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Projects Be careful out there.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flynbrian48, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 8,282


    I just read a terrible post on another message board, a thread by a guy who had posted not too long ago about starting a new project. The latest post in the tread was from his son, who relayed that his dad was just killed working on the car when it fell from the jackstands and crushed him.

    Of course, lots of condolances, and I added mine. One said, roughly quoted, "Well, he died doing what he loved." Well, maybe, but while we love working on/under/around our cars, we wouldn't love being crushed by one. I felt awful reading it, and want to just pass on that the hobby we love (avocation for some) can be dangerous, and that foolish, careless, hurried things which we take for granted can have lethal consequences.

    Not in any way to minimize or preach about safety, but it might mean something or make that death be not a total waste and tragedy, if we all stop for a moment and make sure that we've done everything we can to be safe, and not cause our families and friends grief by dying in the garage under an old car. What a shame.

  2. Back when I was in my early 20's -- and had been working on cars since I was 13 . . . and was taught by a couple mentors who ALWAYS preached safety . . . I was in a hurry one day.

    I had a 65 Corvette Stingray that I'd rebuilt from a junker. It was all done, painted and I was ready to head to spring break in Palm Springs. Needed to check a rear muffler hanger -- was in a hurry (dumb ass).

    Put a single bottle jack under the diff (no jack stands) and slid under the car from the side (behind the rear tire). Just tweaked that 1/2" ubolt nut just a bit and the car slid off the jack. I saw it coming down and just braced myself for whatever was going to happen. Thank God it was a glass car - broke about a 4" x 6" piece of the rear fender off on my shoulder. My brother saw the car come down and my legs sticking out from under it and came running over screaming "Dale are you hurt" -- I calmly said in a "pinched voice" . . . 'Just hand me that jack will yah' . . . and extracted myself.

    BIG lesson learned the EASY way! Most accidents are caused when you're in a hurry, don't have TWO safety methods (jack stands and blocks under the wheels), etc.. I am over saftely conscious these days -- just too many ways to lose an eye, hearing, finger, hand, lungs, life, etc . . . usually because of stupidity.

    Take care, plan it right, get the right tools, don't work alone on dangerous things, etc . . . . we all tempt fate a bit much!
  3. A very sad story. I find little comfort in knowing " he died doing what he loved best" I ride a motorcycle and I hear that all the time. Personally, I don't want to die doing what I love best, I want to LIVE doing what I love best!
  4. AZAV8
    Joined: May 3, 2005
    Posts: 997

    from Tucson, AZ

    I appreciate your kind words of concern for all of us.

    Yes, we do need to be careful when we work on our old cars. Myself, I'm in favor of PREACHING safety. You can never stop talking and pushing safety.
    1. Always take the extra minute to check the jackstands to make sure they are placed correctly.
    2. Make sure you have the fire extinguisher within reach when welding.
    3. Check the fire extinguisher to make sure its charged and ready to use.
    4. Make sure your oxygen and acetylene bottles are securely chained to the wall or cart.
    5. Wear your face shield and/or safety glasses.
    6. Get a good welding helmet for your arc/mig/tig welding.
    Translate "good" to mean auto-darkening, major manufacturer, expensive helmet. You only have ONE set of eyes.
    7. Wear heavy comfortable gloves when grinding.
    8. Wear the proper clothing when welding.
    Translate "proper" to be leather welding sleeves, long pants, leather shoes, etc.
    10. Read the instruction manual that came with your new arc/mig/tig/plasma welder before you hook it up.
    11. Have more than one fire extinguisher in the garage.
    12. Use the proper tooling or clamps to hold down the work piece on the drill press table.
    13. Keep the safety guards in place that came with the tool you bought.
    14. De-burr that piece of steel you just cut or drilled.
    15. Replace those cracked/chipped grinding wheels on your grinder TODAY before you use it.
    16. Keep your acetylene bottle stored in the upright position. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER lay it down on its side.

    Who wants to add to the list? Let's keep it going.

  5. I've seen seasoned mechanics get badddd burns from opening rad caps, or guys touching fans with their fingertips while the engine is running, window regulator clocksprings being given no respect, suspension coil springs treated as inanimate objects, you name it.
    Energy and weight can HURT!

    Alot of it is obviously common sense, but I have seen alot of smart guys toss common sense to the curb for convenience reasons over the years...
  6. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834


    I've read lotsa threads like this, and they all seem to have one thing in common..." I was in a hurry, and ..."

    Now when I get in a hurry, the alarm bells (when I'm lucky!) start going off in my head that this is *exactly* how accidents happen...and more likely than not I quit for the day because it's getting too dark outside or whatever.

    When I'm tired its just sooo tempting to take a short cut....
  7. brewsir
    Joined: Mar 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,278


    Exactly the way I feel!
  8. Sobering. I hate reading this kind of stuff but, I think we all need to from time to time.
  9. I don't have a problem with someone preaching safety. No-one needs to die doing what they love. I have a friend that lost an eye using a wire wheel on a grinder, because he didn't bother to put on safey goggles one time. Use common sense, if it can hurt you or kill you, do it a safer way or not at all.
  10. I learned a long time ago to walk away from the shop if I get pissed off at something, feel too tired to concentrate on the task, or don't have everything I need to do that particular task safely.

    About twenty years ago, I had a pickup fall off the stands, just seconds after I came out from under it. I had been under the pickup for close to an hour. When it fell, there was no one around it! And, I was the only one home.

    You can NOT over-emphasize safety.
  11. PurplePearl50
    Joined: Aug 1, 2007
    Posts: 816

    from Sedalia,Mo

    Im always afraid of the car falling so I take more precautions when I jack it up and put it on stand. I use house jacks if its going to be in the air for a while plus regular jack stands too. I figure it the regular jack stand fails the house jack withh be there to hold it up for me to at least get out.and I always keep the jack handle in the jack and have it pumped up the the frame cross member just in case it falls some one can be there and not have to dick with the jack to get it up off me plus I keep a bottle jack under the car with me in close reach incase the other safty catches fail so I can atleast get it up off me to relieve the pressure until I can get more help.
  12. I would add, throw away those cheap jack stands made out of thin gauge metal that looks like exhaust tubing, the ones with the pins that you slide through to set it at various heights. I have seen welds break on those things and seen them buckle and fail under weight that was well within what they were supposed to be able to support. Those things are a death trap and need to be outlawed (where is the Consumer Product Safety Commision when we need them?) Pay a little extra for good quality jack stands, and only use them on a hard flat level surface with wheel chocks on the end opposite the one on jack stands.

    As for a safety goggles, even the cheapest pair you can buy at Wal-Mart can prevent more damage than the best eye surgeon on the planet can fix.
  13. rougebeats
    Joined: Jan 22, 2009
    Posts: 307


    I've scanned quite a few posts on here,and this is the first I've come across devoted strictly to safety. Kudo's on a "friendly reminder" thread!
  14. gnichols
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 11,359

    from Tampa, FL

    In school I had a shop teacher who preached safety. Some of the kids laughed at the idea of removing rings, jewelry, neckties, etc while working in the shop. So the teacher put a necktie on a baseball bat and then allowed the loose ends to wrap up on the lathe. After the bat (ie your neck) was snapped like a twig, no body was laughing anymore. That shop teacher still had all his fingers, too. Gary
  15. RichG
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,919


    That's really sad to hear, but I think you've got it right, we need to hear these things so that the idea of working safely and smartly stays in our heads. I stopped at my mechanics place one time to ask a question, he was working under a car and his air jack suddenly collapsed. He would have been dead if he didn't have a habit of putting the cars tire under the frame rail when working on the front end...

    If I had a dollar for every person I've personally known who's said "Don't worry, I do it like this all the time", and then they died doing just that, well, I'd have $4.

    It's not cool to do stuff unsafely, it's just plain stupid. So unless you're a complete idiot, stop doing stupid stuff and think. Contrary to popular opinion, thinking is pretty cool too.

    I feel for his son, I hope that the guys family is okay and can get through this.:(
  16. Johnny1290
    Joined: Apr 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,834


    I was just gonna mention that! That's one of the better tricks I learned early on.

    EDIT: Now that I think about it, I think I got a clue about safety from working in the oilfield back in the day. You learn *quick* to never get between a rock and a hard place when you're working with those tools, and to *always* plan for the worst.

    Not to mention when you're going to a job site to replace a guy that just got mauled doing the job you'll be doing, it gets you thinking!

    That also where I learned the trick of throwing a wrench into a metal tank when somebody was testing tubing tongs! :D I guess safety was second on those days!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2009
  17. kustoms2
    Joined: Dec 10, 2006
    Posts: 127


    I had an uncle who died this way. He was at the junk yard and had the car lifted with the wrecker winch to get the shift linkage off. His buddy went to get some tires to put under the car, but my uncle couldn't wait for him to get back and climbed under the car. Needless to say his buddy came back to find the car laying on him, the winch had gave out! It pays to slow down and use your head!
  18. Rudebaker
    Joined: Sep 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,598

    from Illinois

    For all you younguns' on here that read this, another one to remember is that cinder blocks do NOT make good jack stands!!! Ask me how I know. I had my '63 Impala on cinder blocks changing rear shocks when a piece of flying concrete and a puff of dust caught my attention, I grabbed the back bumper with both hands and pulled as fast and as hard as I could. I had everything out but my lower legs when the blocks on BOTH sides let go. I was lucky the tires were still on the car, I got a hard smack across my knees from the back bumper as the suspension bottomed out which left some bruises but that was it. That afternoon I caught the Snap On man at the gas station next door and bought a good pair of jack stands. That was 34 years ago, I still have those same stands and use them religiously. I don't go under the car or even get on the ground next to it until I have shaken it as hard as I can to make sure everything is solid either and a couple times the car has slipped off.

    Those cheap sheetmetal ramps are no good either, I had one collapse a few years ago. The composite ones are great though.
  19. lufsdastuf
    Joined: Dec 26, 2006
    Posts: 50

    from Detroit

    With everyone talking about being in a hurry it made me think of a stupid thing I did in the shop once. I was welding some front shock mounts on my buddy’s Pontiac. We welded the shock mounts on fine and were safe but the mistake was when we moved the car back to the paint shop to paint the frame rails and shock mounts. We had the car in the prep deck which has a down draft air filter in the ground. We noticed that one of the shock mounts could use a little more welding so we rolled the welder over to just hit the spot fast. Sparks went down to the dry fiberglass filter below and we instantly had a camp fire under the front of the car. Flames were coming up along side the engine. Luckily we did have a hose near by that I instantly ran for. My buddy went and put it in neutral so we could push it back. I was spraying and he was pushing. The fire chased the car as we pushed it back because the filter burned so fast. We were able to put the fire out but if that hose hadn’t been hooked up or if there was no room to push the car back the entire filter would have been on fire and under the car.
  20. plodge55aqua
    Joined: Jan 4, 2009
    Posts: 1,710

    from Alberta

    Deepest Condolences.. Its Heart breaking to hear of Tragedys such as this.

    I Had a good friend go the same way.. :( ..
  21. Andy
    Joined: Nov 17, 2002
    Posts: 5,149


    Wear gloves when handing chemicals!! Cancer!! You may be OK today and tomorrow but how long do you want to live?
  22. 17. Also remember to "block"at least one of the tires so the car can't roll away as well when jacking it up.
  23. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 8,282


    I hear that. Last spring, I sold my Panhead to finance my Diamond T pickup project and finish the '36. I loved riding it, and it always irritated me to have people regale me with stories of somebody they knew cashing it in on a bike. That's cold comfort to a grieving family member to hear those words.

    Perhaps it's my age, but lately I've noticed that I get emotional over things that would never have affected me before. This story is one of those things, I felt like bawling when I read it, and I've thought about it all day. Perhaps because the guy may have been close to my age, probably because I could relate to the story, and have been injured working on a car, but probably most of all because of the irony of the situation.

    Please, please, please, lets keep in mind "What could possibly go wrong here?", and try to think, be safe, and work smart. It's not worth dying for.

  24. I got so I block a wheel, jack it up, put the jackstand under, put the weight on the jackstand(s), leave the jack under it, then I rock the car and look for trouble before I go under it. If I was in a pinch like an emergency repair, I'd put a wheel and tire under the framerail or some other low point just in case.
  25. Retrorod
    Joined: Jan 25, 2006
    Posts: 2,034


    This car was a total.....the mechanic has been doing this stuff for almost 30 years......he says he doesn't know why the car fell off the hoist but I'm pretty sure he was in a hurry. You can't rush this stuff, luckily in this case no one was hurt but the Corvette owner was absolutely livid.

    Attached Files:

  26. I was at the wrecking yard and hear somebody yelling "HELP ME"

    The guy had jacked up a 4X4 S10, put wheels under the front tires to hold it up. Then he was going to pull the transmission. As soon as the driveshaft came loose the car rolled off the 'jackstand' wheels onto him. I lifted on the bumper and it was just enough for him to slither out. As soon as he came out he had a goose egg the size of a goose egg. Lucky for him, it was a high profile frame.
  27. The Cap'n
    Joined: Apr 28, 2008
    Posts: 117

    The Cap'n
    from Kansas

    I had the back of my daily jacked up with the wheel pulled off to check out the rear suspension a year or so ago. Not long after pulling my head out of the wheel well the wind caught the car just right and it started going down (the fun supportive kind of jack that goes into a hole in the rocker). I got to watch my car slide forward and drag ass across the cement...I was sure glad my head wasn't in the wheel well any more! Safety couldn't be more important...

    A friends dad died when the family mini van crushed him...he didn't block his tires either.
  28. Dynaflash_8
    Joined: Sep 24, 2008
    Posts: 3,037

    from Auburn WA

    i watched an old man airing up a split rim one time, and he was tapping the outside split ring with a hammer to get it to seat, while filling the tire to 45 psi. I walked back really far, and had my phone ready for when that sob blew off.

    It didnt.

    I would never do it myself.
  29. Docco
    Joined: Mar 23, 2007
    Posts: 286

    from Ippy

    I almost had my 56' ford fall on me one afternoon whilst removing a rear spring shackle bolt. I put the stands under the differential instead of the chassis. Luckilly the car just leaned badly to one side and i got out before any damage was done.
    Why? because i was in a hurry and wasn't thinking. Stupid thing is i'm a mechanic and should know better. I couldn't believe my stupiditty!!!! I still shake my head now years later.
  30. striper
    Joined: Mar 22, 2005
    Posts: 4,498


    Horrible stories...all of them. And I know I have a few of my own :(

    One thing that came to mind regarding fire extinguishers...If you're using the dry chem type, you should not only check the gauge periodically but also turn them a couple of times to loosen up the powder. It packs down hard over time and can be ineffective.

    Try it on one that's been stting for 12 months and you'll see what I mean. You turn it upside down and feel nothing, then in a second or two you'll feel the powder drop. Do it a couple of times to loosen it all up.


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