The Grim Harvest
Grant - Unsafe testing
Grant is a heavy manufacturing industry worker in his mid-forties who worked a variety of different shifts and always felt under pressure to increase productivity. Grant suffered severe crush injuries to his right hand when it became caught in moving machinery.
Grant worked in the part of the plant that manufactured steel rod. Work was done in a rotating shift system, with morning, afternoon and night shifts. Grant was working the night shift. A bonus system encouraged workers to increase the productivity of the mill. In addition, there was a degree of competition between the shifts.
A couple of times a shift, the rollers in the machinery had to be checked to ensure that it was producing rod of the correct thickness. This process involved stopping production. Safety procedures required that the test be conducted from a certain direction. However, because production had to be stopped while testing was done, it was common practice to carry the test out in a way that was unsafe, but quicker.
It was while conducting this test that Grant’s glove became caught, pulling his hand into the rollers. There was nothing he could do. He could hear the bones cracking. His thumb was almost severed from the hand, bones in two fingers were broken, and crush injuries to his middle finger caused it to burst open.
Grant had major surgery and was in hospital for two weeks and the injury has had a major impact on his ability to perform normal tasks. Grant’s workplace had a definite ‘macho’ culture that seems to be inherent in the industry. Associated with this culture was a ‘hierarchy of injury’, which resulted in Grant receiving less support from his colleagues than might otherwise have been the case.
Remember that good health and safety will help productivity in the long-run. Look out for yourself and your colleagues, especially when you’re busy or nearing the end of your shift.
There are some simple things you can do while working: drink plenty of water, take breaks and if a situation looks or feels dodgy then STOP. THINK about your options and DO act in the safest way.
Grant’s story – taken from Aftermath, M. Adams et al