[TriLUG] looking for advice for working on catwalk
Joseph Mack NA3T
jmack at wm7d.net
Wed Feb 8 16:52:53 EST 2012
On Wed, 8 Feb 2012, Aaron Joyner wrote:
> In general, as long as you were using some common sense in
> the first place,
Common sense turns out to be a poor guide to things you
don't understand. Almost everything that can go wrong on a
catwalk has already happened, the list is already available,
and you need them drilled into you, to make sure none of
them happen to you. Common sense is geared towards making
sure you don't become prey. So kids run across the street
minimising the chance for a driver to get a fix on them,
rather than walking slowly which would make them obvious to
oncoming cars. The car is trying to miss you. Common sense
tells you that it's trying to hit you.
Common sense tells you that the earth if flat, that superior
beings in the sky make thunder and lightning and punish you
by making you sick. I don't drive by common sense. I drive
by all the things that I've been taught or have seen go
wrong. I've pretty much had it with common sense.
> and you aren't working in particularly dangerous
> situations (electrical, mechanical, etc)
in the work situation I'm talking about, death and serious
injury are inevitable, without an understanding the safety
> Since it sounds like you're on the fuzzy edge of doing
> actually hazardous work, you should probably ask the
> people responsible for your safety, and in general trust
> there advice.
No way in hell. I don't trust anyone else with my safety.
Who is responsible for my safety - the people running the
work site? Are they going to feed and bring up my family,
compensate them for my death, do everything I would do for
them? If no, then they aren't responsible.
I'm responsible for my safety. They aren't.
I've worked for 45hrs with lethal and teratogenic chemicals,
and biologicals, high radiation and high voltages. (I've
also rock climbed and solo hiked.) Whenever I've started
with a new hazardous situation, someone introduces you to
it, makes sure you understand, watches you till they're sure
you won't inadvertantly cause problems to yourself or others
and then lets you go free. You start with simple situations
and you build up.
The administration is one generation (25yrs) behind work
practices at the bench. The work practices at the bench came
from stories of the previous generation who learned the hard
way. The administration is lawyers, who've never fired up a
high power X-ray machine. Now that they've learned about the
hazards, 50yrs after the pioneers found out the hard way,
these ignoramuses require me to pass annual tests about the
things I knew 25yrs ago, to be allowed back into those
The people who run the work site are 50yrs behind the people
who work on catwalks and whose lives are at risk. I don't
ask advice of a person who is 50yrs behind and who is only
responsibility is minimising the legal risks to the
business. I ask the people who are interested in minimising
the risks to themselves and to their families.
> If you feel like they're actually being cavalier with your
> health and safety, by all means, don't work there
I can't decide without the knowledge. It's nothing to do
with feelings. It's thinking. What are the facts? Is it
safe? The answer is yes or no and I have to know why or why
When I arrived each morning to work in a lab with lethal
hazards, I expected to go home each night in as good shape
as I arrived and that when I had kids in 20yrs, they
wouldn't be mutants. I expect it's equally possible to work
on catwalks with the same confidence. I'd like to know what
the people on the catwalks know.
Joseph Mack NA3T EME(B,D), FM05lw North Carolina
jmack (at) wm7d (dot) net - azimuthal equidistant map
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