Posted by: tlnemethy | August 27, 2017

Danger, Danger

One of the first things I learned in manufacturing was the idea of safety being paramount. When you work around robotic arms and moving floors and sharp metals you have to be on your game. I was apprehensive to take this job because of all the hazards it could pose, well that and it requires me to get up at 4am. Gross.

We had to listen to countless people talk about horrific factory accidents in gory detail, at times I actually tried to shut off my ears, but alas, I still haven’t quite mastered that one. There was the lady who got ran over by a forklift and impaled, the heart attacks, the hair (and scalps) ripped off by air guns, the pistons that pushed through hands and left men yelping for machinery to be turned off while dangling helplessly, the dude smushed by the metal press, everything you could possibly think of and so much more.

I have a thing for fingers. I like all of mine and hope to keep them. Each lecturer that told us those stories made it a point to say not only does it happen, but they’ve all SEEN it happen. And to be perfectly clear, when I say ripped off I don’t mean broken, I mean completely removed from the hand. Sure, sure, some of them got successfully reattached but that isn’t really the point that I took from all the speakers. Nothing quite got to me like the stories of fingers being ripped off. Nothing until they played a video of Kina Repp (I really suggest watching the one I linked  though it wasn’t the exact video I watched in orientation).

They played her video at the very end of my second day and I’m thankful that they did, because I would’ve left the building anyways. To summarize, Kina worked at a fish processing plant in Naknek while on break from college. Her very first day, within forty minutes of starting, she had lost her arm in a gruesome conveyor belt accident. She described it and I felt sick, I couldn’t look at her face on the projector screen and instead watched my hands until she was done. I teared up.

I could’ve been another Kina Repp when I went to Alaska to work. I had the giant rollers of my conveyor belt suck in my hand and rip off gloves, but I noticed it fast enough to react. I’m so glad she does safety talks now. I think they’re really important and every company that works with heavy equipment should have to hear her story.

I never got safety training when I was in Alaska, you know. I was a replacement worker who was flown in a few weeks late, a few weeks after the plant wide safety briefings, and they never bothered to sit me down and waste time. I didn’t know safety briefings were a thing I should ask for, I figured no one would put me in an unsafe spot. I was just doing what I was told.

I could’ve been a statistic.

0 days since the last workplace accident.

To learn more about Kina Repp, go to kinarepp.com


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