View Full Version : Mechanic-Workplace Injury

12-17-2010, 07:32 PM
I have a mechanic/part-owner of garage in my current WIP. I know that a workplace injury means having to deal with Occupational Health and Safety, but I don't want the injury to be severe enough that OHS will make too big a deal of it. The accident/incident is not a fatal one and not one seriously enough for the mechanic to have to quit being a mechanic. At the same time, I don't want it to be a take the rest of today and tomorrow off and come to work the next day.

Any ideas? I'm hoping there are some shop-minded writers here. :)

12-17-2010, 07:43 PM
Have him (or someone else) drop something heavy on his hand or foot. He will have to go to a doctor to see if it's broken, and the next day he would probably be hobbling or have too much pain in his hand. I was once working on a construction site and got the end of a finger smashed by a steel beam. I was in pain (throbbing) for two or three days. Hurt like hell.

If he's the owner he's probably not going to involve OSHA (or the Canadian equivalent) at all, and I'm not sure what the reporting requirement are for a small shop anyway. There is often a distinction made in government regulations for very small businesses. I'm not sure if there is or not in this case.

12-17-2010, 08:16 PM
I agree with Alleycat. SOmething falling on a foot could easily put someone out of action for a couple of days without producing a long term problem. OSHA wouldn't get involved unless there were a workplace hazard that was not previously known, and the hazards of being a mechanic are well known.

12-17-2010, 11:17 PM
Also, slicing a hand or a head laceration that requires sutures could be a couple of day out of work issue, without long term OSHA or medical consequences.

12-18-2010, 12:54 AM
If you're writing about the United States, many states have their own OSHA programs, but they're also not going to get involved unless there's signs of major wrongdoing on the part of the employer.

You may be thinking of Worker's Compensation. In California, if I'm injured on the job, I can file for temporary disability payments as well as begin the process for an eventual cash settlement, if my injuries are severe enough that I won't be able to go back to work. Cal-OSHA (our state version of the Federal OSHA) wouldn't get involved, unless there were many of my co-workers suffering similar injuries. If ten different workers at one job site lose their thumbs in milling machine accidents, there's a problem. If ten workers doing the same job at ten different companies lose their thumbs, this might also kick in a Cal-OSHA investigation, because this suggests there's a problem with the design of the equipment, or proper safety gear isn't being used.

12-18-2010, 01:06 AM
That is correct, only fatalities, major injuries or recurring injuries are investigated. Be careful to research your state for statutes with more stringent requirements.

What we do have to do is keep an OSHA 300 log and make it available to employees and/or Dept f Labor or OSHA on request.

A good bump on the head is more than a sufficient injury to take a day or 2 off.

12-18-2010, 02:01 AM
That is correct, only fatalities, major injuries or recurring injuries are investigated. Be careful to research your state for statutes with more stringent requirements.

What we do have to do is keep an OSHA 300 log and make it available to employees and/or Dept f Labor or OSHA on request.

A good bump on the head is more than a sufficient injury to take a day or 2 off.
Completely off topic from the OP's question . . .

Dealing with OSHA regs can be "funny" at times. I used to work for an engineering firm that did surveying, often on large industrial plants, airports, that sort of thing. I would sometimes go out with one of the survey crews. We could be out in the middle of a 400 acres field, with maybe just some earth moving equipment around. It might be July and we didn't want to wear our hardhats. Well, one of OSHA inspectors would see us out there, would write it up and tell the construction superintendent, who would call our office, and then we'd get a call from our boss on the two-way radios we had: "Y'all put them damn hardhats on like I told you to."

We were in the wrong, of course. The rules are there to protect people; I've known a few people who have been killed working on projects that I was involved with. It's always a "sickening" feeling when something goes wrong, and you know that someone's husband or father or son won't be coming home from work.

12-18-2010, 02:16 AM
And I was the superintendent that got the warning from the OSHA inspector and the thing is, the violation follows the superintendent as well as the company.

The next violation doubles the fines, then triples...

And the subs and guys all wonder why a superintendent is an asshole about safety. I can honestly say no one died on my jobs because I took safety seriously...

12-18-2010, 02:21 AM
Thanks for the replies!

Just a couple of things I guess I should've clarified...
* I'm in Canada and in my province, there are rules around reporting accidents even if it is one worker.
* I'm looking for something serious enough to be 5 to 7 days off work.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
12-18-2010, 02:31 AM
How about a back injury? Whenever Ol' Boy throws his back out, it takes a good week to get it moving again.

Plot Device
12-18-2010, 05:50 AM
I have knowledge of two mechanic-specific injuries that were told to me second hand by other mechanics who witnessed them happen.

1) Getting popped in the face by a shock absorber. This injury could kill a man instantly. When you put a car up onto the lift, and yank the tire off, and expose the brakes and the shock absorber, things can happen. Depending on what's broken or loose, and depending on what's stuck solid and in need of your rubber mallet, and depending on how careles you are when you start unscrewing things and/or malleting things, the shock absorber could discharge right at you, shooting its inner rod straight at any part of your body like a small javelin.

2) Pulling an arc out of a live car battery. This can also kill a man instantly. While a faithful husband will wear his wedding ring day and night, a smart mechanic always takes off his ring and his wrist watch and his St. Christopher's medal and any other metal jewelry before he goes within 12 inches of a car battery. The third worst thing that can happen with car batteries is a mechanic might be trying to loosen the hex bolts that hold down the negative and positive cables. And he will of course try to do this with a crescent wrench --which is a wrench made entirely of metal and which will span your entire hand, and which will make firm contact with all four fingers and your thumb IF you are holding it correctly. And if he allows the metal wrench to make contact with any other piece of metal on the car (such as the frame) he might pull and arc out of the battery, passing the electrical charge through the crescent wrench, across all four fingers. And IF he's wearing is wedding band, he could very well lose that ring finger by literally frying the finger clear off. The second worst thing he can do is he can just plain electrocute himself, and so he might wind up just plain dead. But the absolute worst thing that can happen is the battery will explode, not only sending hot molten shards of plastic battery shell into his face, but also sending a huge spray of battery acid into his face.

I know you said you aren't looking for fatal injuries. But you might want to consider a toned-down, "whew that was close!" version of either of these two accidents.

12-18-2010, 07:22 PM
The only time I took five days off from work was for back trouble.

12-18-2010, 11:21 PM
Don't forget your eyeballs. failure to wear eye protection accounts for a lot of injuries. They could lay you up for several days if both eyes are affected.