow your job procedure, the machine is still going to follow its set of instructions—it doesn’t care if you get in its way.
  • Doing the job correctly will ensure that you do not get injured or killed.
  • If you have any doubts about the rules or company policy regarding your job, ask before you act.
  • Before you do any job, make sure that you understand the safety procedures as well as the operation of the machine.
  • Ask yourself these questions before you begin any task:
  • Can I do this job safely?
  • Do I have the know-how and the training to do the job safely?
  • Is there enough time to do the job right?
  • Do I have the right tools and personal protective gear for the job?
  • What will be the results of my actions?
  • What are the potential risks and hazards I am about to face?
  • Have I left anything to chance?

“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting in a particular way.”— Aristotle

Thanks for the share, TO!