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Featured How to train myself to be more careful?

  1. Dec 8, 2017 #1
    I am not a very careful person and I am often overly ambitious. I often think of something that would be cool to have then try to design or build it without considering safety or my abilities. Do you guys know how I could train myself to not be overly ambitious and to be more careful?
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  3. Dec 8, 2017 #2


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    This is really a matter of decision-making and choices.

    Have you had any scary near-misses?
  4. Dec 8, 2017 #3
    I have burned myself many times usually relatively minor, and I get cuts and bruises basically every time I touch something that could hurt me. I have nearly cut myself on power tools but luckily I haven't yet. Thus far I haven't gotten seriously injured at all but considering I hurt myself relatively minorly all the time I do need to be more careful. I also usually work far longer than I should and I have nearly drowned before due to fatigue and deciding it was a good idea to go swimming after getting extremely tired.At work I often carry things twice my size even though I am very weak causing me to get in a lot of pain.
  5. Dec 8, 2017 #4


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    @stephenkohnle53 your post isnt specific about the problem needing to be solved. Could you please clarify what negative consequences you've experienced or just missed? Can you give an example of a safety issue? What type of projects/dangers?

    In general I strongly advocate in favor of ambition and failure if safety can be assured.
  6. Dec 8, 2017 #5
    I do not pay attention to obvious signs of danger and often do not think about what could harm me. This maybe things such as if I am handling say a small rocket I will not pay attention to it being clearly hot. My problem is I wish to know if there is a way to train myself to be more careful similarly to people being trained through rewards or otherwise to work harder. Does that clarify it?
  7. Dec 8, 2017 #6


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    Sounds like you have a medical condition called "being a young male human". The auto insurance companies often call this "driving while male".
    I am guessing that you are no older than 25.
    If so, your mission is to survive relatively intact to age 26.
    Your pretty much doomed to having more accidents.

    But consider this: When you tackle a project, what constitutes success? When you're using a power tool, make yourself skilled - and skilled means that both you and the tool make it out the way they started. So the objective in not just to cut the board, but to operate the tool masterfully. It's not just to get to your destination, but to operate the car and yourself well within their limits. Every time you get a near miss or damage a tool, spend a moment to determine what you could have done to avoid that situation. The goal is mastery, not survival - because ignoring mastery reduces you value and risks your survival.
  8. Dec 8, 2017 #7
    True, thanks for the feedback. By the way I am 17 so yeah I see your point. I think from now on I will pick something simple and work on it until it becomes really good and only then will I move on. I think I will start with a t shirt slingshot I read about that way its simple and it will help me get better with my hands.
  9. Dec 8, 2017 #8


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    Agreed, though I'm 42 and wondering if I'll ever grow out of it!

    I rarely do a project where I don't sustain a small injury. Heck, this spring I even found a creative new way to crack a rib!

    Here's some ointment to ease the symptoms, since I don't think there's a cure for the disease: learn to recognize the difference between minor/unimportant danger and serious danger. Then ignore the minor danger as a cost of doing business and focus only on staying safe from major danger.

    And keep a well stocked first aid kit and a couple of band-aids with you in your wallet.
  10. Dec 8, 2017 #9


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    Sounds like a great project. Part of the mastery in using a slingshot is hitting the target and not hitting what isn't the target. You want to develop a great slingshot, a great setting for using the slingshot, great slingshot skills, and hopefully some great friends to share the experience with.
  11. Dec 8, 2017 #10


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    Do you have a mentor or other person who is helping you with these projects? A discussion about safety considerations usually goes along with mentoring.

    Also, have you taken Wood Shop or Metal Shop in school yet? I would encourage you to do that, since you will learn a LOT about safety considerations around power tools. There are a lot of non-obvious safety considerations when working around power tools. Like not wearing loose-fitting clothing, and if you have long hair, not working without putting it back or up in a hat...
  12. Dec 8, 2017 #11
    I am currently taking fundamentals of engineering which does use the shop, but my teacher rarely talks about safety and often is not in the shop when we are working but nearby. As for the projects no I do not have a mentor because the only people who know much about engineering that I know are either unavailable or are not willing to help. As for safety the people I do know are even less careful than me and rarely wears protection no matter what they are doing.
  13. Dec 8, 2017 #12


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    Well, don't be like them. Please try to set a good example.

    And wear protective equipment as much as you can -- you never know when it will pay off. I had leather gloves on a couple days ago when I was trying to loosen a frozen nut on a large piece of equipment. The nut broke free in a way that I didn't anticipate, and I bashed my hand on a sharp protrusion on the equipment. If I hadn't been wearing those gloves, I'm pretty sure my finger would have been lacerated and broken. Still hurt like hell for the rest of the day, though.

    Be safe!

    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017
  14. Dec 8, 2017 #13


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    Blood sacrifice? Mandatory. Loss of fingers? Bad form.
    Bleeding into gloves is much more sterile than bare-handed bleeding.:hammer: :bang: :medal::oldlaugh:
  15. Dec 8, 2017 #14


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    That was my guess, as well. When you're young, you're "ten feet tall and bullet-proof, and will live forever."

    Same here, although I've sustained enough minor injuries so that many of them don't happen as regularly now.

    Some of the things I've learned:
    If you're working on house wiring, make sure that the circuit breaker is off. If you happen to drill through a joist and into a 30-A feeder wire for the range, it makes a disconcertingly loud sound. I guess a corollary would be, if you're drilling through a joist, make sure there aren't any wires on the other side.
    If you're using a cutoff wheel, keep hands and fingers and other extremities well away from the rotating disk.
    If you're using an electrical tool like a hedge trimmer, keep the lead well away from the blade. (More of a problem for my wife, who managed to saw through the extension cord.)
    Don't spray yourself with a pressure washer. At 2400 PSI, one of these can shred wood, let alone human skin.
  16. Dec 8, 2017 #15


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    One suggestion is to look up something called "safety culture."

    The fact the you recognize a pattern of behaviour that you want to improve is a very good thing and this is certainly possible. One big idea behind a safety culture is that everyone has a role to play. You have to take responsibility for your own decisions and actions and ultimately your own safety as well as the safety of those around you.

    It sounds like this is an issue with learning to recognize when you've pushed yourself too hard, or at least when you're tired. You won't always be able to just stop doing something because you're tired. But you can try to make decisions that can both mitigate fatigue and take fewer risks when you are fatigued. You can also do things to keep yourself from getting as tired - build up your resilience. These include getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, leading a balanced life, etc. And if you know you have a hard physical day at work coming up, don't go on a 20 km run that morning before you start. Plan your day so that you can be the most effective at your tasks as they come.

    Doing something that will cause you injury or pain is a bad idea and your employer should not be asking you to do such things. In fact, most employers will specifically NOT want you to over-exert yourself because an employee who is off sick or injured is only costing the company money.

    If you're doing this by choice, you might want to think about why. I understand the need to show that you're able to pull your own weight. But generally this comes from people doing their fair share, not straining themselves beyond their capacity.
  17. Dec 8, 2017 #16
    Thanks for all of the feedback
    Yeah I'm not sure why I strain myself, my employer is very kind and doesn't want me to strain myself or work longer than I was booked for. At my job we have a large area devoted to employee rights and 2 areas designated for safety related things. It is a smallish building so for it's size we have a lot devoted to that. Speaking of which I have a fire safety and general safety test to take at work this Sunday.

    Oh and I am usually good about wearing protection. I do forget gloves sometimes but I am getting better about it.
  18. Dec 8, 2017 #17
    I'd suggest a couple things that work for me. Learn to listen to that little voice in your head. And keep that voice talking to you ALL the time, about safety.

    When that little voice says "I'm getting tired, I'll just cut these last two pieces of wood and go to bed", I listen to the first part, and just stop right there and then. I can finish later when I've rested. And it will be easier to finish with all my fingers.

    I also nicked my finger once, reaching for the cutoff board after I turned the saw off (but the blade was still spinning). I barely got in the path of the blade, and the blade had slowed, but it very cleanly left a 1/8" deep notch in my finger tip. It made it very real just how easily it would go through flesh and bone if I had gone further and/or the blade was spinning faster.

    From that point on, the entire time I run a saw, I say, over and over again in my head "hand-blade... hand-blade...hand-blade". That keeps me constantly aware of where my hand is in relation to that blade. So far, has worked for me.

    As others have said, not all safety is obvious, table saws in particular have some dangers that you need to learn about. The very dangerous different kick-back modes were not obvious to me at least.

    A smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Learn safety from experts, and apply it. And have fun!
  19. Dec 10, 2017 #18
    Usually being more careful is about slowing down. When you rush, you make mistakes.
  20. Dec 10, 2017 #19

    Charles Link

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    Much of this high tech stuff, whether it is mechanical, or electrical, or chemical, is stuff that you need to exercise some precaution with. We had a posting on here about a year ago where someone was asking how much 12 M ## NH_3 ## solution would be needed to neutralize 18 M sulfuric acid. From the sound of his post, he had no idea that mixing the two is not the recommended thing at all,(that it could spew all over the place=quite hazardous because of the potential for chemical burns), and it is highly recommended to dilute both of them first, before mixing them, by pouring the acid or base slowly into a large volume of water, (and always wear goggles even when doing the slow dilution). It's called common sense. It is good that you @stephenkohnle53 are starting to recognize that it pays to be very careful with some of this stuff.
  21. Dec 10, 2017 #20


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    Have a kid. Very soon you will find yourself noticing dangers you previously neglected.
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