Health & Safety At Work Act...

  Quickbeam 12:56 27 Aug 2007

I was going to add this as a response to 'jellyheads' bakery reply in the 'BBQ advice' thread, but decided it could stand on it's own merit.

jellyhead... Same era as me, ('72).

We had an oil fired reversible sole oven that was converted to gas because of the early '70s fuel crisis. If someone distracted you while you were emptying it, you had bread crashing all over the floor as the emergency stop didn't work!

We also had some early trolley/rack ovens that required you to walk into the chamber to pull the back one out, sweat immediately boiled on your face & if you had left a nylon trilby on, it just melted down your face, rubber souled shoes were a no, no!

The best disasters were on the reel ovens, if you got the tins jammed in these, it just went on round 'n round... tip... tip... tip!

Reading this back is why I suppose we got the Health & Safety at work act then...?

There must be some more Health & Safety horrors you've all witnessed?

  mrwoowoo 16:17 27 Aug 2007

h.s.e rules are sometimes a bit over the top,but the end justifies the means.
A few accidents in my paper manufacturing factory, pre health and safety act.
A cradle with 6 ton of reeled paper lowered to the floor with opperators toe's underneath.Decapitated two toes even though steel toetectors were worn.Another employee lost a toe in a similar incident.
The cradle now has an infa red sensor fitted to prevent it happening again.
a fitter working on a drive shaft was killed when his shirt got entangled with the spinning shaft.
Now all moving machinary has to be locked of and permitted ( isolated) before work can begin.
Another example.
An opperator said to his assistant "don't start her up" as he went off to enter a machine.In the noisey workplace all his assistant heard was "start her up".The result was death.
Again all moving machinary has to be isolated now before entry.
Lots of other awful incidents pre h.s.e era.Just a pity these things happened before the dangers were spotted.
the Health & Safety at work act takes the pressure off of opperators in a continuous production enviroment, as in the past management used to say things like don't worry about that,just get the machine going.Yes production always came before safety but now they have to abide by the law.
If it's not safe,you don't do it.

  spuds 16:47 27 Aug 2007

Bakery ovens can be lethal. A few years ago, a well known bakery (now ceased trading) and the directors got prosecuted due to sending two maintenance staff into an oven to complete some repair work. Apparently the ovens had been switched off earlier, but had not cooled sufficiently, or airing-ventilation procedures had been followed. Result, after a short time one maintenance man was only just rescued, the other man didn't survive.

Like a large amount of industries, shortcuts are or have been taken, with the end results of serious injuries and fatalities. Health and Safety is paramount in any form, and its a fool who doesn't realise this.Many of the worst offenders have now cleaned up their act, and not to soon.Pity that legislation forced them to do it.

  Jim Thing 17:32 27 Aug 2007

"There must be some more Health & Safety horrors you've all witnessed?"

No, but I've taken part in one or two. For example, towards the end of WW2 when I was about fifteen or sixteen, I was asked to stand in for a neighbour who helped out on the night shift at the local Co-op bakery on Friday nights. It wasn't a case of having to be talked into it — at sixteen years of age it was more like "Just you try and stop me!"

Part of the job involved removing extremely hot loaf-tins, with their freshly-baked contents, from the output end of the oven. The tins emerged in rows of six, and each row had to be picked up and carried a few feet to a table, where someone else transferred the loaves from the tins to a cooling rack.

The 1940s-style 'safety equipment' that was provided to protect one's hands and arms from the hot tins was nothing more than a couple of layers of hessian cut from flour bags, and when my night shift was finished, my inner forearms were covered in huge blisters from wrist to elbow.

But it was all worthwhile. Quite apart from the whole thing being a Big Adventure, there was a memorable breakfast at about 4.30 a.m.(bacon and eggs fried in a cake-tin in the bread oven, plus fresh-baked bread rolls and a mug of tea) but, on the following Monday morning when I presented my docket at the pay window of the Co-op office, I was paid 14/- (70p) for my night's work. I don't think I had ever held so much money in my hand before — and it was all mine, earned quite literally by the sweat of my brow! I wouldn't have called the king my uncle, as the saying goes.

  Bingalau 17:45 27 Aug 2007

Jim Thing.. 14/- good pay rate that. I remember picking spuds during the war years, and for a whole week's work, dawn 'till dusk (60 hours work). I got paid a brand new ten shilling note. Like you I thought I was rich. 12 years old at the time.

  jellyhead 18:58 27 Aug 2007

Thankfully not been involved in any serious H&S incidents but I do remember having to keep my eyes open (peeled) when working around the ovens when being loaded by hand or a large handle will get you in the back of the head

  jack 19:31 27 Aug 2007

More than 50 years ago whilst in the Royal navy If one was required to go up the mast for any task at all = you always having got the correct permission. took the fuses out your self and put them in your pocket.
If they were up there with you- no twit could replace them and decapitate you with a Radar scanner.

  Quickbeam 20:34 27 Aug 2007

My father was a tunneling surveyor working on the Highlands Hydro Scheme in the immediate post war years.

The tunneling teams were paid bonuses for the yardage excavated. So, the obvious would happen, tunnelers that had been in a war for several years, didn't see any danger if no-one was firing at them, would use existing bore holes as quick starts for the newly exposed face from the previous blasting.

Yes, you've guessed it... It took the first pair to get their heads blown off from residual explosive to make the rest slow down.

At 25, my dad had to prepare an on site report with measurements & photographs for the inquest. He would always go white when describing the sight of looking down into the top of the bodies.

  namtas 20:44 27 Aug 2007

Taking the fuses out now is deemed not sufficient protection "If they were up there with you- no twit could replace them and decapitate you" oh yes they could, I have seen it done, if fuses could not be borrowed, nails screws or good plain wire would suffice. Regs now are you have to make safe, lock off and permit.

  Jim Thing 21:46 27 Aug 2007

It used to be said that Torpedomen (i.e. RN electricians before the birth of the Electrical Branch) kept a cut length of 6" nail in the toolbox. This was fitted for a few seconds in place of a blown fuse, after which the Torpedoman located the cause of the blown fuse by walking around the ship looking for a blackened patch on a bulkhead.

And if any ex-Torps are reading this, I'm only joking...

  Brumas 12:44 29 Aug 2007

Whilst I, like many individuals, some times pooh-pooh the more questionable edicts of H & S, I am thankful it does exist and it does seek to save lives and prevent accidents.

How I wish something along those lines was in existence during the early 60s! I was a young 16½ year old galley boy on my first trip when a force 10 gale in the North Atlantic and badly designed equipment conspired together to create the perfect scenario whose only outcome could be and was disastrous!
You are all aware I’m sure of the shape of a ship’s decanter; well the coffee pots/percolators are basically the same sort of shape for the same reason. When not in use the coffee pot usually sat in its own heated mounting, secured by a metal strap, approx, four foot high on the bulkhead over the sink.
I was literally scrubbing the decks – only in this instance the Pantry ‘floor’ when the Captain’s Tiger swung into the pantry and deposited the coffee percolator, which contained about two inches of coffee and grounds, into its mounting. Word then came down that as the gale was so severe we were to change direction and head into it for better passage. With that, the ship turned and seemed to drop sharply with such a jolt that the coffee percolator shot from its mountings into the air, striking the top of my head and shoulder depositing the scalding contents over my neck, chest and bare forearms!
I can vaguely remember them carrying me to my cabin where they lay me on the mat on the deck, the motion of the ship was so rough I was sliding from side to side and hitting the bunks until they secured me. The chief Steward tried to clean my injuries but only succeeded in removing flesh as well as coffee grounds so he did what he thought was best and just bandaged my arms, chest and neck in penicillin gauze bandage and left well alone. We were 10 days out from Montreal and by the time I was admitted to hospital with second degree scalds the wounds had suppurated causing the bandages to harden – I won’t go on!

As soon as I joined the Merchant Navy the ink wasn’t even dry before the National Union for Seamen signed me up yet they didn’t pursue this on my behalf and I was too young and naive myself to realise I had to make a noise about it.
I was scarred for life (thankfully my clothes hide the scars) due to badly designed equipment and poor working practice – something thankfully I know cannot happen today!

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