back to article Rise of the Machines hair-raiser: The day IBM's Dot Matrix turned

Come join us in a celebration of System Administrator Appreciation Day with an On Call tale of bravery, courage and, er, hairdressing? Today's story comes from "Andrew", a reader who spent the early part of the 1980s working for a company now better known for creating white paint with subtle hints of colour, pretentious names …

  1. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

    ...shredder?

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      Tie? Ugh! Though if forced to wear one, that would seem a reasonable approach to it.

      Sleeves, on the other hand (or arm) get into interesting places. Especially the big woolly in winter.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      If I was forced to wear a tie in a work environment, I'd get a bow tie. Ordinary ties tighten when trapped, bow ties simply untie, and there is less chance of them dangling in unsuitable places in the first place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        The Doctor says, "Bow ties are cool."

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Or just use a clip on tie, used to have them at Sainsbury's (In 3 different patterns!).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          I have a cow-orker who used to work for a photocopier company doing repairs. At the time, ties were a required part of the dress code. One day, a copier grabbed his tie and started pulling him in. He managed to flail around the machine and pull the cord out of the wall to stop it. Upon returning to the office, he asked a fellow tech how to keep this from happening. The other tech grabbed his own tie and yanked - and it promptly came off in his hand. "Clip-ons" he said.

          1. SMITCH79

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            I used to work in a factory which made steel hoops that we supplied to cooperages for the making of whisky barrels.

            We would get 3/4 tonne hot rolled coils from Corus which would be put through a de-coiler and cut to length using a power press. From here I would manually feed the resultant length through a machine which had two rollers continuously spinning which would flatten one edge more than the other to produce a hoop of a certain angle. Basically like the mechanism of a shredder but absolutely huge (the machine itself was half the size of a family hatchback) and open to hands, fingers and arms, etc.

            We had to wear boiler suits that would come apart if caught in the mech. due to the fact all the safety gizmos had been removed so we could have it continuously running since we had automated other parts of the process.

            One day the inevitable happened and I caught the cuff of the boiler suit in the rollers. Initially it did come apart but then started to lift me towards the machine. Luckily I managed to reach the emergency stop but it still gives me shivers to think about the day I nearly became minced beef.

            1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
              WTF?

              Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

              When I was at school, one day in the Metalwork shop, one student was cutting a thread on one of the big Harrison lathes, when his tie caught in the workpiece. The lathe was slowly winding him in, and he couldn't reach the control lever on top of the headstock to disengage the motor. Luckily, I was standing at a nearby bench with a pair of 12" tinsnips in my hand, as I was doing some sheet metal work. I heard his strangled cry and turned to see him with one hand on the headstock and one on the tailstock, vainly trying to prevent his tie from pulling his face into the toolpost. I made a lunge towards the offending tie and cut it with the tinsnips. He flew backwards across the intervening space and fetched up lying on his back on the bench I had just vacated. We had to cut the remains of his tie from around his neck as the knot had pulled so tight that it couldn't be undone, and it was so tight around his neck that he was beginning to turn a ghastly purplish colour. Trevor Jones, the Metalwork teacher. immediately introduced a "No ties in the workshop" policy, much to the displeasure of the Deputy Head.

              1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

                Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

                Our ties were behind aprons...

                1. Aus Tech

                  Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

                  We had to wear an apron in my 3 years of doing Metalwork at my High School, back in the mid to late 60's. It didn't matter what work we were doing, soldering, using any machinery at all, including the lathes, or the bench drill press, or the shaping machine. Personally, I think that it was a good safety measure, which was the idea behind it.

              2. Mike Henderson

                Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

                Back in the day - 1989 IIRC - I visited the place here the London Metropolitan Police printed their parking and traffic tickets. The printer was a roll-fed Xerographic behemoth that produced about a hundred tickets per minute, printed both sides and sliced into A4 sheets. That was amazingly rapid for those days.

                The feed paper was a roll about 600mm in diameter and 270mm wide, weighing lotsa kg, and moved around on special hand carts.

                The whole area was surrounded by a rope barrier, with big signs on each side of the entrance

                "Neck ties are not permitted in this area"

                I imagine the Met must have had at least one nasty incident to generate such a flagrant breach of Standards Of Attire

                ;-)

              3. Scott Marshall

                Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

                Nice to see another graduate of the South Pacific Surfing Champs here.

                I fondly recall my metalwork lessons; I definitely preferred them (and John Morrow's woodworking) to Hugo Shaw's art classes. (Hugo was good, it's just that art didn't resonate with me at the same level as that of metalwork and woodwork).

                Both Trevor and John were sticklers for workplace safety, especially around the lathes.

                It was through them that I gained my love (and respect) for metal, wood and their associated tools.

              4. ChrisBedford

                No ties in the workshop is the most BASIC of safety precautions

                Any school - or any other place with a machine tool shop - should have a sign at the door and several more inside. Any shop supervisor or teacher who doesn't already implement this most obvious rule isn't worth tuppence.

                Common sense is obviously one of the least common traits out there.

                1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                  Re: No ties in the workshop is the most BASIC of safety precautions

                  Common sense is obviously one of the least common traits out there.

                  The problem with common sense is that sense never ain't common - Lazarus Long

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

              "all the safety gizmos had been removed so we could have it continuously running"

              These days that'd be a 7-figure h&s fine

              1. SMITCH79

                Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

                "These days that'd be a 7-figure h&s fine"

                Deffo. Thankfully nearly 3 decades ago and they don't do that work now.

                If you think that was bad we used to load the coils onto the de-coiler using the single blade of the forklift. You had to be quite skillful to pick them up off the floor and then about 800Kg (the coils were around 5 feet in diameter - like a big polo mint) was swinging back and forth while you tried to gently ease it onto the hub of the decoiler.

                One day a colleague was doing this and dropped it off the end of the FL blade right next to me. Imagine someone dropping a car next to you from a height of 4 feet and you get the idea. Missed shearing my leg off by inches.

                I miss working there, solid days graft and always exciting :)

                1. ds6 Bronze badge

                  Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

                  We need more jobs where one could be easily murderized, for those partisan to the excitement. I knew a fellow that worked at a metalworking shop that made huge industrial pipes on some giant heated lathe-like device—the way he told it to me, it was always spinning and he had to manhandle the metal on there with zero safety features. The sheets weighed about the heft of a small car, and there was only a moderately sized, hand-welded dolly to move them from the horizontal rack on the wall to the middle of the room where the machinery was. He would remark after a few hours of work his arms would feel fit to falling off—and he was a fit guy—and he would either have heatstroke or become bloated from all the water he ingested, as the building had no HVAC and was very hot.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

              I had a similar incident with a conveyor belt in 1967. I.would have lost my arm if someone hadn't hit the emergency stop, which was out of my reach.

      3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Ordinary ties tighten when trapped, bow ties simply untie, and there is less chance of them dangling in unsuitable places in the first place.

        A party conversation that has long stuck in my mind included the sentence Of course, as a gynaecologist, I always wear a bow tie.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      There's a reason that ties were fair game for anyone with a pair of scissors at most early Silly Con Valley companies ... hand-built one-off prototypes often had voracious cooling fans. The theory was that if we starved 'em of ties they'd be too weak to do much other damage. Not even IBM Field Circus folks were safe from the shears ... HP, somewhat wisely, decided ties were pretty useless fairly early on, as did DEC's Palo Alto contingent. Most of the other big names followed. Some of the Military Brass working out of Ford Aerospace, Varian & etc. had special dispensation to do without neck-ware "so they'd fit in with the locals" ... We had high hopes that it'd become a world-wide movement and we'd be done with the useless things for good.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        We had high hopes that it'd become a world-wide movement and we'd be done with the useless things for good.

        we can only dream ....

        1. HorseflySteve

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          When anyone in the company has commented about my casual tie-less attire, I have replied with one of the following 2 answers:

          1. I am an engineer working in a modern hi-tech industry. Tell me why should I dress like an Edwardian?

          2. I thought I was employed as an engineer, not a model. Naomi Campbell doesn't get out of bed for less than £10k a day; pay me that & I'll wear what you like.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Coat

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            Yes, but how much did you get paid to get in to her bed?

        2. earl grey Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          We had high hopes that it'd become a world-wide movement and we'd be done with the useless things for good.

          Wait, are you talking ties or politicians?

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        There's a bit in the Tom Bower book about Mr Fayed and Clip on ties. It's in the section on how Mr Fayed wanted to sell House of Fraser. They went to the most respected merchant bank at the time Warburgs to do this. The bloke in charge of the deal from the bank side had to go and meet Mr Fayed at his office. He was then presented with a clip on tie and told to wear it to every meeting. When he asked why he was told that when giving the Egyptian bad news and Mr Fayed didn't like it if he grabbed the tie it would come away and no one got hurt.

        Sounds a charming bloke Mr Fayed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          An Egyptian stand off.

          Just grab his tie and hold him to task.

      3. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Whichever nerd felt that grabbing my tie and cutting it instead of saying "please remove your tie" would likely find whatever collectible action figure they favoured at their desk was now an amputee two days later.

        1. Zarno

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          I would be tempted to go for a bottle of glue in their Model M, tipex on their flatscreen, and some form of ooze on the mouse lens.

          But we can't all be the BOFH, so it would likely be "interesting" memos and printouts lift in their out/inbox as required.

          "To all: You are invited to visit at my house for a dres-up picnic. Yours, <insert nerd identifier> "

          "From management: All correspondence to the head office must now include triplicate carbons, and be hand copied as well as typed. Don't forget to pick up new crayons."

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          Stevie, if there is one thing that travel has taught me it's that sometimes it's easier (and can be quite a bit more lucrative) to accept local traditions, regardless of how silly they seem to you, the outsider.

          1. Zarno

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            True, but cutting a tie instead of asking nicely for it to be removed is what would escalate it to prankworthy levels.

          2. Cederic Bronze badge

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            Letting someone assault you and damage your property is a local tradition that I'd be ending, fast.

            It may involve local pain for the person needing an education too.

            Don't assault people. Don't bully people. Do not wave a blade near someone's body unless you really really want bad things to happen to you.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

              You would be ending it, Cederic? All by yourself? You actually think that you can force a change in the culture that spontaneously came into existence in a melting-pot group of ~100,000 engineers, spread over perhaps 1000 companies, in an area of perhaps 200 square miles? Really?

              Get over yourself.

              And while you're at it, you might want to ask yourself why you never get invited to the good parties.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Most places I worked followed that practice. No ties, no dangling jewelry and long hair had to be contained. The only exceptions were upper manglement who we all hoped would one day get too close the line printer.

        1. Lilolefrostback

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          At my first real job, it wasn't just dangling jewelry, rings (even wedding rings) were verboten and for good reason. The computers contained batteries and capacitors that held sufficient power to amputate a finger if the ring touched the wrong spot.

      6. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Our last tie-wearing employee retired last year. It is now only people like Jacob Rees Mogg who wear them,

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          J R-M is people ?

          1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            He is people like, but he's really a capitalist cathartidae.

            1. Glenturret Single Malt

              Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

              Cathartid to refer to a single specimen; cathartidae is the name of the family. Compare arachnid/arachnidae.

          2. TheMeerkat

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            There is a lefty idiot everywhere unfortunately.

            Don’t bring your politics into non-political talk.

    4. red19

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      With the dramatic pause was that a Turtles reference?!

    5. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      What sort of commoner doesn't have a tie clip?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        This particular commoner doesn't even own a tie.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          This particular commoner doesn't even own a tie.

          Years ago I had 3 or 4 hangers worth of ties, almost 4cm thick on each, of various garish colours and patterns. At one job the sales manager told me I didn't need to wear a tie to work. I mentioned it to a former manager, and he said "no, he just meant you didn't need to wear *THOSE* ties".

          Had given away a lot of them some years back, and the remainder got destroyed in our house fire soon afterwards.

          1. cookieMonster
            Pint

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            Pretty drastic way to get rid of some ties to be honest, but cheers for the novel, if somewhat insane method of disposal. Have a pint.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        What sort of commoner doesn't have a tie clip?

        me! it makes wearing one slightly more bearable. Thankfully having escaped from Atos I don't need it anymore :)

        {edit}

        oh wait , you said "doesnt"...

      3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        What sort of commoner doesn't have a tie clip?

        You are Jacob Rees Mogg and I claim my five guineas.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        What sort of scruffy oik doesn't wear a waistcoat to work.

        A/C because - well you can guess

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          You come from the John Virgo school of waistcoat wearing?

    6. IHateWearingATie

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      ...see my username.

      Luckily not worked at a client that has needed a tie for ages

      1. Montreal Sean

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        A couple of my major clients prohibit the wearing of a tie while onsite, it violates the health and safety regs.

        :)

    7. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      Just get a safety tie, like Mr. Furze

      It pretty much makes you immune to Lathes, welders, table saws, plasma cutters ,chop saws , drills , and fireworks.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Immune to lathes? When I were a lad at school we had to take our ties off in the metal and woodworking shops because a lad had had a close facial encounter with a lathe chuck.

        I own two ties I received as a gift, I am proud to say I can't remember how to tie one, at my father's funeral I wore a cravat in his honour, he was ex RAF and only wore cravats.

        1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          Ties can quite happily behind aprons

          1. Nolveys Silver badge

            Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

            I own a tie, but have no idea where it is. But I'll be sure to buy an apron and the next time I find the tie I'll put the apron on top of it.

      2. Paul Shirley

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        ...and right now on YouTube Furzy is demonstrating the fire resisting properties of a safety tie when pulse jets become flame throwers...

    8. keith_w

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      Although I have never done it, the first thing I thought of was having watched a fellow get his tie eaten by a shredder in 1973 or 4 when I worked a world famous tea company's offices here in Canada.

    9. Spanners Silver badge

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      ....Donatello....

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      ... or (before DMPs) got your tie stuck in a typewriter, and almost battered yourself to death typing HELP!

    11. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      It is part of the reason all our staff are issued with polo shirts. Apart from just looking good (and they are supplied and replaced free) we embroider them ourselves and its a good selling technique. All hair must be tied back, no watch, rings, chains or bracelets etc

      You really wouldn't want to get caught in a high speed laminator, folder or creaser but at least they have HUGE red emergency stop buttons all over them.

      Training manual page 1, if you wouldn't stick your ©0©& in there don't stick your fingers in there either.

      1. Cederic Bronze badge

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        That's going to make washing my coffee mug trickier.

        1. Message From A Self-Destructing Turnip

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          Best hope that others have not been less fussy, with regards to your mug.

      2. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Training manual page 1, if you wouldn't stick your ©0©& in there don't stick your fingers in there either.

        A while back one of those electric fly swatters was floating around the local pub for a few days, not sure where it originally came from but people were scared of it. Curious I tried using it on my hands and found it really was a tame shock, can't imagine it doing much even to a house fly. Demonstrated this but they still weren't convinced.

        Then I had an idea and left the room with it for a couple of minutes. Came back and announced "You know, if you use this on your ©0©& you get an instant boner." It was interesting to observe precisely who became a lot more interested in it on hearing this.

        Complete bollocks of course, but it had disappeared the following day.

        1. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          That was a spectacularly refined jape, for sure ... Well played, Sir!

        2. EVP

          Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

          Uh, too bad I didn’t finish off reading your post before rushing to dust off our electric fly swatter...

      3. GrumpyKiwi

        Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

        Uggh, Polo shirts. Those things are hideous. Well hideous when worn by the typical IT bod anyway. Nothing says stylish like a nice polyester polo shirt with a company logo hidden by man-boobage, beer belly poking out above the chinos, sweat stains under the armpits and a glimpse of chest hair (with or without the gold medalion).

        Looks very professional. I'll stick to wearing a nice cotton business shirt thanks (which was what I told the boss at the last place that wanted to "gift" us all a polo shirt to wear - and a single shirt at that.

    12. JJKing Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      Let's face it, who amongst us hasn't lost a tie to the...

      Seeing the potential for shit like that to happen, I took the prodigious course and purchased a tie clip and avoided problems like that. Got called a tosser for my fine forethought but I was able to have the last laugh when unadorned colleagues had their loose hanging ties chewed up by various devices.

  2. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Chain Printer

    A chain printer wouldn't have given the victim time to scream before they were assimilated, printed on and sent off to the envelope stuffer.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Chain Printer

      Yes, I remember coming across a number of them in my Yoof. Fierce beasties and terrifyingly noisy (and quick).

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Chain Printer

        "terrifyingly noisy"

        The noise probably kept onlookers to a safe distance.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Chain Printer

          "The noise probably kept onlookers to a safe distance."

          Onlookers and lay people weren't even allowed in the same room as one of those beasts.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Chain Printer

            I used to start and stop the four line printers I had at DEC according to how close one of the minions of the Campus Boss was standing to them. The closer he got, the more printers I'd have running. As he retreated, I'd turn 'em off again, one by one. Took about two weeks, but eventually I trained the nosy prick to avoid the floor the printers were on entirely. The idiot never even noticed what I was doing.

            Sadly, it took me about another year to realize that he was a symptom of an even larger problem.

            RIP, DEC.

            1. OssianScotland Bronze badge

              Re: Chain Printer

              Please change your user name to Pavlov

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Chain Printer

      In a previous incarnation, I had to work with industrial printers. These involved puny sheet-by-sheet belt-fed Xerox machines, and the more repectable (as in whould be respected, for your own safety) Océ printers, which were named for the number of feet per minute of paper they consumed. 350, and 440 IIRC. Get your tie stuck in one of those, and you'd better hope the safety cut out works before your head is flattened.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Chain Printer

        ...although frequently sent to the machine room to work with those, for instance to debug issues with print jobs, we were told we were still required to wear ties (but that we could tuck them into our shirts). I'm still amazed there were no serious accidents at that place (that I heard of), although they did go out of business about a year after I'd finally had enough and left.

    3. wilber

      Re: Chain Printer

      300 lpm Drum Printers could also be rather aggressive.

  3. sandman

    Try a Lathe

    When I were a lad, I was doing metalwork at our local technical college. Bizarrely we had to wear boiler suits (sensible) and shirt + ties (gibberingly insane). Watching one of our instructors getting his tie caught in a lathe rather demonstrated the idiocy of that rule. A lucky hit on the emergency stop button prevented a facial puree and a pair of tin snips took care of the tie. Were the rules changed? Of course not, don't be silly.

    1. Peter Ford

      Re: Try a Lathe

      There's a reason why Police Officers (and most schoolkids these days) wear clip-on ties...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Try a Lathe

        And the staff in McDonald's disturbingly...

        I was young, I needed the money.

        1. John Arthur

          Re: Try a Lathe

          And in Sainsbury's

        2. Oliver Mayes

          Re: Try a Lathe

          I worked in McDonalds when I was a teenager. Got punched by a drunk customer who then dragged the store manager over the counter by her (non clip-on) tie.

      2. drand

        Re: Try a Lathe

        The reason schoolkids wear clip-on ties, if they do, is simply to do with the enormous amount of distraction suffered by school staff in enforcing uniform policy when the little darlings insist on wearing ties with knots bigger than their heads. I don't think there's any valid health and safety reason for it, though some might claim such. This is a shame, as learning different tie knots is a useful life skill, and let's face it it's fun to give your mate a 'peanut' and yank his tie so hard the knot fuses into such a tight tange of polyester that he mechanical assistance is required to extricate him from his hilarious predicament.

        When I was at school decades ago you weren't allowed near any tools or machinery until you had taken your tie off and rolled your shirt sleeves up (to be a 2" cuff, crisp fold, just above the elbow and no more or you'd get a bollocking!). This was also the only time you got to dress down unless it got really hot and 'shirt sleeve order' was declared, accompanied by a master walking up and down the corridor ringing a handbell. Usually this only happened if it were hotter than the surface of the sun and several boys had already fainted.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Try a Lathe

          the valid health and safety reason you were looking for in your first paragraph , is graphically described in the second!

          1. drand

            Re: Try a Lathe

            Yes and the mitigation against the hazard is described too, it's enforcable and works, no need for a blanket rule, that's the point!

        2. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Try a Lathe

          Ah yes, Shirt Sleeve Order, only if the temperature is above 25 centigrade for x number of hours, as determined by one staff member?

          (did we go to the same school or is this a common phrase?)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Try a Lathe

        All the local secondary schools near me insist on real ties, but thinking back to my own school days, the CDT teachers did make sure they gave graphic descriptions of what happens when you get caught up in power tools.

        But changing the subject slightly, I saw promotional material from a company in the UK aerospace sector (almost certainly not the company you're thinking of) with a picture of a woman stood at a pillar drill with long hair hanging loose. To be fair, she was wearing safety goggles, but that's not going to stop your scalp being torn off when you get your hair caught up in a 1.5kW pillar drill...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Try a Lathe

          I've seen that happen, it's not pretty.

          CDT class at secondary school, a girl got her hair caught in a pillar drill, which tore a patch of skin from her scalp. Whilst all the attention was on her, my friend was happily gluing his plastic project together with chloroform in a fume cupboard he had neglected to turn on. He passed out and fell off the stool he was perched on!

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Try a Lathe

          At a school I attended the CDT teacher had everyone in the class sign a bit of paper to say we'd been trained on using equipment. He hoped to absolve himself of any blame if a student mutilated themselves. He tried to force me to use powertools to complete my project but failed when it proved too big to fit.

        3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Try a Lathe

          The CDT teacher at our school came from a real engineering background, and had the missing fingers to prove it. He used to regale the kids with (probably apocryphal) tales of industrial accidents he had seen. One involved a fatality in a metal press and a red line left on the wall behind it as a warning to others.

          he would have been working in industry in the '60s/'70s, before Health and Safety legislation, and his experiences are, no doubt, similar to many which led to the introduction of such. It's worth noting that those who object most vocally to workplace safety are the ones who back then would have owned the factories, not worked in them, such as the UKIP councillor who, a few years ago, had someone die whilst digging his swimming pool unsafely.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Try a Lathe

            What is CDT ?

            Showing my age. My coat has the tie hanging out of the pocket.

            1. Tom 38 Silver badge

              Re: Try a Lathe

              Craft, Design and Technology

              1. Admiral Grace Hopper

                Re: Try a Lathe

                Or, according to my nephew, “Can’t Do That”.

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Try a Lathe

              We used to call CDT "Shop".

              But that was back in the halcyon days when kids were allowed to use sharp tools, and play with hot (sometimes molten!) metal and glass, and machines without many "protect me from myself" features. The chemistry labs were full of real chemicals, too.

              And then the elfin safety nazis took all the fun out of learning ... Is it any wonder that today's yoof don't actually do anything? The will to live is being sapped out of them. I have this theory that you have to see your own blood on something before it truly becomes meaningful to you ...

              1. Chris G Silver badge

                Re: Try a Lathe

                Yep! When I was at a Technical High School (UK) in the '60s we had huge workshops and labs, in the metal work shop we learned forge work, casting ally and brass plus use of all the common machines, I made a really neat set of brass knucks on the milling machine but a humourless teacher confiscated them.

                Science labs were great too with lashings of dangerous chemicals.

                1. Shooter

                  Re: Try a Lathe

                  When I was in high school, I had a chemistry teacher who showed a select few of us how to make nitrogen triiodide.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_triiodide

                  These days he would certainly be fired, and quite likely arrested if he dared to do such a thing.

                2. Nick Kew Silver badge
                  Childcatcher

                  Re: Try a Lathe

                  Science labs were great too with lashings of dangerous chemicals.

                  It was during my schooldays they banned benzene.

                  The school's chemistry department still had stocks of it, and our chemistry teacher wasn't going to let some ban get in the way of his classes using it.

                  Also used lots of asbestos back then ... could be bought in the shops for a few pence.

                  1. Martin-73 Silver badge

                    Re: Try a Lathe

                    Indeed we used to do deflagration reactions on asbestos paper strip (the teacher had a 9" diameter roll of it, about 1" wide). Very fibrous (obvs).

                    1. Kiwi Silver badge

                      Re: Try a Lathe

                      Indeed we used to do deflagration reactions on asbestos paper strip (the teacher had a 9" diameter roll of it, about 1" wide). Very fibrous (obvs).

                      We had square sheets of wire mesh with a circular bit of asbestos in the middle. We'd sit the thing on a tripod over a bunsen burner and sit our beakers on top.

                      I wonder if I can sue the education dept. I had a slight cough a couple of weeks back, might be asbestosis caused by that! (Likelihood of me getting that is low, and if I do the likelihood of it coming from one of dozens of other sources is very high)

              2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Try a Lathe

                @jake - "The chemistry labs were full of real chemicals, too."

                Unlike the current ones, which are a hard vacuum, no equipment, furniture, students or teachers allowed?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Try a Lathe

                  No, unlike the modern ones which have been sanitized so little B1FF and Buffy can't possibly hurt themselves, thus removing a significant portion of the hands-on subject matter that keeps the kids attention while they are learning the more boring aspects. But you knew what I meant, now didn't you?

                  1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

                    Re: Try a Lathe

                    Gotta watch out for that dihydrogen monoxide!

                    It's the main component of acid rain, you know.

                  2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
                    Boffin

                    Re: Try a Lathe

                    Of course I knew what you meant, but I like to side with the Royal Society of Chemistry:

                    https://www.rsc.org/AboutUs/News/PressReleases/2010/CTPA100ChemicalFree.asp

                    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                      Re: Try a Lathe

                      I wonder if the RSC would accept a container stuffed to the brim with hard vacuum.

                2. rskurat

                  Re: Try a Lathe

                  Everything's premeasured and prediluted, no chance of gluing your trainers to the floor with Glacial Acetic Acid or filling the room with Fake Fart Smell with Ammonium Persulfate. Sad I tell you, sad.

                  1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                    Re: Try a Lathe

                    Even back in the day, everything in the bench-top bottles was pre-diluted (0.1M IIRC). Not all the students were to be trusted not to put their fingers in things, and 14M H2SO4 wasn't (and still isn't) something anyone needs to be near in normal circumstances.

                    That didn't stop us from doing all sorts of dangerous things, such as nicking the roll of magnesium ribbon and setting fire to it (in one go) behind the bike sheds, or mixing our own thermite (very easy if you know how). Nitrogoen tri-iodide? pffft, an acquantaince of mine had a large saucerful of it drying in his garage and almost blew his foot off when he came home drunk from the pub one night... It's great stuff and perfectly stable if damp, so you can paint it onto the surface of things for comedy effect, such as the bottoms of chair legs. The most dangerous thing about it is probably breathing in the decomposition products, and a healthy liver will probably sort you out fine...

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Try a Lathe

            It's worth noting that those who object most vocally to workplace safety are the ones who back then would have owned the factories, not worked in them

            No.

            I object to certain bits of our H&S legislation. It's because they have little to no safety benefit but come at a huge cost. And a few I've experienced that make you more likely to have a bad accident (some of us wonder if the intention is to kill - it costs a couple of grand to bury someone, but it might cost a couple of hundred grand a month to care for them).

            I've never owned a factory but have worked in several.

            ---> The potential result of a tiny mistake in a couple of my roles.

            1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

              Re: Try a Lathe

              sometimes its less about safety, and more about not letting the ambulance chasers getting a toe hold, and subsequently keeping the insurers sweet.

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Try a Lathe

          "I saw promotional material from a company in the UK aerospace sector (almost certainly not the company you're thinking of) with a picture of a woman stood at a pillar drill with long hair hanging loose."

          There was a series of government public information films placed as adverts on TV back when I was a kid. That one was included (or similar), but left the gore part to the imagination.

      4. NogginTheNog

        Re: Try a Lathe

        Years ago I worked for a popular pub chain of the time, and their standard uniform was a branded white shirt and clip-on tie.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Try a Lathe

          you were lucky! I worked in a club in blackpool where , inexplicably, the uniform was pink shirt with vertical stripes and red bow tie

    2. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Try a Lathe

      We weren't allowed to remove ties for metalwork, etc. but had to tuck them in to our shirts.

      I know when Brother was an apprentice they were expected to have short hair for safety, if they didn't a very flowery lady's hair net had to be worn, a very effective solution!

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Try a Lathe

      "Bizarrely we had to wear boiler suits (sensible) and shirt + ties"

      If the boiler suit is properly buttoned up the tie isn't a problem.

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Try a Lathe

      I was doing a student apprenticeship which involved lots of metalworking. We were given orange boiler suits before the US increased its prison stupidity. One of my colleagues decided the piece he had turned would benefit from a quick polish and used his sleeve cuff. A fraction of a second later there was a grunt a ripping noise and then the flap flap flap of his overalls spinning on the lathe and the clatter of his small change and he was just stood in his underpants and boots and socks and safety goggles.

      The lesson to be learned here is check your overalls - decent ones are stitched with cotton that is nowhere near as strong as the material.

    5. Zarno

      Re: Try a Lathe

      Reminds me of the incident at Yale back around the start of the decade.

      Long hair, lathe, late night and nobody else around. Perfect storm of circumstances.

      She was found later on when people filtered into the machine shop.

      Pretty damn gruesome description was going along the grapevine back when it happened, with "closed casket" being the most memorable part.

      Respect thy rotating machinery folks.

    6. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Try a Lathe

      > tie caught in a lathe

      That'd be an instant health & safety lawsuit on this side of the pond. At least over here, a quiet word about the legal exposure is usually sufficient to get the rule lifted.

      On the bad side, I've seen a helicopter transmission shaft with a full head of hair fanned out from it. I didn't see the original incident, but it didn't look fun. There didn't seem to be much blood, so I hoped they got out easy with just an application of scissors.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I had the reverse situation

    As consultant I have seen all types in the past thirty years, but one I will always remember. She was a gorgeous young blonde, really strikingly beautiful, and I immediately understood on entering that company that she deemed me beneath any effort to interact with. She ignored me royally for the two weeks of my intervention, until one day near the end when, surprise, surprise, she came over to me with her nicest smile and asked me if I could change something in her mailbox.

    Unfortunately for her, it was something that was not possible to do, and I was happy inside that I had to tell her it couldn't be done.

    Obviously, she never looked at me again.

    1. bpfh Silver badge

      Re: I had the reverse situation

      Ah, The “pretend to appreciate the geeks only for a long as I need them then royally ignore them because I am so better than them”.

      Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, your tickets get downgraded to P4 with a next action date of end of following month, and when they escalate, point out that they never provided you the (back dated) information request so this is why it’s all on hold.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I had the reverse situation

        "Pull that stunt again, I'll suspend all of your calls until Christmas. If you're VERY lucky, it might even be this Christmas !"

    2. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: I had the reverse situation

      "She was a gorgeous young blonde, really strikingly beautiful, and I immediately understood on entering that company that she deemed me beneath any effort to interact with."

      With looks like that, possibly she had been forced into that attitude when nearly every male that she did interact with immediately assumed that she was interested in him and hit on her. So to avoid having to spend half her working day fighting off unwanted and persistent attention she had to keep away from them as much as possible.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: I had the reverse situation

        99.9% of guys get the message pretty quickly. However some women seem to think that any man who simply talks to them is trying a come on. Never underestimate ate the monumental self regard and narcissism of some women who simply can't entertain the idea that a man wouldn't try it on with them all the time.

        1. js.lanshark

          Re: I had the reverse situation

          My workaround to that was to casually mention something like "Nice shoes", smile, and keep on walking. It drove some of them crazy trying to figure out if I was gay, a crossdresser, or something else entirely. A few actually unbent enough to be able to talk to because, well, positive, non-threatening comment and no leering followup.

        2. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: I had the reverse situation

          I'd bet its less than 80% of guys get the hint. In my 40 years in engineering and IT there was a serious incel whiny misogynist problem. Or just engineers who had trouble with things they couldn't control. I've seen women driven out of the workforce by fuckwits for no other reason than their mere presence made the blokes uncomfortable. People who would go around making charges like yours when there was no validity - just a complete lack of social awareness,

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: I had the reverse situation

            "In my 40 years in engineering and IT "

            You can stop right there. Hardly a representative cross section of the male gender.

            "I've seen women driven out of the workforce by fuckwits for no other reason than their mere presence made the blokes uncomfortable."

            Yeah, right. No one leaves a good job just because they may someone "feel uncomfortable".

            1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Um

              > > women driven out

              > No one leaves a good job just because

              Key words: driven out. Leaving against their will.

              C.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I had the reverse situation

              Oh dear.

              "No one leaves a good job just because they may someone "feel uncomfortable"."

              If a woman is made to feel uncomfortable like this, it isn't a good job, it's a miserable one. The sort of behaviour noted by the previous poster is how workplaces become toxic environments for anyone who gets caught in the crosshairs (and it's not always women, there are a lot of -isms out there).

              In my experience, if you're unable to see that this can be an issue you're often the type of person who causes these problems.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge

                Re: I had the reverse situation

                If a womananyone is made to feel uncomfortable like this, it isn't a good job

                FTFY.

                You're welcome.

          2. Trilkhai

            Re: I had the reverse situation

            This exactly. I started adulthood being actively friendly with everyone, but gradually learned that a) a certain percentage of guys persistently won't grasp/accept that I'm only interested in platonic friendship, and b) some of them will then proceed to aggressively 'pursue' or even stalk me, sometimes even if I am in (or claim I am in) a relationship. Now I'm friendly if there's a good reason to talk to somebody, but otherwise largely keep to myself just for my own peace of mind.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Unhappy

              Re: I had the reverse situation

              The male version of that is pretty crippling too. Being awkward in the presence of any young lady - regardless of whether or not she invokes any kind of sexual feelings - because one is terrified of being thought to be coming on to her.

              1. boltar Silver badge

                Re: I had the reverse situation

                "because one is terrified of being thought to be coming on to her."

                Oh pu-lease. Hand in your balls at the door on the way out.

          3. Shooter
            Joke

            Re: I had the reverse situation

            Judging by the upvote/downvote ratio of Cristoph's comment (as of the time of this writing), it's more like 87%.

        3. Glen 1 Bronze badge

          Re: I had the reverse situation

          "However some women seem to think that any man who simply talks to them is trying a come on"

          People aren't born thinking that, it's taught. Unfortunately in many cases it's taught by bitter experience.

        4. Kiwi Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: I had the reverse situation

          Never underestimate ate the monumental self regard and narcissism of some women who simply can't entertain the idea that a man wouldn't try it on with them all the time.

          The number of double-baggers I've met who think anyone who speaks to them is trying to come on to them is astounding.

          I've also met more than I care to remember who, on finding out I'm not nearly straight enough to be attracted to them, become offended and either set out to destroy me (or cause some harm, usually with nasty rumours around the office) or set out to change me.

          --> Couple of truckloads of them and I might let you know where I live.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I had the reverse situation

            Oh, women can be arses too, no question about that. It's just that in IT firms it's more often the mysogenist cohort that reaches critical mass first. In other industries that's flipped on it's head, and it can be quite uncomfortable being a male staff member (gay or straight).

            A lot of people are dipshits, unfortunately.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: I had the reverse situation

        It's either that, or the fact that very attractive people (male or fermale) never have to develop a personality in order to get others to pay attention to them. It's absolutely not their fault, it's an evolutionary pressure to not spend resources where you don't have to, and they'll be well beyond the age where they can pass their genes on by the point everything starts to sag and suddenly having a personality becomes important.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I had the reverse situation

      We had a support person who fits that description. It didn't take long to work out she was a real techie.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I had the reverse situation

        We had an extremely attractive (and taken) young intern who went on to become an excellent engineer. She left us, then returned a few years later. I hesitated to ask her why she returned, but she finally divulged that her boss (an older european gentleman impressed with himself) at the place she had gone did not believe that women could be good engineers. My reply to her was along the lines of "his loss, our gain".

        Sadly, her husband got a job offer he couldn't refuse, and she left us again. I admit to being impressed by her looks, but I made a conscious effort to treat her as a fellow professional, while pretty much ignoring her gender. I remain far more impressed with her intelligence, aptitude and ability to come up to speed on a new project.

        My most difficult time with her? She (of foreign origin) once confided that she could never remember which connector was the male and which was the female. After an uncomfortable silence, I believe I responded that with a little more thought the reason for the naming would become obvious.

        1. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
          Angel

          Re: I had the reverse situation

          When I was an apprentice at a large motor manufacturing company, there was one young fellow on the course who was not exactly worldly wise. One day, in Basic Fitting, he asked the instructor why male and female threads were so named. The rather fatherly instructor put his hand on the boy's shoulder and said "I think you had better go and have a talk with Sister Amos". Sister Amos was the nurse in the first aid section of the school.

    4. Trilkhai

      Re: I had the reverse situation

      Out of curiosity, if the employee had been a guy, would you still have expected him to pay attention to you and been upset when he focused on doing his job instead?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: I had the reverse situation

        Unfair reply. Ok, you could take the anecdote that way, but (unless you know the individual in question) you're applying an "all males are jerks" prejudice. Like other such prejudices, that can be quite hurtful.

    5. Disk0
      Meh

      Re: I had the reverse situation

      Found the NiceGuy.

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oh Be Reasonable

    This is obviously a new and completely exceptional circumstance that could not have been envisioned. After all, the whole concept of rotating machinery is very new.

    /s

    P.S. If I'd have got those dirty looks it wouldn't have taken me long to ask in a very loud voice whether she would have preferred to be scalped. Prolly wouldn't have stopped the dirty looks but would have made me feel better :)

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Oh Be Reasonable

      She got herself into that situation, but somehow it's the PFYs fault that she didn't suffer any serious consequences? (applies equally to males & their ties)

      Lusers and Manglement are a different species from techno nobilis

  6. NATTtrash
    Devil

    Talking proper 80s...

    "Andrew", a reader who spent the early part of the 1980s working...

    Well, lucky you, as this wasn't the default during that period. But...

    ...like it was my fault that she now looked like the main character in the 2001 film 'Amélie'.

    Wouldn't Philip Oakey be a better reference? That would have made her really, really forefront fashionable at that specific time. But I assume the lady wasn't really into electro? ☺☺☺

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Talking proper 80s...

      "Wouldn't Philip Oakey be a better reference?"

      At least it wasn't Kojak.

  7. Caver_Dave
    Alert

    And beards!

    During the 1980's - let's call him Pete (as he may read this despite being in manglement) had the long hair and beard of a student.

    He was abseiling down Gaping Gill, a 100m surface shaft on the slopes of Ingleborough in Yorkshire, when said long hair became entangled in his fig-8 descending device (about half way down). Luckily, he was carrying a knife on a lanyard round his neck and calmly cut away the offending hair. Unfortunately, he nearly immediately became entangled by his beard and he was pulled close enough that he could feel the heat of the metal descender on his chin. This required very careful use of the knife very close to the skin. This was made doubly difficult as a fig-8 put twists in the rope as you descend and he had been slowly spinning in the middle of the open shaft for the 10 minutes or so it had taken to extricate himself.

    He looked a right state when I got down to him, with a chunk missing from both his hair and beard, and still looking pretty green from the spinning. He didn't tidy his hair or beard, but wore them in that state as a 'badge of honour' until it grew out.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Joke

      Apropos of nothing much

      You remind me of being challenged to make something of an old man with a boat:

      There was an old man with a boat,

      who made to set sail on the moat.

      The spectators all cheered,

      but he tripped on his beard,

      and only his hat stayed afloat.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Apropos of nothing much

        He was abseiling down Gaping Gill?

        I think I went out with her.

  8. jake Silver badge

    About two billion years ago ...

    ... in the age of TIPs and IMPs, I had long hair. Very long hair. Long enough to sit on. I got it caught in an IBM 1403. Ripped a small chunk of scalp out. Much bleeding and swearing, but surprisingly little pain. I still have the scar, visible if you part my now kept quite short hair in the right place.

    1. Martin J Hooper

      Re: About two billion years ago ...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnlRZxHeTFU - At the Computer Museum in the US...

      They have a complete working 1960's IBM Computer to go with it... :D

      1. keith_w
        Unhappy

        Re: About two billion years ago ...

        That's not even an N1 - 2000 lines per minute at full speed. I recall the first and last time I stacked paper on top of the printer, just as it ran out and the power hood automatically opened, dumping the paper on the floor. It's a good thing that fanfold paper is easy to sort

        1. Dave 32
          Pint

          Re: About two billion years ago ...

          That would be the 1403-N3 model, which automatically raises the hood when it's out of paper. Makes for a real fun time, when a dozen students have sat cups of (soft) drinks on top of it, along with a bunch of prints. ;-)

          Dave

  9. davcefai

    Lusers

    Lusers are lusers everywhere. A few years ago we were building a new production facility. When it came to cladding the front we had to close off the road leading to the Marketing Dept. So we assigned new parking spaces, dotted the area with "Keep Out" posters and we posted maps and instructions on how to walk to Marketing via a different route

    Next day 4 girls from Marketing - cookie cut types with long straight hair and sub-par IQs - came to complain that they had torn their tights climbing over the barriers in the road.

  10. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    "the transparent plastic lid on these printers should never be opened to be better able to see how much of your listing had been printed."

    that's quite the warning sign!

    1. IJD

      But not as amusing as:

      "WARNING -- do not look into the laser with your remaining eye"

      -- seen on a big optical bench at the NPL when I went to do some equipment calibration...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sadly, my retina specialist (Darned detached retinas.) had to issue that warning to another patient (who shall remain nameless), who had obtained a very powerful laser, and then couldn't resist the temptation to look into the beam. :-( He'd blasted a huge hole in the retina of one of his eyes. :-(

        1. dfsmith

          My laser lecturer made an offhand comment on the importance of correctly focusing the system. He handed us an expensive pristine-looking lens. Except there was a very well defined 0.5mm hole through the exact center.

  11. Ian Emery Silver badge

    Expensive Visit

    A visiting corporate panjandrum decided to lean well over the hopper of an industrial shredder/masticator his company were thinking of ordering, and had his bulging wallet drop into it.

    Guy was JUST stopped from going in to rescue it, as the machine would take several seconds to stop, and he would probably have lost a leg as well as his corporate credit cards.

    In a similar incident a few years later, a guy lost his foot.

    1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Expensive Visit

      That's the sales department? Is their target market Dr. Evil?

      "I'm sorry to report that your Mr. Minion lost his foot to our ... 'paper shredder'"

      "Really? I'll take twenty."

  12. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    DIY

    Personally I would have just handed her the scissors (after pulling the plug on the printer) and let her make her own decision on freeing herself, and how much hair she wanted to lose in the process. No-one else to blame in that case (not that this would stop some people).

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: DIY

      Or offered to take the printer off its stand so she could carry about with her.

  13. NogginTheNog
    WTF?

    Assuming the story is pretty verbatim...

    She's effin' lucky he got there in time! Could have been VERY nasty if that thing hadn't been stopped :-o

    1. Ian Emery Silver badge

      Re: Assuming the story is pretty verbatim...

      Agreed; as per the lathe sub-thread, I knew a hippy teenage who lost a sizeable chunk of scalp to a lathe, i suspect that IBM would have been strong enough to do a similar amount of damage - based on the power of the feed on a smaller Panasonic daisy wheel I used to run (and still have in a box under the stairs).

  14. goodjudge

    The first office I worked in (early 90s)...

    ... had 3/4 of a tie pinned to the wall above the shredder in lieu of a printed warning.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Support gratification

    "The newly bobbed user herself, however, "never thanked me for saving her from total disaster," grumbled Andrew, "but instead gave me the evil stare any time she walked past me like it was my fault that she now looked like the main character in the 2001 film 'Amélie'.""

    That's support for you, mate. Saving them lives at a slight hairy cost is considered acting as a bastard vs. all idiots watching without moving.

    Fortunately, we get paid for that shit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      #metoo

      Well, if it was (only) the hair then at least he didn't have to undress her.

      ... unless there's more than we've been told?

  16. Peter Prof Fox

    Health and safety gone senile

    Now everyone wears name badges on lanyards. (Bow-tie wearing engineer opts-out of that! )

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Health and safety gone senile

      One of our customers had that - even had nice "safety first" logo/motto lanyards which they were very proud of. At least until I pointed out to them that they lacked the little plastic safety clip that would break before their neck did if the thing did get caught in something.

      Suffice it to say a swift withdrawal and rework ensued. And what did I get for this? Yes, they insisted I had one too...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Health and safety gone senile

        You probably confused them by pointing out that words should mean something.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Health and safety gone senile

        I have one of those.

        It's quite dusty behind the monitors, at the back of my desk, with the piles of nominally useful papers. The badge is in my pocket.

        Yes, we have a clear-desk policy too. No, nobody has been stupid enough to raise the disregard for it with the person who fixes all their problems...

      3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: Health and safety gone senile

        I made a see-through plastic half-pocket with a safety pin cunningly taped to the back, that my photo card lives in on my shirt front, except when I have to take it out to present it to a door lock sensor - alas not lanyard-height. The raw material was a plastic food tray from supermarket product packaging; the stuff that plastic bottles are made of, I think, except that the bottles don't have flat bits to suit this purpose.

  17. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
    Coat

    The Dreaded Dot Matrix

    Hate them and these days are poorly manufactured compared of Dot Matrix Printers from over 15 years ago(Older Epson and Lexmark Dot Matrix printers were bullet proof). A brand new lexmark dm was being setup by myself whilst being yelled at they needed to print asap, the control panel panel fell in when I went to press the ready button.

    Infuriated and being moaned at, I opened the flap and pressed the panel back into place when I obviously pressed the ready button with my hand in the way. I obviously found out I forgot to remove the power cable.

    At least it did what it was told, but had to clean blood out of the machine after and log a call with lexmark to replace the panel (Which they did next day to be fair).

  18. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    In the office I work in...

    I'm pretty sure half the workforce would have just got their phones out and filmed it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: In the office I work in...

      Not in the early 1980s.

  19. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    Years ago there was an accident on a local farm, where one of the workers accidentally fed himself into some machinery and ended up losing one of his hands.

    Once the dust had settled, the farm was visited by the Health & Safety Executive, who wanted to investigate the accident. The guy demonstrated what had happened, and proceeded to lose his other hand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A 'thumb up' seems rather heartless in the context of this anecdote

    2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      A long time ago in a pharmaceutical company site in Kent, that's since been demolished.

      Deploying a new PC when the background conversation in the room took the form of....

      1: Do you remember Randy aka Ranjit that used to work here?

      2: Dunno ....vaguely!

      1: Oh well I just got a e-mail from him with his new work contact e-mail address, I'll delete it as he will probably be sacked soon enough. Every time he contacts me, hes dismissed shortly after?

      2: Whut!

      1: He got fired from here & other places, when he was here he managed to splatter acid over everyone by dropping* a weight into a container of the stuff. Full chemical spill operation the works.

      2: Ohhh dear.

      1: Yeah H&SE turned up wanted to see how the incident happened so the thing was re-enacted & he chucked another weight in, splashed everyone including the S&S inspector & we had another chemical spill clean up operation again. That's how he got sacked.

      *Rather than lowering slowly to get a measure of the displacement.

    3. rskurat

      No doubt a Darwin Award nominee?

      1. OssianScotland Bronze badge

        I thought Darwin Awards were always posthumous?

        (Of course, it could probably be arranged)

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Coat

          I thought Darwin Awards were always posthumous?

          (Of course, it could probably be arranged)

          Not always. The requirement is that you can no longer procreate, preferably in a rather stupid way.

          (Wonder if Trump will qualify when someone finally gets sick of him and nukes Washington?)

          1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
            Headmaster

            "The requirement is that you can no longer procreate, preferably in a rather stupid way."

            IIRC, that's only worth an "Honorable Mention", not the full Darwin.

            1. Nick Kew Silver badge
              Coat

              procreate, preferably in a rather stupid way."

              Is there another way?

        2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Darwin Award

          I thought Darwin Awards were always posthumous?

          Not necessarily, see this story about a Lobster Vasectomy.

  20. Timbo

    Surely....

    ...it would have been easier to yank out the IEC mains connector or even unplug the parallel (or serial) port cable ?

    Both would've stopped the printer from carrying on and then some time could have been spent manually reversing the printer "drum", around which the ladys hair was wound?

    1. KLane

      Re: Surely....

      Don't know the printer specs, but unplugging the data cable may not stop the printing immediately, as it may have an internal buffer.

    2. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Surely....

      Reaching round the back of a printer with a young woman bent over it, to reach the plug on the back, could have a wide range of unforeseen consequences.

  21. Amentheist
    Devil

    Re Dresscode

    HR here banned shorts at one point, we gave her (it was a one lady team at the time - dead nice person, don't get me wrong, just with bone to pick for shorts wearing techies for some reason) so much whinging in response one of the company founding directors started coming to work wearing shorts in support/protest. A few months later when she left the new HR people jokingly said the only requirements now is that you come to work wearing clothes - been on shorts and trainers since! (I never knew trainers can be so comfy!)

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Re Dresscode

      HR here banned shorts at one point

      Just show up for work in a skirt. The moment she says anything about that, it is discrimination.

      1. Amentheist

        Re: Re Dresscode

        I suspect the new HR people figured out that that (a skirt) was going to happen sooner rather than later seeing that the 'old guard' in the office can hold their own (as we kicked back on some other manglement changes at the time quite effectively)

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Re Dresscode

          It did happen to a couple of companies over the years. I know, because it made the news, see:

          Sweden male train drivers wear skirts after shorts row

          Overheated French male bus drivers don skirts in defiance of dress code

          I am pretty sure there are more examples available.

          And yes, one more:

          Teenage boys wear skirts to school to protest against 'no shorts' policy

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: Re Dresscode

            I think that last story put in an appearance here on El Reg. But ICBW.

            I've threatened it myself when told off for wearing shorts to $work. It's a shame it didn't become perfectly normal for men to wear skirts or dresses in parallel with women asserting their right to wear trousers.

            1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: Re Dresscode

              I think that last story put in an appearance here on El Reg. But ICBW.

              Very well possible, I just noticed the link while re-reading the article about the bus drivers in Nantes.

              I've threatened it myself when told off for wearing shorts to $work.

              Next time don't threaten or even warn, just do it and file charges for discrimanation the moment anything is said about it, leave alone being told off.

  22. Spanners Silver badge
    Happy

    I am relieved to announce that

    My employer not only does not require me to wear a tie, they do not allow me to. (There was no argument on my part about this.)

    About 8 years ago, I saw on TV, a bunch of journos getting a boraxing at another branch of my employers. They had followed the PM to take pictures and find out he was doing. They didn't notice that "call me Dave" and Nick had taken off their ties and rolled up their sleeves.

  23. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I'm a long haired guy

    I once was passing the glass back to the lass across the bar, and got my hair singed badly from one of those candles set on the bar at Christmas time. I quickly extinguished the fire on my head, no one saw it, but everybody smelled it!

    D'oh icon, as that was pretty much the motion I made to put out the fire!

    1. Vincent Ballard

      Re: I'm a long haired guy

      My sister managed to get her hair twisted round a soldering iron in an electronics lesson at school. I don't think it actually caused a fire, but again everyone smelled it.

  24. Hazmoid

    In western Australia, pretty much the only people who wear ties are the sales people and the bankers. Everyone else has bowed to the inevitable ( and the heat) and gone for polo shirts.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Have you noticed that of late, those wear ties (your observations is spot on) seem to all wear the red "power tie"?

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Tony Blair used to wear a purple tie basically to let people know he was half way between Labour and the Conservatives.

        1. MarthaFarqhar

          Or he thought he was of Royal blood?

  25. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    badass haircut

    Makes me think of this scene: https://moesucks.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/akatsuki-no-yona-0607.jpg

    So just tell them they were making their symbolic transition from victim to badass, it works in fiction...

  26. Angry IT Monkey

    As an ex-longhair I'd be annoyed as well

    At myself naturally. At school we had safety lectures before being allowed on the pillar drill or lathe.

    To be semi-fair she was probably educated in the very un-PC (in both senses) 70's / 80's when anything mechanical not involving cooking / sewing / typing was deemed "not for girles" by the education system and society at large.

  27. Nunyabiznes

    Long hair

    I used to have quite long hair. One day I was in a hurry to get under a car I was working on and did a flop onto the creeper (I don't know what they are called over yonder - but there are a low-slung wheeled board you can lay on that allows movement when working under a vehicle) and shot almost all the way under the car. Notice almost. My hair fell out of my cap and wound up around one of the wheels, which led to a rapid braking action. I had a dull knife in my pocket which I used to saw off the offending locks. The next day I had the same basic hair cut I wear today - some 30 years later. I can guarantee that it is short enough that it won't get caught in rotating mechanical devices.

  28. martinusher Silver badge

    youTube anyone?

    One of my more mindless pastimes is to trawl youTube for industrial films made 60 or more years ago. While its true that safety equipment started to appear back in the 40s it wasn't universal and the shop practices that are shown in these films would make your hair creep.

    Incidentally, just having an emergency stop button that cuts the power won't work with a lot of today's machinery. Modern production machinery is so complex that just switching the thing off isn't likely to stop you from being squashed or torn apart, especially as the motors in the machine may be balancing a whole lot of dead weight. A typical example is one machine we built servos for, an overhead 'donutless' CAT scanner. When the thing isn't working the servos balance the weight so the operator can move it around as if it was made from balsa wood. When it is operating it has to run across the body of a person, someone who might move at any time, so the machine has to sense where the person's skin is at any time and keep its distance. Anyway, the big thing these days are safety standards like "Safe Torque Off" where components of the system are put into a programmed neutral state. Its all grist to the engineering mill -- lots of good eating there for those in the business.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: youTube anyone?

      Anyway, the big thing these days are safety standards like "Safe Torque Off" where components of the system are put into a programmed neutral state.

      They may be older than you think in some senses :)

      Also trawling spewboob in recent times, I came across some material on old water powered saw and flour mills. The first gear off the wheel was commonly made with wooden teeth, the idea being is something jammed the teeth would easily sheer off. You can imagine how much torque some of those wheels would have!

      1. Benson's Cycle

        Re: youTube anyone?

        It was more than that. In the day when those things were designed, brass and bronze were extremely expensive and cast iron was very unreliable. A cast iron tooth might break off more easily than a wooden one, and then a large lump of metal would be fired out of the machinery, whereas wood tends not to break off but to split and is much safer.

        It was also possible to make individual teeth for wooden wheels, not really practical with cast iron. Repairs were easy.

        The safety factor for cast iron teeth was, IIRC, about 9, which for many duties would make the part impossibly large and heavy. Skilled craftsmen in wood could work with much smaller safety factors.

        As late as the 1940s Machinery's Handbook was still recommending wooden pulleys over cast iron for some duties.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: youTube anyone?

      A short film by S. Laurel and O. Hardy may interest you - it's called "Busy Bodies" and seems to be a documentary about their work at a sawmill, I say work...

    3. Benson's Cycle

      Re: youTube anyone?

      I still have a slightly bent little finger on one hand due to testing an emergency stop system (deliberately) that didn't quite. A centimetre too far was enough to trap a finger. In those days you just walked into the local hospital and were out fifteen minutes later with your finger in a splint and bandaged.

      However...

      I saw a Youtube video the other day of a Mercedes engine plant. The absence of safety glasses and so on was striking. And it reminded me that safety equipment is only for mitigation of risks you have not been able to eliminate by correct design of plant. A factory full of workers in safety glasses, helmet and boots with steel toecaps implies bad safety design to begin with.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: youTube anyone?

        And it reminded me that safety equipment is only for mitigation of risks you have not been able to eliminate by correct design of plant.

        Reminds me of some 'fun' discussions I had with a safety inspector once.

        I worked in a site where there was a risk of falling objects in much of the place, thus hard hats were a requirement. However, my particular job had me in a steel cage above the shelving. I didn't wear the hat inside my box (but had it handy for when I left). I couldn't get it through to this twit that, in the event something was travelling with enough enery to penetrate my cage and reach me, I was likely already long dead and no pretty little plastic hat was going to save me. Furthermore, due to the size of the area I worked in, said hat was actually an increased risk as it restricted my view. Took a "sorry I didn't see you there" while nearly dropping something on him to clear that.

        I've seen many 'safety' things in my time that have increased risk.

      2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Not my field, but

        "Correct design of plant" may include machinery with dangerous parts firmly sealed inside enclosures and cabinets. In many workplaces you may then find the enclosures and cabinets wedged open in inventive ways in order to get a better view or sound of what the dangerous parts are doing. Thus, protective eye and foot wear. There may be a cultural difference in Mercedes so that this doesn't apply, or possibly your engine plant is a studio set with imitation machines that don't do anything. Or... a workforce of robots doesn't need to wear safety spectacles. And probably has steel feet.

  29. IT's getting kinda boring

    Long sleeves = system down

    Back when I was just a nipper, I had a work experience week (something we all had to do while still in school). I went to work in a local firm, and wound up in the computer room. Now this was back in the day when they were running an ICL2976 and an ICL2966. With the big OPER station. On the front of that was a toggle switch that caused a system reboot. Now why on Earth anyone thought that a toggle switch on the front of an operating station was a good idea is anyone's guess.

    I watched one of the guys (wearing a suit jacket) move his arm up to type something and caught the toggle switch with his sleeve. Not his hand, but the cuff somehow was at the right angle to snag the switch. The 2976 went down hard. It took 3 days to get it back up.

    From that day I refused to wear suit jackets or have sleeves down around machines. That was 30 odd years ago!

  30. JuJuBalt

    I'd like to hear the ones from the Dyson factory.

  31. revdjenk

    Accidentally or on purpose?

  32. Suricou Raven

    Things I have removed from printers:

    - Paper.

    - Melted-to-the-fuser projector transparencies.

    - Chewing gum

    - Staples.

    - Shrinken tracing paper.

    - Thick cardboard.

    - Envelope, previously with transparent plastic window.

    - Paperclips.

    - Sandwich.

  33. Herby Silver badge

    Four Yorkshiremen... (aka the first liar doesn't have a chance)

    My story (admittedly second hand, but I know the protagonist) was back in the 70's. We had nice IBM 2741 terminals in use and there were all over the place. The female programmer (yes, even in the 70's) with long hair leaned over and got her hair caught in the works of the Selectric mechanism, while it was nicely typing out things. She reached for the on/off switch, but not before a couple of inches were tangles up. The IBM CE (Costumer Engineer, aka repair guy) was called, and his solution was (as observed here) "cut the hair". Barbara (her real name) didn't like this solution, and being surrounded by LOTS of male engineers, they came up with the solution. You see there was an identical terminal right next to the subject one, which lent itself to investigation on how to disassemble the problem one. The end result was: No hair cut, and two disassembled terminals for the CE to put back together. The CE wasn't to happy about this, and the whole incident was written up in some note published periodically by the computer center.

    I fully suspect that Barbara is retired by now as she was born during the war (as I was told). She was an excellent programmer!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      Re: Four Yorkshiremen... (aka the first liar doesn't have a chance)

      Costumer Engineer

      Apposite. Does costume engineering include hairdressing?

  34. Ribfeast

    Reminds me of this German forklift safety video, cracks me up every time!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oB6DN5dYWo

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