Horrible AND fascinating catastrophic workplace accident videos

I figure it’s an opinion issue Regarding how fascinating it is…

I recently saw a collection of CCTV videos which each captured some catastrophic deadly accident in some manufacturing workplace. There were about half a dozen.

None of them was particularly gory in the traditional sense of being bloody or anything. Which is part of what made them fascinating… In each case, someone is sucked into some piece of machinery so fast it’s almost beyond belief that it’s real time, and they are mostly spat out just as quickly, dead, but not gory. Just absolutely dead.

They were fascinating for a number reasons beyond the previous… The speed is truly amazing, and I am assuming that each one of the videos I saw was recorded in some non-United States location because in each case the equipment was so extraordinarily dangerous and so completely lacking in any sensible safety anything, OSHA reps would be stroking out. In each case the person who buys it is immediately before hand so completely casual about the danger they are way too close to it’s quite remarkable.

I don’t have a link and I don’t think I’d be allowed to if I did, but for those of you who might be equally fascinated I suggest you look for something like workplace safety videos and I think it was initially on Reddit, some gore sub Reddit or something I don’t remember how it popped up… But it is fascinating if you have the stomach for it. Which I do.

My uncle was pulled into a machine and killed when he was 22. I’m definitely in the “not fascinating” crowd. I’m a little horrified by those who aren’t.

Funny how quickly things can turn to absolute shit, and that’s not restricted to the workplace. As you noted, a lot of the worst videos seem to come from outside the US. I don’t know what it is about some other countries, whether it’s a different personal attitude toward physical risk (i.e. an employee is willing to work on machines without guards), or a different sense of responsibility toward each other (i.e. an employee knowingly leaves guards off of a machine that someone else will be using), or just a total cluelessness about the risk being taken on. Seems to be room for all three root causes?

I’m not going to look at videos or anything, but sharing my father’s far less catastrophic workplace accident.

It was after Hurricane Floyd, and his shop had been flooded. He was trying to fix his paint mixing machine, not exactly a wood chipper or 10,000 gallon industrial mixer, it’s a machine with an electric motor, belts and pulleys to turn maybe a couple dozen mixing heads. He had the casing off and was poking around when he “tapped one of the belts, and ZIP, the tip of my finger was gone.”

Took off like an inch of his finger, just like that, no warning, just poked his finger where he shouldn’t have and it was gone.

This one was going around a few months ago. Forklift driver drives down a warehouse, slightly bumps the rack on the right and what seems like everything in the warehouse comes down like a house of cards. As I remember, the driver supposedly survived.

I think you nailed it with all 3 causes. But you don’t have to look abroad for such lax safety attitudes. Just go back in time, and there’d be many such accidents here in the USA, just no video record of them.

While I personally don’t want to contemplate workplace accident videos, even if they aren’t gory, I can understand the appeal; most of us probably have a morbid fascination about something. Me, I am drawn to watching natural disasters unfold, tsunamis in particular. The 2011 tsunami in Japan yielded some amazing videos, due to the fact everyone was carrying cell phones and security cameras high up on buildings caught it from when it was nothing but a slight change in how the water looked in the far distance to the streets below being inundated. Really fascinating.

Here’s a much lighter story of a workplace accident, though it involved a customer rather than an employee. Years ago at a local carwash, my father was in the car behind someone who did not put their car in neutral as he rolled onto the tracks that would carry the car through each of the automated washing steps.

Because the car was still in “drive,” it began to careen far too quickly through the system. The employees ran out and tried to tell the driver to put his car in neutral. They shouted and waved their arms, but the driver couldn’t make out what they were saying, between the loud noise of the machinery and the soapy windows.

In an epically ill-advised move, the driver GOT OUT OF THE CAR in the middle of the car wash. This was just as the car was entering the part with the giant beaters - those huge rotating mops that slap the car repeatedly with tendrils of soapy chamois.

In his terror, the guy grabbed onto one of the beaters and got spun around in circles. By this time it had occurred to the horrified employees to shut the machinery down, so they did so and, miraculously, the guy was unharmed. Soaked and covered with industrial-strength suds (probably pissed his pants too, but mercifully that wouldn’t make much difference under the circumstances), but not hurt.

Everyone was relieved to see he was okay, and it took a moment for everyone to remember that the car was still in drive and bolting through the carwash, onto the busy street beyond. Everyone turned to watch the car calmly sail through the front of the carwash and into the street, where miraculously it made its way across during a break in traffic. It entered the lot across the street and came to a halt when it slowly rolled into a building.

To his dying day, my father said that, since no humans, cars, or machinery seemed to have been harmed in the making of that fiasco, it was one of the funniest things he ever saw.

My grandmother’s first husband was working as a logger in the mountains east of Mt. Vernon, Washington when he was crushed by a very large tree. This was back in 1926, he was 22, my grandmother 19 and 4 months pregnant. Grandma told me the foreman for crew said there was very little left that was recognizable. Instead of bring out the remains a makeshift grave was dug and he was buried right where he died. His remains are still out there somewhere in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Reminds me of the very, very bad train accident that occurred one November when I was riding the Amtrak from Chicago to Detroit.

One word: “salsa”

The remains were shoveled, along with a lot of soaked gravel and soil, into three garbage bags and the train and tracks were hosed down by the local fire department. Meanwhile, the driver had to be sedated, removed from the train, and replaced.

I’m not real interested in watching train vs. human videos for some reason. Not ashamed to admit that after the first glance I kept my eyes anywhere but the windows until the gore was cleaned off.

I have occasionally watched industrial accident videos when I had a question about a type of accident, but I’m not given to repeating them. I don’t enjoy watching people die.

My dad had a story from working in a machine shop. Non-fatal, but very cringe inducing, and not in the Reddit "socially awkward sense.

The job they were working on required lengths of perfectly straight copper wire - straighter than it is when it comes off the spool. They build a machine to straighten the wire, which involved running it at high speed through a number of rollers to work out any kinks. The friction caused by this process meant that when the wire came out the other end of the machine, it was not only ram-rod straight, it was red hot.

One day, the machine jams. The guy running the machine leans over and look in where the wire is supposed to come out, to see if he can see what’s jamming it. And right then, the machine unjams itself. Red hot copper wire, right through the middle of his eyeball.

Hell I’ve seen some pretty scary stuff just from watching “Dirty Jobs”.

I like the ones where they survive.

I just got done watching a four-part documentary on the Mumbai Suburban Railway, one of the busiest in the word with 7.5-million commuters daily. One of the things mentioned is that there on average nine fatalities a day, mostly people walking along or crossing the tracks.

None were shown but they did have an interview with one of the drivers who said he’s struck several people over the years and didn’t believe there were any drivers who had not.

Did the man survive?

There was a woodchipper fatality in my city a few years back; he was a 20-something who was working on a tree-cutting crew and let’s just say that nobody told him that he was not supposed to shove branches into the machine with his foot. That was the last thing he ever did.

That street, which was in a quiet middle-class residential neighborhood, was blocked off for quite a few hours afterwards.

Yeah, and once he got fitted with a glass eye, apparently you’d never know anything had happened.

My dad owned a bunch of tools with some guy’s name engraved on them. I asked him about them once. They’d belonged to a guy he’d known, Dave, another engineer and a friend-of-a-friend. Dave had been working with an industrial punch press, punching holes in 1/8" steel plate. The machine was designed to make it impossible to activate while your hands were in the danger zone. Once you’d got the piece placed, you had to activate two separate buttons on either side of the machine, which required both hands. But it also slowed you down a lot, and Dave had a lot of holes he needed to punch. So he designed a little rig that he bolted to the machine, that allowed him trigger the press by head-butting a single button, so he could just rapidly position a piece, punch it, reposition, punch again, all real quick.

IIRC, he made it about six months before he got thrown off his rhythm and put his dominant hand under the die when he head-butted the button. He ended up having to sell off his entire shop, since he couldn’t use most of the tools anymore. My dad got a great deal on a bunch of stuff when he was just setting up his own shop. Including the punch press, sans headbutt rig.

I remember another wood chipper incident from nine years ago when a six-year-old boy was pulled into a wood chipper while helping his father.

I sometimes watch “driving fail” videos on YouTube. Apparently nobody in Russia or most of Asia knows how to secure a load on a truck.

When I went for an OSHA certification we watched all sorts of videos of “accidents” and stupid people. Not all were work-related. The most horrific involved electricity.

One video out of India showed a man climb atop an electrified railroad passenger car. Despite screams from people on the ground, he touched the overhead wire. In the blink of an eye was a large flash, boom, and what was once a human was instantly charred something.

Reminiscent of this one:

Bugorski was leaning over the equipment when he stuck his head in the path of the 76 GeV proton beam. Reportedly, he saw a flash “brighter than a thousand suns” but did not feel any pain.[1] The beam passed through the back of his head, the occipital and temporal lobes of his brain, the left middle ear, and out through the left hand side of his nose.

Saw a video on YouTube about that one, where the narrator interrupts to say something along the lines of when he’s using a fork to dig something out of a toaster he at least makes sure the toaster is unplugged so how did this genius come to stick his head in a working particle accelerator…

… but I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.