Safety Meeting
February 1, 2020 1:55 PM   Subscribe

"We have safety meetings every Monday and Friday after lunch. Statistically, most accidents happen right after lunch, so the idea is to talk about it before it happens, as if talking is a kind of protective spell, a hex against fiery death, or crushing death, or the whirring blades of amputation, or decapitation. Every accident is preventable, will be said during the hex, and it will be believed too."
An excerpt from 'Work' by Bud Smith.
posted by kaibutsu (21 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
Further proof that siesta rules.
posted by clavdivs at 2:34 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Thanks, that was an enjoyable read, I like his voice. We get that same “every accident is preventable” spiel at work as well, it’s not consistent with my experience of the world either. Also, if anyone else is confused by “propane and teal”, it’s referring to triethylaluminium (TEAL).
posted by doctord at 2:39 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

Thank you for sharing that, kaibutsu! Wow. And the way the stories of his past and present intersect when his mom is teaching him to hit a ball -- amazing.
posted by brainwane at 2:56 PM on February 1

Great writing. A real treat, thanks.
posted by Splunge at 3:38 PM on February 1

Ooh that's good.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:41 PM on February 1

"Having a safety meeting" was a euphanism with my wife's coworkers to go smoke pot...
posted by Windopaene at 3:44 PM on February 1 [30 favorites]

Wait, there are “safety meetings” that don’t involve getting blazed?? Guess it’s time to go RTFA.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 4:00 PM on February 1 [11 favorites]

Heh, 'safety meeting' is what our facilities folks call happy hour.
posted by look busy at 4:00 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

I can't make it through the injuries to find the reference that was ITFA.
posted by Windopaene at 4:44 PM on February 1

That was great, thank you.
posted by PMdixon at 5:27 PM on February 1

This was terrific, especially what he had to say about art.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:59 PM on February 1

I didn't think it was possible but suddenly I miss working on construction sites.
posted by lepus at 7:25 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

It seems several of you were participants in my long-time roommate's meetings. It's always nice when the boss is supportive of the regular safety meetings, as he was. There never was a workman's comp claim on his watch, so he must have been doing something right..
posted by wierdo at 7:28 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed reading that. I am pretty sure I worked at the same factory his mom did for a while back in the late 80s.
posted by Orlop at 9:33 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]

This is great.
posted by freethefeet at 1:17 PM on February 2

« For one million safe work man hours, they bought us pizza. For two million safe work man hours we get pizza and breadsticks. »

Are those consecutive, as in "hours since last injury"? If so, those rewards should be exponential, not sublinear!
posted by Belostomatidae at 1:52 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]

This is interesting. I'm convinced to buy the book.

(The m-80 story, though, I don't buy. I've seen kids do enough stupid things with gunpowder and firecrackers when I was young to doubt it was an accident in exactly that sense. But, I'm sure it's the story they told their parents.)
posted by eotvos at 4:25 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]

That's good stuff. It reminds me of Ben Hamper's book "Rivethead" about working on the car line in Michigan.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:13 AM on February 6

@Belostomatidae, I don't think those hours are consecutive in that sense because a million hours is something like 115 years. It probably means a million hours of work, shared by everyone at the plant. So assuming there's around 500-600 people working at the plant, each working 8-hour days, they're probably getting one of these parties a year. Which still sucks!
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 9:40 AM on February 13

By consecutive I meant "no interruptions", not consecutive-for-a-single-person. We don't know the situation, but a million hours across 200 people working 8 hour days would be 1 year and 9 months. That long without a single reportable injury would be pretty great!

If they had 1 million safe work hours and 20,000 unsafe work hours interspersed among those, that would be less impressive. :-)

If you assume that injuries happen with random distribution, then it is much harder to get an Mean Time Between Injuries of 1 year than 1 month. (I haven't done the math, but the words "geometric" and "polynomial" come to mind). But their rewards were growing less than linearly!
posted by Belostomatidae at 8:59 AM on February 15

Reminded me of "On High Steel" by Mike Cherry. I first read that in high school as a Readers Digest Condensed Book and later found it at a library. Lots of cleanly written stories and occasional insights from an ironworker in NYC. Like this, a simple look into another life.
posted by Cris E at 10:09 AM on February 27

« Older “I’m having a really good day today.”   |   Malinda Russell, Lena Richard, Edna Lewis, Leah... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments