Who Is Responsible For Your Safety?

We recently posted a video where some ingenious metal-shop hackers made a simple jig to create zig-zag oil grooves on the inside of a cylinder, and the comment section went wild. What ensued was a flood of complaints that the video displayed unsafe shop practices, from lack of safety glasses to wearing flip-flops while operating a lathe.

Where the comments went off the rails were people asking Hackaday to remove our discussion of the video, because the commenters thought that we were somehow implicitly encouraging open-toed footwear in the presence of machine tools. We certainly weren’t! We wanted you all to see the clever machining hack, and be inspired to build your own. We figure that you’ve got the safety angle covered.

Now don’t get me wrong – there were safety choices made in the video that I would not personally make. But it also wasn’t my shop and I wasn’t operating the machines. And you know who is ultimately responsible for the safety in my basement shop? Me! And guess who is responsible for safety in your shop.

But of course, none of us know everything about every possible hazard. (Heck, I wrote just that a few weeks ago!) So while we’re sympathetic with the “that’s not safe!” crew, we’re not going to censor inspiring hacks just because something done along the way wasn’t done in the way we would do it. Instead, it’s our job, in the comment section as in Real Life™, to help each other out and share our good safety tips when we can.

You’ll see some crazy stuff in videos, and none of it is to be repeated without thinking. And if you do see something dodgy, by all means point it out, and mention how you would do it better. Turn the negative example around for good, rather than calling for its removal. Use the opportunity to help, rather than hide.

But also remember that when the chips are flying toward your personal eyeballs, it’s up to you to have glasses on. We all do potentially hazardous things all the time, and it’s best to be thinking about the risks and their mitigation. So stay safe out there. Keep on learning and keep on hacking!

182 thoughts on “Who Is Responsible For Your Safety?

  1. +1

    It seems to me that the bubblewrapped youth of today clearly has little understanding for the importance of allowing Darwin to weed out the weak individuals from the gene pool. And perhaps some people are so used to being told what to think and do, that they naturally start doing it themselves.

      1. Did you know you can make an amazing cleaning solution by mixing bleach and ammonia?

        The reaction is inhibited by light, so do it in the smallest, darkest room you have access to.

        You’re going to want a lot of this, so use large containers.

        1. A joke that might lead to actual injury is in pretty poor taste but I do think this is an excellent example of the point I wanted to make.

          After spending a pandemic watching the world’s least appetizing orange pushup who somehow managed to become the temporary leader of 380,000,000 people hawk anti-malarial drugs as a miracle anti-virus and tell us all to inject ourselves with bleach all while his followers spread anti-vax conspiracy theories and OD’d on horse medicine many of us are understandably probably a little over-sensitized to bad medical and safety advice.

          That being said we might all benefit from a reminder that showing a video or writing an article about someone doing or making a thing is NOT the same as declaring that their safety practices are worthy of emulation. Sometimes you can learn to make a widget by watching someone make a widget and apply your own superior safety knowledge to run your own shop. If the HaD article was about safety and used the If only hacks that are performed with an OSHA approved procedure were allowed to be shown then there wouldn’t be much left to see.

    1. +3

      Pointing out what is unsafe and how it should be done is a good idea.

      Pointing out what is bad practice and how it should be done is a good idea.

      Pointing out what is a stupid methode and how it should be done is a good idea.

      1. Eh, people go overboard with safety these days. Would I do the things listed above in a shop? Probably not.
        But I know I would get blasted for not wearing a helmet while I leisurely ride a bike too.

    2. ” It seems to me that the bubblewrapped youth of today ” Good one!!!
      I wish I could turn off all the youth’s phones for two weeks, and just sit back and watch the madness.
      in the end some will choose the red pill, and others the blue.

      1. That got me thinking about peanuts.
        Most children (in the USA) are deathly afraid of peanuts, because they have been brain washed by teachers and parents that peanuts are deadly.
        Yes, they are harmful to a small percentage of the population, but good nutrition for most. If a child is not allergic to peanuts, totally avoiding them has shown to develop reactions within a couple of years.
        Just because some people are allergic to penicillin (or cat or dog dander) why should everybody be denied access to them?

        1. Pretty sure you can still buy and eat peanuts. The issue is that for a small minority of people, it will literally kill them. So trying to balance that isn’t super easy. But basic steps like telling people who bother or need to check that there are peanuts inside a food item goes a long way to both protect the minority of people who would have really, really bad reactions and the majority of people who just want some peanuts.

          I don’t think most people are deathly afraid of peanuts unless they are, well, actually deathly afraid of peanuts. Also disagree that simply not consuming peanuts for a few years automatically causes reactions.

          Penicillin is also widely available and yes, some people can have reactions to that as well. Does that mean nobody should take it?

          1. “Also disagree that simply not consuming peanuts for a few years automatically causes reactions.”

            I don’t have the resource available, but IIRC, it was a study of children both with and without peanut allergies. One group totally avoided peanuts for the length of the study (2 years?) And the other (maybe all non-allergic) ate peanuts 🥜 on a regular basis. At the end of study, there was little change in the peanut eating group. But in the peanut avoiding group there were some who developed the allergy during the study.
            But I agree, you are free to disagree.

        2. On Thursday, for the second time, I was on a flight where the cabin crew announced that someone on board had a peanut allergy, so could everyone else refrain from so much as opening a container with peanuts in it.
          Obviously my right to eat a peanut is less important than someone else’s right to live. And anyone would make this request if they thought their child’s safety depended on it. But… by this logic, peanuts should just be illegal, along with shellfish, toothpicks, stairs, and anything else that could potentially kill anyone ever.
          (Also: do airlines autoclave their cabins between flights?)

          1. Basically, an airplane cabin full of people rustling on bags of peanuts will float enough peanut dust. People will eat peanuts, grab the handles on seats and overhead lockers, headrests, etc. and transfer the dust on the person with the allergy.

          2. If you know your allergic to something that is pretty much everywhere, carry a flippin’ Epi-pen .
            When I was a kid in school there were peanuts everywhere and nobody even heard of anyone being allergic to them. I don’t think it was until maybe the 80s that we were all made sensitive to the fact that some people might be allergic and then everyone went overboard and started shielding their kids from them, which, of course, created a whole generation of people with no tolerance for them!
            It wasn’t until about ten years ago that pediatricians announced that this was likely the case and stopped vehemently recommending a peanut free childhood. They also claimed that they were able to desensitize some people through a gradual, increasing exposure.
            Kids that grow up on farms, eating dirt, playing in filth, etc., don’t generally develop a lot of allergies.
            We rode skateboards, and mini bikes, we got in fights and came home with skinned knees, or fat lips. We climbed trees, or spent all day messing around in the creek, and came home muddy and soaking wet. There are kids in my neighborhood, but I never see them outside after they come home from school. They just disappear inside to go play Minecraft or Roblox or whatever. And you watch the news every evening and wonder how we have all these socially dysfunctional adults with a sense of entitlement who lash out, or want to litigate every imagined infraction.

            ‘Scuse me for ranting.
            Now get off my lawn and go back to your hermetically sealed Nerf bubble!

          3. > carry a flippin’ Epi-pen .

            You do. Still, having to stab yourself with adrenaline is not a day gone well, and it is just a first response measure. You still need medical attention afterwards.

          4. They don’t have to swallow peanuts. See allergies are so severe that touching peanut pill triggers them. So someone eats some peanuts, goes to the bathroom, person with allergy touches the same door handle to the bathroom and has an allergic reaction to the residue.

    3. Seems to me getting into blaming age groups for various problems is a losing battle for the older generations. First, they’re the ones that raised these supposedly flawed kids, and second, they’ve by definition had a lot more time to accrue mistakes.

      Basically everything wrong with the world today is inherently the fault of people over 30 ;)

        1. I agree, 50s and up are the problem. I’m still waiting for my turn at the top, and I thought it would have come by now. I’m starting to think it never will. It’s almost as if it’s really just a few people screwing everything up for the rest of us.

    4. I’m just going to point out the modern bubble wrap has these continuous bubbles that make it frigg’in unpopable! Can you imagine growing up without pop-able bubble wrap? Just saying….

  2. This reminds me of all the fractal burning videos that YouTube and other social media platforms have been removing. It’s better to show unsafe practices and allow a conversation (like in the comments section) about how and why it is unsafe than to censor unsafe practices and let some kid generate an idea on their own.

    1. That assumes that there will be a conversation, though. Here in the Hackaday comments, there’s enough metal workers and shop nerds to know that hot chips + eyeballs = pain. On Youtube, if a channel that normally makes fancy things by glueing glitter to cardboard boxes all of a sudden decides to go into fractal burning… not so much.

          1. Of course they work well – until they don’t. PVC is somewhat safe under certain conditions, and not at all under others. Amateurs can’t tell the difference because they don’t know what they’re dealing with.

      1. I think the other big difference is that the vast majority of people with access to a lathe have already gained a fair bit of experience with metalworking tools which informs their approach to keeping safe. Many people trying fractal burning have never had any experience of high voltage. A high voltage, relatively high current supply with lots of conductive fluid around is not the ideal first experiment. Hard to learn from your mistakes when the first one you make kills you.

  3. I fully support this author. I am responsible for my own safety. If I don’t like your attitude to safety, I am going to move away from you. In the workplace, I may report you if your attitude puts me at risk.

    Having said that, sometimes the right thing has unforeseen benefits. I was wearing a full face shield while using a wire brush on an angle grinder because I don’t like having bits of wire stuck in my face. I have never figured out what the brush caught on – I was removing loose rust from a flat piece of steel. I have a badly scuffed face shield and a pull over sweater with the belly ripped up. (the sweater stalled the angle grinder) If I had been using just a pair of goggles, I figured I would have jumped when the brush hit my nose and lip. I was 6 feet up an 8 foot step ladder. Without the face shield, I would have been on the ground with bad injuries and the grinder doing its own thing somewhere.

    1. @ Bruce I was using an 8 inch bench grinder with a wire wheel and knew too well the hazards of little wires shooting off the wheel. I was wearing a full face shield and the typicall 80% polyester 20% cotton work uniform. One of the little wires shot out and went through the front zipper portion of the pants and stuck in me in the place where no man wants to get stuck with wire. From that day forward it was full face shield and leather apron. Live and learn.

      1. I managed to shoot myself in the wrist once with a brush wire, gap between gloves and cuff of heavy overalls. It must be Murphy dicking me around because only time I got any dollop of nasty fluids in my eye was when wearing safety googles with side guards and it went up between the guard and my cheek. Then the only time I have had a major split on a wood lathe, full face mask, gloves, sturdy apron, it went high, 5 strap headpiece on the face mask, almost as much coverage as some bicycle helmets, and it found a segment of head between those and tried to scalp me.

          1. Or just supply them with ‘safety squints’ alone – sounds like that works…

            Sods law is like that though, but partly because do something enough no protective equipment is going to keep you safe, there is that 1:very large number chance of a failure, and when it does fail it tends to be more impactful mentally as there was that assumption of invulnerability, so it really gets noticed. Where with lesser safety gear all the minior basically harmless scuffs you pick up are expected, keep your mind focused on the potential dangers – so you are less likely to put yourself in a riskier zone to get a better view, and that one slightly nastier incident where the protective gear might have entirely prevented injury don’t seem so shocking against that backdrop of minor ‘injury’.

          2. Yeah, I’d say in general the safety kit has shrugged off a number of minor incidents where you might barely have broken skin or it stung a little. It’s also true that in the sitch of “Yeah I’m just gonna do this quick…” you do it at full extended arms lengh, full squint deployed, rather than leaning in to see better. (Which frankly is often forced because masks/goggles get so scratched up from kicking around, that you’re tryna see through a “fog”)

            Most impressive, not actual safety kit save though was when a metal strapping strap around some material broke when I was standing right next to it. Heard it bang and whistle as it came at me, and maybe jerked my chin down. Went half an inch into the peak of a ball cap I was wearing which saved my face. Also two other occasions which didn’t seem to require safety gear a cap saved my face, one with a branch and one with some lumber falling and hitting the end of another 2×2 which stood up like stepping on a rake and went for me.

    2. I was angle grinding with safety glasses and a face mask. A piece of grit from the disc went under the lower edge of the glasses where the mask was pushing them away from my face and got embedded in my eyeball.
      I realised it was grit after a strong magnet would not pull it out.
      My wife drove me to hospital where an eye specialist put my head in a frame and with a strong light that pivoted across the device from side to side managed to dig the thing out of my eyeball. It was an unpleasant experience.

      There are plenty of YouTube metalworking channels where compressed air is used to blow chips off the workpiece, an unsafe practice. Many years ago ‘Model Engineer’ magazine had an anecdote about a new apprentice at an established engineering shop who, when tasked to clean the machine tools, used compressed air. The management dismissed him on the spot.

    3. DA. The person responsible for your safety can be found by looking into a mirror, and if you are not doing something safe, I’ll either warn you, or move to a minimum safe distance and make ready to call the paramedics if something bad happens.

      You know that big machine found in most woodworking shops? the one with the large spinning wheel of death? I was feeding mine some lumber one fine day using my plastic push sticks when one of them slipped on the piece I was feeding and hit the blade. End result? a nasty gouge in one of the two push sticks I use (along with the blade yanking it out of my hand and flinging it back) and no more work for the rest of that day to calm my nerves. Thankfully, no injuries, but still.. that was a ‘hand me my brown pants’ moment.

      When I bought my angle grinder, I also bought a full face shield to go with it- eye sight is precious.

    4. As a wise man once said: shit happens.

      I have a feeling that some commenters here would collapse into a paroxysm of horror if they saw the conditions in the shops of more than 90% of all craftsmen and workers on the planet. Most places are not like a San Francisco hackerspace, sorry. Be grateful you’re one of the lucky ones. Should we improve conditions somewhat? Yeah I think so, but simply yeeting every mention of it from the ‘net is counterproductive towards that end.

    5. At workplaces you might have even the opposite extremes, where safety officer wants you to wear gloves in machine shop around “spinny” tools like lathes, drills, circular saws …

      Like they don’t teach the mantra “Lose the gloves or lose your hand” anymore.

  4. Agreed, as far as videos simply documenting a technique. But it’s unethical when ignorant youtubers present unsafe stuff as “hacks” (e.g. DiResta) or goof off in a shop doing dangerous stuff to be funny in a show aimed at kids (e.g. DiResta, again).

  5. AMEN
    One can always share safety tips or point out what should be done to make something more safe. The wise will listen and take heed, others will not. Removing unsafe items would leave out huge swathes if technology as many are inherrantly “unsafe” (moving heavy things, chainsaws, any rotating or reciprocating machinery, vehicles of any kind, anything with a sharp edge, hammers, mains voltage, DC voltage, high voltage, chemicals, the list is endless). Rather than ban/remove articles containing unsafe practices so no one will ever see what is wrong with this idea or that idea, point out the potential problem and offer solutions. Even though a large numer of people won’t listen, but you tried and some WILL listen

  6. Many moons ago, I worked in the oil industry before the days of ‘elf and safety. It was relatively safe for two reasons;

    The first was that you knew that whilst we notionally had a “safety officer”, he was one of the team and not specially trained so it was down to everyone taking care of themselves and watching out for each other because you hoped that your crew mate would reciprocate by looking out for you too, and,

    The second was that for the most part, it was a genuinely “no blame” environment which meant that if something went wrong, or could, someone said something about it and we did something about it. No-one pointed an accusing finger, and no-one felt the need to avoid saying “yup, could’ve done that better / more safely”.

    The only people who got bawled out were new hires, and then only until they started to seem safe which they did remarkably quickly. There was something about the way that we worked which seemed to be very quick to pick up and people did.

    We had accidents, people did hurt themselves occasionally, but for the most part common sense and taking responsibility for yourself worked remarkably well especially when you consider that in one environment we routinely handled and used dynamite in an inherently life threatening environment and in the other, we were at sea often in the sort of conditions that people consider too dangerous to work in around cables under tension, compressed air at 2000psi + and on a vessel that routinely rolled +/-20 degrees.

    1. Safe unless you were a diver., in which case it was incredibly dangerous. Only because I met oil rig divers 40 years ago. Maybe things have changed since then …… hopefully.

      1. A friend is an older Navy Diver (from the hard helmet days),
        When talking with haughty Navy pilots, he casually mention the pilot’s wedding ring (if they had one) and mention that he would do what he could to get the ring back to their loved one.

  7. Therein lies the problem – armchair experts who refuse to think and take risks in life. It’s always easier to sit in your chair at home, surfing HaD, being critical about what others do, and never actually trying and doing things yourself. Imagine if the Wright brothers were so concerned about safety – would they have ever flown? Certainly this modern tribe of overly-cautious safety-mongers wouldn’t have even gotten to the design stage because they’d be too scared their pencil tip would break and go into their eye.

    1. I learned my lesson in electrical safety by touching the heatsink of an open ATX PSU.

      Some risks are not worth taking, when there is nothing to be gained by it – that’s just stupidity.

    1. Yes, yes, YES! A previous employer of mine had the motto “Safety is when NOTHING happens.” I always wanted to point out that they wouldn’t be in business if that was the case… By that standard, the only safe place is six feet deep and four feet wide, as the saying goes…

        1. There was a post going round a while ago about some lady who had a one night hookup, getting an infection that Doc’s realised only happened on corpses, and they tracked the dude down. He was a mortuary worker or related profession and had been mistreating his clients.

    2. Exactly! And corollary is that you must take responsibility for being safe yourself and not assume the being “in compliance” with the company safety policy means you cannot be hurt.

  8. If it bothers the editors then a ” don’t do this” should be sufficient as the opening line. Where the staff went wrong was not saying this is dumb but here is why we think it’s worth watching until the comments. YMMV

    1. Yep, Hackerday should defo not just rely on the comments section for safety awareness. That’s just lazy. They should tweak WordPress to allow a red banner over the article indicating ‘Not Safe Practice’ in advance of readers swallowing the info.

      1. Ahh, I think I found your problem. You skipped critical thinking. Immediately after seeing new information, you should question it BEFORE swallowing the info. Then, if you realize you’ve swallowed bad information, even after the fact, you should update your overall modus operandi to reflect the fact that you critically thought and found something lacking. Going from seeing new info to permanently changing your life without thought is going to get you in trouble every time. No red banners needed.

  9. We live in a complex and dangerous world. You can find something unsafe about everything we do. I am sure that an expert could write a multipage safety document about something as simple as frying up some eggs for breakfast. Did you check for gas leaks? Wearing goggles and protective gear for splatter? ,,, Look at building codes, government product requirements, EU standards and you see many examples of how out of control things can get when you try to define EVERYTHING that can possibly happen. Safety has to be based on common sense, experience, education and personal responsibility. Sites like this provide useful info on what can be done and can provide only limited guidance on safety, Requiring them to be the safety police would shut this information flow down and we would all lose.

      1. This. The problem is that most people do not expect the average person to have any skills or understanding, therefore society has evolved to believe “common sense” is not a reasonable trait.

        1. Because the ultimate universal common sense is a myth. The only common rule that anybody could know is that you shouldn’t do something if you aren’t aware of the risks. For the rest, every “common sense” has to be learnt. Yes, even the “don’t put your hand on glowing metal”. Obviously it’s possible someone doesn’t know the rules around a lathe, considering a large majority of “most people” never ever saw one.

  10. @Eliott I’m all for keeping that kind of content on HaD, and most of us are able to keep ourselves safe. But I do think it’s worth calling out the poor safety practices for those who may be HaD veterans but have never used a (lathe/welder/soldering iron…), or worked with (cars/compressed gas/mains voltage/kilovolts/molten metal/…). You can go into a shop or online and buy any number of tools, thinking you know what you’re doing because you’ve seen videos of people using those tools.

    Most of us are very familiar with the tools we do know and use, but may not understand the safety issues in another discipline. And there’s a fair number of kids on here too.

    So keep the content, but I think it’s wise to briefly flag where the safety is poor.

    1. And if the comments bring up specific safety concerns, with remediation, Elliot, make an [Ed. Note] in the article for those that don’t read the comments. (Yeah, I know it will be more work for you, but that’s the price you pay for not giving me editting powers! B^) )

      1. Maybe Hackerday needs a health and safety editor to trawl through released articles and add the necessary warnings. Could save a heap of dollars spend on legal fees.

        1. Problem is once you commit to this, where do the necessary warnings stop. A video of people swimming would then need to contain shark, barracuda, drowning, rip tides, sharp rocks, boat propellors … warnings. God help us if you show someone driving. The warnings would be endless. Common sense by all involved parties is the best you can do and you can not stop an idiot from being idiotic.

  11. Working in the construction industry for years and still have all my digits ans no major injuries and none of thanks to any sort of safety rule. I am safe and in one piece because I chose to be safe and use my head. Safety is nobody’s responsibility but you own period. The construction industry has gone so safety overboard that it is actually making things more unsafe. It is all about liability and making sure you employer has their butts covered. Recently had our safety coordinator hand out paperwork for us to sign saying we were competent in electrical work and such. I asked what made me confident and what training showed I was such. Her straight up answer was my years of experience, well I explained I had been cutting my grass for years but by no means was a landscaper. Of course this got me a dirty look especially when I refused to sign because it was not about my safety but covering their butts instead. The real problem is the legal system and fact nobody wants to be hel responsible for their own safety and mistakes, it is always someone else’s fault.

    1. “Safety is nobody’s responsibility but you own period”

      Only if you only ever work by yourself in the middle of a desolated wasteland.

      Unfortunately in the real world you need to work around other people, and that works out a lot better if they also have some nonzero concern for your safety, and vice versa.

      Your paperwork story sounds a lot less like an “industry has gone so safety overboard that it is actually making things more unsafe” and more like one that is trying as hard as possible to avoid actually treating safety as a reasonable precaution. If you are being shoved a “we know what we’re doing” waver rather than receiving actual training, that’s not ‘safety culture gone mad’, that’s a company trying to avoid safety because they’re tightwads.

  12. In most cases people who are overly cautious are limp-wristed, weak, mommy-coddled individuals. I say most because there are high-risk things like nuclear pursuits, munitions production, and the like where you must take every precaution available – but when it comes to drill presses, lathes, and machinery in general – nothing would ever get done if safety was paramount. In that case, there is no substitute for plain old thinking ability.

    1. I’m not stupid.

      But I didn’t realize just how dangerous a surface grinder was until some bad scenarios where pointed out to me. I knew it was dangerous, knew what plane to stay out of, but there are thousands of man years of making mistakes that you can learn from.

      Machine shops are full of non obvious hazards as well as the obvious ones.
      Who works in long sleeves when it’s cold? Who knows they shouldn’t?
      Who has made thermite on their mill table without meaning to? Who cleaned it up without knowing why?
      I bet nobody here has put oil on an O2 tank’s threads. But I bet somebody here doesn’t know why not to.

      There is no substitute for experience. Also read the MSDS. It’s require to be there, but you should actually read it.

      1. “Machine shops are full of non obvious hazards as well as the obvious ones.”

        This is right, in spades! But not just “machine shop”. Pick a domain, any domain.

        Do you take the propellers off your quad when bench testing the firmware, or even when wiring it up? I wouldn’t have thought of it, but not doing so causes a lot of hospital trips when the spinning death blades go crazy. (Sounds obvious in retrospect, but people have stories anyway.)

        A chisel is a surprisingly dangerous hand tool b/c of the way you often use it in reluctant wood, and where your other hand can accidentally be when it slips under force. And they go deep into flesh and bone. Clamp your workpiece in a vise. Aim pointy part away from meaty bits.

        Etc. Sharing safety tips, and their rationale, is awesome. Especially the non-obvious hazards.

  13. You often hear people asking: what is the meaning of life?
    In the 21st century, it’s about jumping on any opportunity to demonstrate that you are better than others. Hence the rampant, trigger happy PC militia combing social media and making sure people get sh*at all over their face and, ideally, sacked from their job if they say something that can be extrapolated in a bad light.
    Ah yes, we are living the golden age of social life… or so they say.

    1. In a world where most people lack purpose as a result of overpopulation and de-industrialization, people find work in “helping” others. One person serves you coffee, another goes around putting tennis balls on table corners.

  14. Part of the trouble is that some people have never really thought about risk. Some people believe it is possible to live a risk free life, which is of course absurd, but it is a common delusion.

    The people who really understand risk are those who recognize it and try to manage it. I say this as a person who is an old school rock climber and who makes a hobby of exploring old mines. To do either of these things without a lot of attention would be crazy.

    Power tools always get my attention. I fear and loathe my tablesaw and consider that using it is one of the most high risk things I do. In truth driving in traffic is probably the most high risk thing most people do, but we are by and large desensitized to the risk involved.

  15. Thanks for your stance, for keeping your post UP, and for not bowing down to lowest common denominator of user complaints.

    This is the internet, a place where stupid people are going to do stupid shit and there is no stopping them. It doesn’t matter how many times you say use at your own risk, there will always be someone who will eat tide pods, put fire crackers up their butt, or jump into a literal lion’s den.

    (I’m not trying to say the video in question was anywhere close to the above… just trying to make a point)

  16. A déjà vu!

    I remember lots of cases where I just wanted to show a nice algorithm in a short and readable way and then the discussion ending in dissection of it’s surrounding and unsafe code and coding languages wars and whatnot.

    I smell a pattern there.

      1. We had a safety inspector shutting off the power at a woodshop screaming “STOP WORKING!+!” The woodworker operating the table saw turns around, writes on a piece of paper and holds it up “Hello, I’m Henrik. I was born deaf”
        We got a report mark saying “Deaf woodworker operating table saw without hearing protection “…

  17. I hope that the writer, editor and/or editor in chief is not to lazy to write [Video contains unsafe work practices] or something similar when they notice something unsafe in the video embedded on HaD, then it is our job as viewers to have that in mind when we watch the video.

    Even if you don’t intend some content to reflect HaD values, all the blog posts do anyway since HaD did choose to publish it. I have had to reconcile with the apparent fact that safety is something HaD doesn’t value right now. (2022-09-10)

    1. One thing not mentioned about the original video is that these are common practices in many Southeastern Asian countries. I’ve seen conditions there that are not at all what I’m used to here. A US shop looks very different by comparison due to OSHA rules, standard product safety equipment, standard worker safety equipment, and lawsuit-weary shop owners. And because US shop owners have more of that legally mandated safety training, more US shop workers are able to recognize and call out the unsafe practices.

      Which leads to an interesting observation: based on the reactions in the comments, those mandatory safety trainings appear to be having an effect despite many people complaining that they’re a waste of time.

      Keep that in mind the next time you have to attend a safety meeting.

      1. Yeah I was wondering through the back streets of Taipei and came across a guy freehand angle grinding some metal in the street outside his machine shop… actually his technique encouraged me to try more grinding!

    2. Yeah, but who decides what “safe enough” is? You want _us_ to decide? We’re just a bunch of nerds, not OSHA safety officers.

      And whom are we decidng for? You? We get to decide what is and isn’t safe enough for you? Muhahaha!

      For instance, I honestly didn’t notice that dude was lathing in flip-flops until after reading the comments.

      Point _is_ taken that we can help by pointing out obvious issues. But requiring us to label things as safe/unsafe is pushing us too far out of our competence.

      1. Yes, I want you, HaD, to use your knowledge to decide if something need a warning. I don’t expect you to catch it all or know all the rules (and the rules are different in all the different countries that HaD is published in).

    3. Based on the comments. The community overwhelmingly believes that policing safety is not HADs job. This is just another example of the modern trend to treat readers like they’re children. I’m sorry but if you need a warning on every dangerous thing you see on the internet you’re not mature enough to be here.

    4. When I buy a tool at Harbor Freight, the one thing I KNOW I’ll find is a label somewhere telling me to wear safety glasses. This includes wrenches, screwdrivers, and yes, even SAFETY GLASSES. Slapping a label on everything cheapens the message everywhere. Stupid decisions like that come from overpaid lawyers and people like you. Everybody, just be safe.

    5. I NEVER put any disclaimers in my videos. If people decide to reproduce the work, it’s on them.

      If people cannot operate X piece of machinery safely, they shouldn’t. If they do so anyway, they can learn the hard way.

  18. Good article Elliot, and good points. (I should’ve stayed out of the comments section- lol). I believe safety IS paramount, but only so much as you want it to be. We all (mostly) understand best-practices, but even the most well trained take shortcuts. It’s calculating the risk involved that keeps you safe (or not).

  19. i think most people are dancing around the real question without ever confronting it: what *is* effective?

    there’s no foundational principle here that you can point to to say whether a behavior is ethical or not when it comes to promoting safety. it is an extremely complicated subject and it is hard to tease out the different effects that influence the end result: the number of people going through life blind, short a hand, short a loved one, what-have-you. without asking the question, “did this work?” we haven’t got anything.

    i think the only question most people are answering is “what do i think worked for me?” but that context you grew up in is gone, and we need to figure out what works today. i know i get an enormous benefit from youtube walkthroughs of unfamiliar processes, but how does that affect the bottom line of injuries?

    i just can’t stand when people say something “safety regulations make it more dangerous.” maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but i honestly don’t believe you’ve ever even *tried* to answer the question, “do safety regulations reduce the incidence of injuries?” you’ve simply answered the question no one asked, “do you hate change?” yawn.

    it’s as bad as the “no one got hurt when i was a kid” – no they got hurt like crazy, are you kidding me! this is something that can be studied, looked up on wikipedia.

    i believe in the principle that there are risks worth taking but i just don’t think there’s ever anything we need to be pronouncing empty sentimental judgements on when there’s a simple question of fact at issue: what *does* work?

    1. For better or for worse, there are still places on Earth where human life is cheap and safety practices are similar to how things were where we live in the 70s or earlier. Plenty of places where the majority of traffic is motorcycles and scooters and nary a helmet to be seen. Or there are helmets, but they’re little more than plastic toy shells and only the windscreen serves a function.
      Economics certainly comes into play. This is another case of people acting like our “rational” sensibilities are culturally universal, which simply isn’t true—and it’s arrogant as well.

  20. id rather take machine shop safety advice from a guy who works in a machine shop than some bureaucrat that has never even used so much as a file. these kind of things should not be decided by people with zero experience in the subject.

  21. It was an Indonesian shade-tree machine shop if I recall. If people are whining about the balance between safety and availability or expedience in such an environment, I invite them to move there. It’s a cultural and socioeconomic difference. And banning everything from those regions of the world to coddle the sensibilities of internet complainers doesn’t seem the slightest bit just.

    Plus, it was a damn clever contraption. Can’t they just learn something from the principles involved and endeavor to use better safety protocols themselves if they replicate it? Not that these critics actually do much in any case.

  22. I work as a machinist and the last place I worked shortly before I started someone was degloved on their thumb by the lathe that I used daily.

    If you don’t know what degloving is I don’t recommend googling it.

    There are plenty of people who work in industry even with specialized tools who are honestly complete idiots and I don’t mean that as a general insult I mean they are just simply stupid people who don’t think but are given access to power tools and machine tools. They are the reason that OSHA exists.

    I don’t feel like it’s necessary to put safety warnings on everything on hackaday but I do think a general comment sometimes about if something is safe or not is not a big deal to add in. It seems like everyone is so polarized like you should never mention anything isn’t safe or it’s the other way around where you want to put warnings on everything.

    Maybe if someone had told the guy who was degloved on my lathe what he was doing was dangerous and that he should not have been using a rag to clean something spinning on the lathe, he might still have the original skin from his thumb instead of a rubber thing covering his exposed bone.

    Some things are legit really dangerous. That doesn’t mean we have to ignore that but it also doesn’t mean we need to put warning signs on every trivial thing. The fractal burning stuff I’ve done myself and I didn’t even realize how dangerous that actually was but I had someone who had done it before who knew high voltage well teach me how to do it. Not everyone has that advantage so I see no reason for calling out something as dangerous when it is.

    And calling out something as dangerous when it is does not make this a nanny state or people a safety Nazi.

  23. MrSVCD says:
    September 10, 2022 at 11:21 am
    hope that the writer, editor and/or editor in chief is not to lazy to write [Video contains unsafe work practices] or something similar when they notice something unsafe in the video embedded on HaD, then it is our job as viewers to have that in mind when we watch the video.

    I have had to reconcile with the apparent fact that safety is something HaD doesn’t value right now. (2022-09-10)


    I’ve seen comments in stories where HaD author mentioned less than normal safety precautions being take, but I guess I must have missed a bunch where their true anti-safety bent is glaringly obvious…. Perhaps you can provide the most eggregious ones so we can compare notes, or maybe your just naturally libelous?

    Not sure what sort of cacoon you grew up in, but most people with common sense know from an early age ” then it is our job as viewers to have that in mind when we watch the video”.

    Rather fits with your passive-aggressive closing statement. Me 2022-9-11

  24. Thank you for not censoring. Both the video and the people pointing out the mistakes are extremely informative. I grew up with cartoons advocating dynamite and other deadly toys from ACME, yet I still have all my fingers and have yet to drop a boulder on a bird.

    1. Based on the current Snowflake epidemic, I sometimes wonder: How the FRAKK did we even SURVIVE growing up in the 70s-80s?!?!? Oh wait.. maybe because we learned not to stick our hands into flames (either the easy way or the hard way).. or maybe because we weren’t dumb enough to drink detergent?!?! Or maybe, those, who did, aren’t around to complain about it..

      As one mentioned: Previously, the car owners manual explained how to adjust valves.. Today, it warns you against drinking the battery acid…

  25. We,thats us,all of us,have colectivly the information to determine which activities cause the most preventable
    injury and death,and are most amenable to having measures put in place to prevent these things from happening.
    These things could be numbered,1 to 100.
    This is not done,no one wants to know.
    The vast preference is for virtue signaling bieng leveraged for intervention into other peoples lives.
    Anything to divert attention from the systemic dangers
    embedded in our world and gaslight some guy in
    flip flops.

  26. Hackaday is wordpress. Behind the scenes is MySQL or some derivative _steaming_pile_.

    It’s normal for comments to come and go as indexes blow and get routinely rebuilt. SOP for DBase3…in 1988…much more frequent now.

    I’m pretty sure they deleted my ‘mix bleach and ammonia’ suggestion from this thread though. No sense of humor or love for Darwin.

  27. Hackaday is a site that disseminates information. It can either spread good practices–or information that will help enable people to hurt themselves.

    I don’t see a lot of articles, here on making homemade explosives from match-heads, yet.

      1. Ah yeah, compilers of the Jolly Wrencher’s Cookbook…. not to be confused with the Jolly Rancher’s Cookbook, which is all diabetes and toothrot without even rocket candy. Or the TV Typewriter Cookbook, which will give you ideas that could be terminal.

  28. I was under the impression that all responsibility for my personal safety had been moved to ‘the cloud’ by ‘the algorithm’ at the same time that “my preferences” were calculated and assigned to me. Did i miss something?

  29. Whilst we’re on the subject of safety, lets have a quick poll: Who here thinks all cyclists should wear high vis shirt /vest ? …. +1 or -1. (I am a cyclist)

    1. Not sure really extra shiny retro-reflective style hi-vis vest is needed – might even be more harm than good with the miniature suns in car headlights these days. Assuming it hasn’t perished I have a thin band of somewhat dull reflective stuff (think it was a pinkish tint) that you wear as a sash when cycling – not so shiny that it would be dazzling even with today’s lights I expect but enough that there is a large back or forward slash floating above the bike lights in my case probably a fair bit above driver-eye level (I’m Quite tall). Being such an odd thing it seems drivers noticed me much better at night, and in low light conditions than full daylight – somehow far to many of them filter you out, but being visually odd gets their attention…

      But I’d entirely approve of banning black outer garments, with no lights or reflectors on the bike either – which is astonishingly common round here it seems.

  30. It’s funny how the internet has two modes; totally lawless idiocy and ultra-pedantic health & safety warriors.

    Almost nothing shown in any HaD article, Youtube video, or anywhere else has ever followed what the average sensible company would consider good H&S practices and 99% of the time people either ignore it or don’t even know what they’re seeing (or not seeing). Most of the time the creators don’t properly know what they’re doing or not doing either, and certainly it’s almost never mentioned or explained.

    And then something tips just far enough into stupid that it sparks the ire of the comments section warriors, who are amusingly often just as wrong about good and/or practical safety as the idiot making the video.

    I guess what I’m saying is the internet is awful in every way and everyone should go and stick forks in their eyeballs to avoid seeing any of it ever again.

    1. That seems a bit extreme to me. Personally, I’m more than happy to take the middle ground and also to be proven wrong, which I consider to be something to celebrate with a mug of home made cider. Most days I find SOMETHING to celebrate.

  31. To me, it’s very easy: It’s up to the person doing X to keep himself/herself SAFE! Period!

    When I make videos, I don’t post disclaimers: Your mommy isn’t there to hold your hand! I certainly will NOT hold your hand. If you mess up/get injured/killed, the responsibility is YOURS and YOURS alone.

    This site is for nerds, geeks and tinkers. Working will tools will teach you one thing or the other. Sometimes, it’s the hard way.

    Just look at the “Tide Pod Challenge”… If you’re dumb enough to eat detergents, you kinda deserve it.

    HaD should NOT bow down to Snowflakes, “International Snowflake Protection Association” etc. Just keep posting the videos and let it be up to the individual to reproduce it on their own accounts.

    1. Tide Pods is a red herring. Those “challenges” are (possibly dangerous) hoaxes meant to be funny, I guess. But becuase kids don’t think that soap could be dangerous on the inside when it’s so clean on the outside, it’s trouble. The videos only real point is giving out bad safety advice — to be “funny”.

      Here, the video was about a cool lathe hack. It was carried out in a less-than-safe manner, but it was never put up as an example of safe shop practice. It was posted as a hack. We’re not, and they’re not telling you to wear flip-flops on the job. (Even though they were.) The video was about the machine build, not the footware.

      TL;DR: Tide pods — bad safety advice. Video in question — no safety advice.

  32. Glad to see HaD does in fact have a pair.
    HaD 1, Cancel Mob 0.

    Comments about safety issues are fine, however the demands for censoring, ‘Or I’ll unsub’ threats have been directly called out.

    Any bets on whether or not the mob actually takes their ball and goes home or not?

  33. You are the editor, do whatever you want. I love Hackaday, overall it is amazing. The article in question, linked in your write up above, had some people doing really dumb stuff by, yeah, my standards. Like working with machine tools and not wearing safety glasses, or manhandling big engine blocks wearing flip flops. If pointing that out makes me the safety police, fine. If readers want to do that, fine. Enjoy your eye injuries, busted feet, whatever.
    Unfortunately, the editor(s) also deleted all the comments from that article that were even remotely critical. Again, your site, do whatever you want. You owe me, and everyone else, nothing. But it does leave people without the ability to judge for themselves, especially when you say “let those in the comments section point out the safety issues” then go on to delete those very same comments.
    Here is where it is personal, though. Full disclosure, I’m a doctor at a big medical center, I work the trauma service regularly. I see the backend of all the super stupid stuff. You decide you are too macho for shoes (!!) and drop that thing on your toe, it is me taking you to the OR to fix it. That is best case. Blast injures from fireworks, traumatic amputations, eye foreign bodies, occasionally enucleations and blindness or just good old fashioned death resulting from pure and simple arrogance and stupidity- now it becomes my problem and I frankly struggle finding sympathy sometimes. Granted, I’m a very unique case with a highly biased sample set.
    A lot of the commenters here, had they actually read the comments from the other article (now deleted by the editors) rather than jumped to a hyper polarized view, may have been able to arrive a nuanced opinion instead of… well, this.
    And to the people that feel like “it is me and if I hurt myself whatever,” yeah maybe if you are a loner bachelor with zero friends and fix your own dumb injuries with duct tape, fine. But instead your decisions, like it or not, impact not just yourself but those around you, your loved ones, parents and children, coworkers, etc. and being a drain on what is already a hugely inefficient health care system is not really cool either.
    Thanks for listening, I respect the editor’s decision to air this topic and thank you for it.

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