Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hard To Believe This Could Happen

A Yale student died of "asphyxia due to neck compression" when a lathe she was operating grabbed her hair.  (And probably one of the prettiest operators of a lathe in recent history.)  The lathe that I have is not very powerful--and I do not have long hair.  It is a sobering reminder that when operating any power machinery, you darn well better be careful.  No loose clothing.  No loose jewelry.  Have your hair short, in a bun, or otherwise somewhere that it can't get in spinning machinery.  One of my sisters, when quite young, had an unfortunate accident with a mixer and one of her braids--but a mixer is nothing like a powerful lathe.


  1. If I remember correctly, when I was in 9th grade, one of my fellow students told a story of someone who was operating a lathe wearing a ring, and somehow the ring was caught, ripping the finger and some length of tendon out of the unfortunate man's arm. I don't know if any effort was made to reattach it, but the upshot of the story was that the supervisor and manager took the finger, made a big coil of the tendon, and photographed it as a warning to others. That's also why depending on the operation, work gloves are cloth or leather, with the presumption that if cloth catches in machinery it will cinch and bunch up, while leather won't, and might tear.

  2. My heart goes to the family of the student.

    When I took a machining class to see if I would like it, my teacher warned us that "the lathe will kill you". We were using big engine lathes in the shop.

    He said that the person who taught him machining died because he was wearing gloves; apparently he also had pictures of someone that was literally torn in half by a lathe (I never saw the pictures).

    I'd like to get a small Sherline lathe; while it's difficult to see how something like that could kill you, I don't think I'd want to take any chances!

  3. And don't assume latex gloves will tear. Something they warn us about at Boeing. They won't before they will drag your hand into machinery, like a Quackenbush drill.