Protection of the stupid. (Workplace Health And Safety)

DrunkenMonkey

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Ihateregistering1 said:
DrunkenMonkey said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
It's the context that you are missing. A cup of hot coffee that inflicts third degree burns upon impact is not the same as licking a knife. Hell it's strange but you know what's weird boiling oil doesn't even burn that fast, and people at least try to watch out for that.
I can't see this context I'm missing:
A knife and a hot cup of coffee are actually quite similar. Both perform a function, but are dangerous if handled improperly. Some improper ways to handle a knife would be to lick it or run around with it. Some improper ways to handle a hot cup of coffee would be to throw it at someone or stick it between your legs. Both would cause injury. I don't consider either one to be grounds for suing the knife or coffee producer.

I equate it to this: have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant and ordered fajitas? You know how they bring them out on a metal plate that is sizzling, with steam coming off of it? If I decided to hold the plate between my legs because, I don't know, I had to make a phone call, should I be able to sue the restaurant if the waiter/waitress didn't explicitly warn me that the sizzling metal plate with hot food on it and steam coming off of it was hot?

To me, this goes back to the concept of what a 'reasonable person' would do, which is cited frequently in court cases. To me, a reasonable person would be intelligent enough not to stick a cup of hot coffee between their legs. Just like a reasonable person would be intelligent enough to not fold up their stroller with a baby in it (yes, there is actually a warning label on it to remind you to remove your baby) or not to drive by looking at your GPS and not look at the road.

Also, it doesn't inflict 3rd degree burns "on impact" (it's not napalm). The reason it burned the woman so bad was because 1: She was 79, so she didn't exactly move quickly, and 2: she was wearing cotton sweatpants, which absorbed the liquid and held it against her skin.
The context or the point, if you will, that you are missing is that coffee by and large is not supposed to inflict third degree burns. Society *did not associate hot coffee with third degree burns. When somebody orders a cup of joe and it's hot. A normal person would assume that if they get scalded. It will be, worst case scenario a light second degree burn.

Which is painful, but ultimately completely manageable. I'll admit on impact is in correct, but between 3-7 seconds is pretty much there. It will take about a second to register that your legs are on fire and the rest of the time to react. By that time the burns are already inflicted, cotton pants or not.

Anyways moving on, the point I'm trying to make is that "hot" coffee does not bring to mind the same level of danger to the flesh as a knife, or even a car crash possibility. What happened proved that there actually exists that level of danger besides the quote that I posted earlier clearly stated that McDonalds themselves admitted that customers are unaware of how hot the coffee is.

edit: *did not associate
This was an accident, not solely out of stupidity as this thread is covering. The fault primarily lies with McDonalds for making their coffee too damn hot, and not providing a container solid enough to hold it. And to respond to an earlier statement, yes McDonalds did not lower the temperature, but at least they hand out sturdier containers.
 

Pink Gregory

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You say that it's about stupidity, but accidents do happen.

Then again, I work with garden machinery, so I haven't personally had to deal with the 'adjusting your chair' H&S things.
 

Strazdas

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Fatboy_41 said:
Firstly, some background...

I'm an electrician. I have been in construction for just on 10 years now.
Well, you see, here is the problem. You have been doing it for 10 years, and you know those instructions by heart. but if i were to come and start working for the first time, i sure as hell would like to know all of them told to me. (no such luck though, when i worked construction we had exactly 0 safety instructions). They are nto for you, they are there for those who hear them the first time.

As for ladders, ladders are very dangerous things. its safer to stand on a chair than on a ladder.

Esotera said:
When I was working as a software tester we had to watch a 2 hour video and complete a quiz about how to correctly view a screen and use a keyboard. I can see why they'd want to do a bit of health & safety for electrics/construction but having it in an office setting is just ridiculous.
They basically sent us an email and told us to read on computer of how to work with comptuer safely. whats even more crazy is there are actually health hazard warnings on keyboards. like really, keyboard is going to kill me now?

shootthebandit said:
But surely it mustve said "caution: contents may be hot" on the cup. As we all know warning labels are like a shield against any danger
If i remmeber correctly this case have introduced these labels pretty much everywhere so the sue wouldnt repeat.
 

Kolby Jack

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Everybody is stupid sometimes. It's likely someday one or more of those safety features will save you or someone you know (and don't think is stupid) and then you'll be grateful.
 

Griffolion

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Fatboy_41 said:
I guess we have to remember that the companies put these ridiculous restrictions in place because they want to make sure they're absolutely covered in a court of law in case something does happen.

What needs to happen is western culture becoming less sue-heavy. But I agree that people lacking in common sense shouldn't be allowed in these situations, either.

You'd be surprised the lack of regulation and restriction I have in my job (barman at a hotel for weddings/functions). I'm fairly sure a good number of health and safety codes (and I'm in the UK, we more or less wrote the book on unrealistically stupid health and safety regs) are ignored every time I'm there for the sake of speed. At the induction to my job, we had a two hour session on various health and safety things, all basic for the services industry, but that was it.

I suppose the up side to my story is that my team and I are all fairly switched on. We just get on with stuff, and have a decent time doing it.
 

Stasisesque

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Angie7F said:
I dunno, everyday electric appliance warnings make me wonder what idiot will use a hair dryer for uses other than drying their hair.
Have you never had a really shitty freezer that you've needed to defrost because it's 99% ice and no longer working? That's where a hair-dryer comes in handy.
 

Tiger King

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Stasisesque said:
Angie7F said:
I dunno, everyday electric appliance warnings make me wonder what idiot will use a hair dryer for uses other than drying their hair.
Have you never had a really shitty freezer that you've needed to defrost because it's 99% ice and no longer working? That's where a hair-dryer comes in handy.
Last time I de-iced a freezer I just chiseled the worst out and left it outside to defrost. It was a fairly warm day though so it made sense to rather than get the hair dryer out :p
 

Tiger King

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oliver.begg said:
best i ever saw was working in a welding shop.

we had MIG and TIG units that would throw you across the room after putting 3 phase power through your ass, and grinders that would go through you gloves, skin muscle and bone like butter. now all that really dangerous gear had SOP's that made sense (like don't leave the fucking chuck key in the lathe set to 4000RPM), but the induction was 3 hours, and if your not sure don't fucking touch.

i then went into the office and the induction their was 8 hours on the dangers of papercuts, and triping. thats shit that the supposed blue collar thickos didn't even think about because its common sense, or a case of drink a cup of concrete and harden the fuck up
Yeah dude, you gotta check them welder cables! Lots of juice running through them.
One thing I noticed with welding safety is that welding fumes are largely ignored, the amount of places I've seen with no extraction or masks to avoid breathing in metal is outrageous!

That's when health and safety laws are good because some employers, too tight to buy the safety equipment, will all to readily brush the risks off and say 'oh just open a window or something'
 

EternallyBored

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The problem is that there are shitty people on all sides of the equation that cause these somewhat ridiculous standards to be needed rather than just being common sense.

On one end you've got some really stupid people out there that actually do need to be told these things repeatedly, if even one person can avoid an accident by watching a video on how to lift boxes properly that can literally save a company millions of dollars a year in disability and medical claims. Training videos are cheap, medical bills (especially in the U.S.) are not. While the office safety videos can seem silly to a person who actually works in a legitimately dangerous environment, they exist because safer seeming environments tend to lure people into a false sense of security, especially when it comes to long term and repetitive movement injuries. People tend to be acutely aware around something like a live wire that can lethally shock them, nobody goes to work in an office and thinks about developing carpal tunnel or throwing their back out lifting a box of office supplies. Human beings are terrible when it comes to thinking in the long term, that's why things like smoking and fast food are still popular despite often causing massive medical problems down the road, people need videos on computer use and box lifting because we can't conceptualize long term injuries nearly as well as an immediate danger that can kill or maim us on the spot. Workplace accidents have also been on the decline over the years so as silly as it may seem these videos and training days do seem to work.

Another factor is litigation, between employees willing to fake an injury or milk any injury for the maximum payout, and lawyers willing to prosecute anything brought before them for a quick buck, an employer is far more willing to spend a couple thousand to disseminate a silly training video than risk millions in a law suit even if they win. That's sort of the rub here, even if a company wins their lawsuit they have already wasted thousands to millions of dollars on lawyer and legal fees. These videos no matter how silly allow an employer to go back and say, "see our employee should have known this we spent an entire 8 hour day on training for it".

On the flipside, employers themselves are often looking for ways to save any money possible and without stringent regulations, will start cutting corners left and right if they think they can get away with it (hell, they still do and will often just eat the fines to keep saving money on cutting corners with safety). This does hurt honest businessmen that do care about their employees, but the dishonest ones will truly do some horrible unethical things in order to make a quick buck. We are less than 100 years removed from a time in the U.S. where safety regulation was pretty much up to an individual companies discretion, and those companies did some horrible things in the name of profit, often maiming employees for life and dumping them on the streets with no compensation or care. The current standards may seem silly and overblown, but I'll take 8 hours in an office boardroom learning how to use ladders over how things used to be any day of the week.

That said, yeah some of the training and regulations can go overboard at times, and anyone with 2 braincells to rub together probably won't need them.
 

DataSnake

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Ihateregistering1 said:
I can't see this context I'm missing:
A knife and a hot cup of coffee are actually quite similar. Both perform a function, but are dangerous if handled improperly. Some improper ways to handle a knife would be to lick it or run around with it. Some improper ways to handle a hot cup of coffee would be to throw it at someone or stick it between your legs. Both would cause injury. I don't consider either one to be grounds for suing the knife or coffee producer.
You expect a knife to be sharp enough to inflict serious lacerations. You usually DON'T expect coffee to be hot enough to inflict THIRD DEGREE BURNS. This is because coffee is meant to be safe for human consumption and knives aren't.
 

Ihateregistering1

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DrunkenMonkey said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
DrunkenMonkey said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
It's the context that you are missing. A cup of hot coffee that inflicts third degree burns upon impact is not the same as licking a knife. Hell it's strange but you know what's weird boiling oil doesn't even burn that fast, and people at least try to watch out for that.
I can't see this context I'm missing:
A knife and a hot cup of coffee are actually quite similar. Both perform a function, but are dangerous if handled improperly. Some improper ways to handle a knife would be to lick it or run around with it. Some improper ways to handle a hot cup of coffee would be to throw it at someone or stick it between your legs. Both would cause injury. I don't consider either one to be grounds for suing the knife or coffee producer.

I equate it to this: have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant and ordered fajitas? You know how they bring them out on a metal plate that is sizzling, with steam coming off of it? If I decided to hold the plate between my legs because, I don't know, I had to make a phone call, should I be able to sue the restaurant if the waiter/waitress didn't explicitly warn me that the sizzling metal plate with hot food on it and steam coming off of it was hot?

To me, this goes back to the concept of what a 'reasonable person' would do, which is cited frequently in court cases. To me, a reasonable person would be intelligent enough not to stick a cup of hot coffee between their legs. Just like a reasonable person would be intelligent enough to not fold up their stroller with a baby in it (yes, there is actually a warning label on it to remind you to remove your baby) or not to drive by looking at your GPS and not look at the road.

Also, it doesn't inflict 3rd degree burns "on impact" (it's not napalm). The reason it burned the woman so bad was because 1: She was 79, so she didn't exactly move quickly, and 2: she was wearing cotton sweatpants, which absorbed the liquid and held it against her skin.
edit: *did not associate
This was an accident, not solely out of stupidity as this thread is covering. The fault primarily lies with McDonalds for making their coffee too damn hot, and not providing a container solid enough to hold it. And to respond to an earlier statement, yes McDonalds did not lower the temperature, but at least they hand out sturdier containers.
Well, we're simply going to have to agree to disagree on this one. For starters, Mickey D's coffee was no hotter than many other places that made coffee at the time and conformed to industry standards, so it was not "too damn hot" from either a comparative sense or legal stance. The cup may have been flimsy, but it wasn't like the cup burst open, it tipped over into her lap, which could have happened even if it was twice as thick. And sorry, but someone doing something incredibly stupid and injuring themselves with an inanimate object does not put the fault on the producer of the inanimate object. If the cup exploded or something along those lines then yes, because clearly the product was defective, but it didn't. This was someone who did something incredibly stupid and didn't want to take responsibility for it, so she went after the big evil Corporation so she could make money, and she succeeded.
 

SquidSponge

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DataSnake said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
I can't see this context I'm missing:
A knife and a hot cup of coffee are actually quite similar. Both perform a function, but are dangerous if handled improperly. Some improper ways to handle a knife would be to lick it or run around with it. Some improper ways to handle a hot cup of coffee would be to throw it at someone or stick it between your legs. Both would cause injury. I don't consider either one to be grounds for suing the knife or coffee producer.
You expect a knife to be sharp enough to inflict serious lacerations. You usually DON'T expect coffee to be hot enough to inflict THIRD DEGREE BURNS. This is because coffee is meant to be safe for human consumption and knives aren't.
The essence of this argument, if I'm not mistaken, is "how dangerous is dangerous?".

So you didn't expect it to cause third degree burns. But you knew it could cause burns. I know my pocket knife is blunt as hell, I still wouldn't lick it for a dare.

I would contend that if you're aware something is dangerous, the assumed magnitude of danger is utterly irrelevant - you should treat it with respect regardless. It's the same reason you shouldn't point a firearm at anything you don't intend to shoot even if you know it's not loaded - because it's stupid, it's unnecessary and most importantly, you could be mistaken. "Better to be safe than sorry".

Which isn't to say MacDonalds are completely blameless here, fact is they shouldn't heat it that much, but 80% of the fault here is knowing something is hot enough to be painful and sticking it between yer legs anyway. To rephrase, MD could've prevented it, but it was still the customer's fault/responsibility.
 

DrunkenMonkey

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Ihateregistering1 said:
DrunkenMonkey said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
DrunkenMonkey said:
Ihateregistering1 said:
It's the context that you are missing. A cup of hot coffee that inflicts third degree burns upon impact is not the same as licking a knife. Hell it's strange but you know what's weird boiling oil doesn't even burn that fast, and people at least try to watch out for that.
I can't see this context I'm missing:
A knife and a hot cup of coffee are actually quite similar. Both perform a function, but are dangerous if handled improperly. Some improper ways to handle a knife would be to lick it or run around with it. Some improper ways to handle a hot cup of coffee would be to throw it at someone or stick it between your legs. Both would cause injury. I don't consider either one to be grounds for suing the knife or coffee producer.

I equate it to this: have you ever been to a Mexican restaurant and ordered fajitas? You know how they bring them out on a metal plate that is sizzling, with steam coming off of it? If I decided to hold the plate between my legs because, I don't know, I had to make a phone call, should I be able to sue the restaurant if the waiter/waitress didn't explicitly warn me that the sizzling metal plate with hot food on it and steam coming off of it was hot?

To me, this goes back to the concept of what a 'reasonable person' would do, which is cited frequently in court cases. To me, a reasonable person would be intelligent enough not to stick a cup of hot coffee between their legs. Just like a reasonable person would be intelligent enough to not fold up their stroller with a baby in it (yes, there is actually a warning label on it to remind you to remove your baby) or not to drive by looking at your GPS and not look at the road.

Also, it doesn't inflict 3rd degree burns "on impact" (it's not napalm). The reason it burned the woman so bad was because 1: She was 79, so she didn't exactly move quickly, and 2: she was wearing cotton sweatpants, which absorbed the liquid and held it against her skin.
edit: *did not associate
This was an accident, not solely out of stupidity as this thread is covering. The fault primarily lies with McDonalds for making their coffee too damn hot, and not providing a container solid enough to hold it. And to respond to an earlier statement, yes McDonalds did not lower the temperature, but at least they hand out sturdier containers.
Well, we're simply going to have to agree to disagree on this one. For starters, Mickey D's coffee was no hotter than many other places that made coffee at the time and conformed to industry standards, so it was not "too damn hot" from either a comparative sense or legal stance. The cup may have been flimsy, but it wasn't like the cup burst open, it tipped over into her lap, which could have happened even if it was twice as thick. And sorry, but someone doing something incredibly stupid and injuring themselves with an inanimate object does not put the fault on the producer of the inanimate object. If the cup exploded or something along those lines then yes, because clearly the product was defective, but it didn't. This was someone who did something incredibly stupid and didn't want to take responsibility for it, so she went after the big evil Corporation so she could make money, and she succeeded.
Last post, and I promise I'll stop, it's my assumption that she put the cup in between her thighs, like a vice grip. You know to keep the cup steady while she poured stuff into it. But because it was flimsy the cup couldn't hold itself together and thus split. I don't think she was doing a balancing act
 

Helen Jones

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I have in my final years of school been advised in a lesson on how to do research - to read from left to right and to wear glasses if I need them.

OT- My dad in his job has had a time where he needed to order new chairs for the office, and for people over a certain weight would need to get them special supportive chairs to satisfy H&S. However he was not, god forbid, allowed to ask anyone what they weighed.
He guessed.
 

Vegosiux

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Maiev Shadowsong said:
People have an amazing ability to convince themselves something will never happen to them because they don't want to think about it. It's blissful ignorance. It's why people need to have it hammered into them not to do dumb shit.
I doubt any reasonable person thinks they're immortal. Especially when it comes to something long-term like smoking when there are just so many more factors in play (stress, weight, diet, etc.).

Then again, reading about what kind of stupid stuff people do now and then...
 

OneCatch

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Esotera said:
When I was working as a software tester we had to watch a 2 hour video and complete a quiz about how to correctly view a screen and use a keyboard. I can see why they'd want to do a bit of health & safety for electrics/construction but having it in an office setting is just ridiculous.
When I was in tech support the team leaders used to periodically get an edict from up high to make us do warm up exercises to stop us getting DVT. Which turned into a running joke because the of the amount of time we'd spend haring around the office anyway.
And if we got any kind of injury at all, or if the most trivial piece of equipment stopped working we were supposed to complete a form with all kinds of addendums and subsections - it was like a fucking welfare form or university application or something. And the reporting requirements were downright ridiculous: Stubbed toe? Have a form. Keyboard broken? Here's another. Chair not reclining? Have a third.
Not that we ever actually finished them - there was almost a kind of black market where departments would pinch keyboards and mice and stuff from each other to avoid the dreaded forms.
 

Nielas

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SquidSponge said:
Which isn't to say MacDonalds are completely blameless here, fact is they shouldn't heat it that much, but 80% of the fault here is knowing something is hot enough to be painful and sticking it between yer legs anyway. To rephrase, MD could've prevented it, but it was still the customer's fault responsibility.
Actually in that case the jury said that the woman was 20% at fault for sticking the cup between her legs. The jurors would later state that they ruled against McDonalds because the trial was the first time they became aware how dangerous a spill of coffee that hot could be. Up to that point they thought that at most you would get light burns. That is what they used for their 'reasonable person' comparison.
 

MCerberus

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Ihateregistering1 said:
Oh, and also, McDonald's coffee is still served at the same temperature (or hotter) than when Ms. Firecrotch burned herself, so her suit didn't do anything except make her and her lawyers rich.
Wasn't that lawsuit was mostly about the staff laughing at her and not calling an ambulance for the third-degree burns?
 

Guffe

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It's the same as with everything else. In proper doses everything is good, too much and it just gets silly/bad.
Health and safety is good, especially in line of work where stuff can happen (electrician, builder, police, firefighter etc etc) but too much isn't good either.
And also one point you said is something I have really been getting a bit tired of, common sense, people are being treated like they can't think for themselves at all today, which is silly!
 

Naeras

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Usually, these kinds of rules and regulations aren't even "protection for stupid people". It's more of a "protection from people who forget something that they shouldn't have forgotten". Most people know basic HSE-rules, but since people are, well, people, they occasionally forget what they should be doing to prevent injuries. I've done so myself, resulting in me spilling sulfuric acid all over my arm while I was at the lab, just because I forgot to check the bottle properly.

That being said, I just got out of a week-long HSE-course that was mandatory for me to take my Master's Degree. Most of these things had been covered in previous courses(or by common sense), and every once in a while the lecturer stopped to say "OMG GUYS ISNT HSE AWESOME?!?!!!1"