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Matt Ranum
04-16-2011, 9:33 AM
Safety safety safety........can't be stressed enough especially for those new to some of these tools. Thought I would post this as a reminder to that. Respect the tools your using.


Yale student asphyxiated in lathe accident at chemistry lab, medical examiner rules



NEW HAVEN — A Yale University student from Massachusetts died in an accident Tuesday night at the Sterling Chemistry Laboratory, Yale officials said Wednesday.

Michele Dufault’s hair got caught in a lathe, a piece of machinery that spins very quickly, and it pulled her in, sources said. The state medical examiner’s office reported that Dufault died from accidental asphyxia by neck compression.

Yale President Richard C. Levin, in a statement issued Wednesday evening, called the incident “a true tragedy,” and said he is initiating a “thorough review of the safety policies and practices of laboratories, machine shops, and other facilities with power equipment that is accessed and operated by undergraduates.”

Levin said Dufault’s body was found by other students who had been working in the building. He did not say what time the discovery was made. The president said the students called police, who responded immediately. Fire officials reported being called to the scene at 2:33 a.m.

At Saybrook residential college Wednesday night, more than 150 people gathered to remember the young woman, recalling a warm and welcoming smile and brilliant, curious intellect. Students and top administrators held candles in memory of Dufault, who was just months from graduating.

The Yale marching band, in which Dufault had played saxophone, played her favorite selection, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

“She was very enthusastic about everything she did, and she was just extremely friendly,” said Jean-Luc Mosely. “I can’t think of a day when I havent seen her smile.”

Atid Kimelman, a sophomore, came out with other band members seeking comfort.

“I guess I’ll remember her with a saxophone in her hand, smiling at a game,” he said.

Levin put Steven Girvin, deputy provost for science and technology, in charge of the review. Until that is completed, Levin said Yale College will limit undergraduate access to facilities with power equipment to hours that will be specified by the end of the week, and said monitors will be present.

“The safety of our students is a paramount concern,” Levin said in the statement.

Dufault’s parents came to the campus Wednesday and will return before the end of the semester for a memorial service to honor their daughter.

A New Haven fire official said the department responded to an emergency call at the lab at 2:33 a.m. When examined by fire personnel, Dufault reportedly had no pulse, according to officials who turned the scene back over to Yale police.

Dufault was found sitting at a metal lathe with her hair wrapped around part of the machine. A lathe is a machine used for shaping wood, metal or other material by way of a rotating drive that turns the material being worked on against cutting tools.

Dufault reportedly was using the machine as she worked on her senior project.

An employee at the Bridgeport office of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration early Wednesday said they only have jurisdiction over accidents that involve paid workers.

But by early afternoon, Ted Fitzgerald, spokesman for the OSHA office in Boston, said that, after more fact-gathering, OSHA decided to open an investigation. He described it as a “fine line,” since Dufault was a student and not a worker, but because the equipment in question could expose employees to a potential hazard, OSHA can come in. Fitzgerald said it would review whether safety standards were followed; if there was a violation, OSHA could potentially cite the university and impose a fine.

City officials said they are not responsible for reviewing safety issues at Yale. That function is the purview of the university’s Environmental Health & Safety Department, which has some 50 workers, with a safety manager assigned to each building.

The department is charged with training of staff and students, “workplace evaluation, emergency response, hazardous materials management from acquisition to disposal, and by managing regulatory information,” according to its website.

Students and staff who had completed a shop course are the only ones allowed to use the machine shop in the basement of the Sterling Chemistry Laboratory, according to the chemistry department’s website.

Officials did not return calls seeking information on what that training involves and whether students are allowed to work unsupervised.

Dufault, as part of the highly selective Yale Drop Team, which works with NASA on experiments conducted at the Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, participated twice in the program. It gives teams of undergraduates from across the country the chance to propose, design, build, fly and evaluate reduced-gravity experiments. Previous articles on the Drop Team describe the students designing material for their experiments in the machine shop.

Yale Secretary Linda Koch Lorimer sent an email to the Yale community that said: “I am deeply saddened to inform you that Michele Dufault, a Yale senior in Saybrook College, died last night in what appears to have been a terrible accident involving a piece of equipment in the student machine shop in Sterling Chemistry Laboratory.”

News of the accident quickly spread.

“As you can imagine, this news is very sad for folks here, and, in fact, some are just learning of it,” said Stephanie Murphy, head of public information at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Mass.

Dufault was part of a highly selective summer program at Woods Hole last summer for science, math and engineering majors.

“She worked closely with WHOI scientists who design and operate robotic vehicles to make remote chemical and other measurements in the ocean. The WHOI community is deeply saddened by the loss of such an intelligent young woman with such high potential,” said Jim Yoder, dean of academic programs at the institution.

Dufault was a 2007 graduate of the Noble and Greenough School in Massachusetts, which she attended for six years, beginning in the seventh grade.

“Michele was an extraordinary young woman, one of the most precocious students who her teachers ever encountered,” said Head of School Robert P. Henderson Jr.

“She was simply brilliant. Her mind, her sense of curiosity, her perceptiveness, her sensitivity, and her enjoyment of what she did were extraordinary. She was a true intellectual. She was also distinctly humble, seemingly unaffected by her prodigious talent and academic attainments,” he said. “Those who knew her were drawn to her personal strength, modesty, good humor and perseverance. Her successes here touched almost every aspect of the school’s program.”

According to a 2009 story in the Yale Daily News, Dufault volunteered at an event at Sloane Physics Laboratory during which female students from the area were invited to participate in science experiments.

“It’s nice for the girls to be able to ask questions and say what they want without being judged by guys,” Dufault, who was volunteering at the event, was quoted in the Yale Daily News as having said. “Almost all of the volunteers and scientists involved with this program are women — showing the girls that women can succeed in the sciences. I wish I had that opportunity at their age.”

ray hampton
04-16-2011, 4:34 PM
why do the people with the higher I Q always seems to be the ones that get hurt the most

Matt Ranum
04-16-2011, 6:42 PM
why do the people with the higher I Q always seems to be the ones that get hurt the most

Don't know why but it sure seems so doesn't it. Its a sad but stark reminder that accidents don't show favoritism.

Stephen Pereira
04-17-2011, 5:33 AM
why do the people with the higher I Q always seems to be the ones that get hurt the most


Maybe it is because they are doing more..kind of like making mistakes..if you don't make mistakes it means that you are not doing anything

My condolances to the family of that young lady.

Chris Fournier
04-17-2011, 12:38 PM
why do the people with the higher I Q always seems to be the ones that get hurt the most

I doubt that this is the case at all. In this case the person fatally injured may well have had a high IQ but I would bet that she was not terribly familiar with operating a lathe. This being said you don't need a high IQ to realise that long hair and spinning machinery are a potentially deadly combo.

Ken Fitzgerald
04-17-2011, 12:59 PM
why do the people with the higher I Q always seems to be the ones that get hurt the most

I would suggest IQ has little to do with it.

Lack of experience, lack of proper training and/or the self discipline to use the knowledge the person has is more often the cause.

My sympathies to the students family and friends.

ray hampton
04-17-2011, 1:59 PM
I do not intend to cast doubts about the young woman death
but if anyone do not have training then their I Q dealing with a certain
machine is low but maybe not the overall I Q

Dan Hintz
04-17-2011, 2:21 PM
IQ and street smarts aren't the same thing. Someone with a high IQ will be able to figure out how an unknown piece of machinery works, but they may be unaware of possible dangers. A street smart person may be wise enough to realize they could be hurt with such power, but have no idea how it works.

Ken Fitzgerald
04-17-2011, 2:32 PM
High IQ and thorough training and knowledge involving safe operation of a given power tool aren't the same thing.

In today's world in this country where the main concern has become doing more with less for less expense, the thoroughness of training has suffered dramatically. A great example in the industry from which I just retired. In training someone about the safety aspects of working with super-cooled, supercon magnets that use liquid helium and pressurized gases for cooling the supercon magnets and the dangers of working around those incredibly strong magnet fields.....a lot of the training is now done via CDs or downloaded training programs rather than paying the expense of flying a group of individuals into a central location to see it, hear it and experience in the real world. In the flesh observations are a lot more impressive than sitting at a desk in your home working with cd-based training program.

ray hampton
04-17-2011, 3:27 PM
High IQ and thorough training and knowledge involving safe operation of a given power tool aren't the same thing.

In today's world in this country where the main concern has become doing more with less for less expense, the thoroughness of training has suffered dramatically. A great example in the industry from which I just retired. In training someone about the safety aspects of working with super-cooled, supercon magnets that use liquid helium and pressurized gases for cooling the supercon magnets and the dangers of working around those incredibly strong magnet fields.....a lot of the training is now done via CDs or downloaded training programs rather than paying the expense of flying a group of individuals into a central location to see it, hear it and experience in the real world. In the flesh observations are a lot more impressive than sitting at a desk in your home working with cd-based training program.


It appear that your I Q are too-high to understand what I am trying to say so what do I do , quit or do like the wind and attack from all angles at the same time ? I not the type to turn tail and run so quitting is out of the Question

Dan Hintz
04-18-2011, 8:14 AM
It appear that your I Q are too-high to understand what I am trying to say so what do I do , quit or do like the wind and attack from all angles at the same time ? I not the type to turn tail and run so quitting is out of the Question
Maybe I'm reading it the wrong way, Ray, but this post comes off as quite rude...

Bruce Boone
04-18-2011, 9:00 AM
Another lathe safety thing that might not be obvious to everyone is the danger of stock sticking out the back of a lathe. I had a 1" brass bar sticking out of the back of my manual lathe a couple feet once and everything was fine when I was turning it until it suddenly bent at 90 degrees, and the whole lathe hopped across the room like an out of balance washing machine. If anyone happened to be near it, it could have been very bad.

When the Mazak people installed my CNC lathe, they were quite insistent that I NEVER stick stock out the back of the CNC. They relayed a story where someone was holding a bar centered while it was being cut, but they failed to take into account that the lathe automatically compensated for cutting speed, so while a bar was being faced, the RPMs quickly climbed to 7000 rpms as the cutter neared the center of the bar. Needless to say, the person holding the bar was cut in half by the bar which started flailing about.

Thomas Bank
04-18-2011, 12:58 PM
Unfortunately, another aspect I see in safety is that with "safety regulations" too many people are convinced that they are protected from everything and no longer have to think about what they are doing. I don't want to "armchair quarterback" what this poor girl was thinking while working, but I've encountered entirely too many people that would approach this no differently than sitting down to work at a computer or other household appliance. Not to say that you cannot injure yourself with household appliances as well...

My grandfather (a mechanic and machinist) always commented that as OSHA continued to pile more safety regulations onto things, the operators spent less and less time considering their part in the equation about whether THEY were WORKING safely.

ray hampton
04-18-2011, 3:58 PM
Another lathe safety thing that might not be obvious to everyone is the danger of stock sticking out the back of a lathe. I had a 1" brass bar sticking out of the back of my manual lathe a couple feet once and everything was fine when I was turning it until it suddenly bent at 90 degrees, and the whole lathe hopped across the room like an out of balance washing machine. If anyone happened to be near it, it could have been very bad.

When the Mazak people installed my CNC lathe, they were quite insistent that I NEVER stick stock out the back of the CNC. They relayed a story where someone was holding a bar centered while it was being cut, but they failed to take into account that the lathe automatically compensated for cutting speed, so while a bar was being faced, the RPMs quickly climbed to 7000 rpms as the cutter neared the center of the bar. Needless to say, the person holding the bar was cut in half by the bar which started flailing about.

1 inch brass , I load a much smaller bar in a screw machine [metal lathe ] it might been as big as a 1/4 inch , I cut it too long before loaded the machine , when I turn the machine on , it bend at 45 degree and torn the paper work to pieces , lucky my supervisor were not hurt, he could been kill

ray hampton
04-18-2011, 4:10 PM
Maybe I'm reading it the wrong way, Ray, but this post comes off as quite rude...


you are right this time a COMMENT CAN BE RUDE BUT that is not how I meant the post

Ken Fitzgerald
04-18-2011, 7:12 PM
Ray....from Wikipedia, here's the definition of IQ:

An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardized_test) designed to assess intelligence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence). The term "IQ" comes from the German (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_language) Intelligenz-Quotient. When modern IQ tests are constructed the median score is set to 100 and a standard deviation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_deviation) to 15. Today almost all IQ tests adhere to the assignment of 15 IQ points to each standard deviation but this has not been the case historically. Approximately 95% of the population have scores within two standard deviations of the mean. If one SD is 15 points, then 95% of the population are within a range of 70 to 130.

If you notice, it says nothing about common sense, street smarts or the ability to operate machinery in a safe manner. It is just a score on a standardized test generally used to predict someone's capability to learn.

I will repeat myself....High IQ had nothing to do with this accident rather I would suggest that a lack of proper training in the safe operation of the machine, a lack of experience or a lack of self discipline to use the training the person may have had.

ray hampton
04-18-2011, 7:25 PM
Ray....from Wikipedia, here's the definition of IQ:

An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardized_test) designed to assess intelligence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence). The term "IQ" comes from the German (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_language) Intelligenz-Quotient. When modern IQ tests are constructed the median score is set to 100 and a standard deviation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standard_deviation) to 15. Today almost all IQ tests adhere to the assignment of 15 IQ points to each standard deviation but this has not been the case historically. Approximately 95% of the population have scores within two standard deviations of the mean. If one SD is 15 points, then 95% of the population are within a range of 70 to 130.

If you notice, it says nothing about common sense, street smarts or the ability to operate machinery in a safe manner. It is just a score on a standardized test to generally used to predict the ability of someone's capability to learn.

I will repeat myself....High IQ had nothing to do with this accident rather I would suggest that a lack of proper training in the safe operation of the machine, a lack of experience or a lack of self discipline to use the training the person may have had.
ken, you got your way of thinking and I got my way of thinking and I doubt that you are OLD enough to teach me different SO WILL YOU AGREE TO DIS AGREE

Ken Fitzgerald
04-18-2011, 7:42 PM
Ray,

I simply quoted the accepted definition of IQ. Age should not have anything to do with anything....learning or teaching....but for the record I have great-grandkids.

ray hampton
04-18-2011, 9:27 PM
Ray,

I simply quoted the accepted definition of IQ. Age should not have anything to do with anything....learning or teaching....but for the record I have great-grandkids.

and that make you how old- 55 ?

Ken Fitzgerald
04-18-2011, 10:12 PM
I am a older than that Ray but age really doesn't have a lot to do with the topic at hand. We aren't talking about a seniority issue here.

We are discussing the fact a young lady was killed operating a machine and that everyone should be careful.

Dan Hintz
04-19-2011, 8:06 AM
I find it amusing, Ray, that you're making a big deal out of Ken's age (somehow you're better because you're older? :confused:), making jabs at his IQ, etc... yet you already admitted to putting your boss in a situation where he could have been killed by your actions. To what do you attribute this to in your case... lack of skill, lower-than-average IQ, young age, or some combination of the above?

Chris Fournier
04-19-2011, 9:59 AM
You've just posted the second rude posting on this thread.

ray hampton
04-19-2011, 4:00 PM
I find it amusing, Ray, that you're making a big deal out of Ken's age (somehow you're better because you're older? :confused:), making jabs at his IQ, etc... yet you already admitted to putting your boss in a situation where he could have been killed by your actions. To what do you attribute this to in your case... lack of skill, lower-than-average IQ, young age, or some combination of the above?

do you know how you feel when you make a bad comment about someone and then turn around and they was standing behind you at the time, WELL I DO NOT know where KEN lived at , he could be my next door neighbor , I try to remember this when making any comments on this internet, I can not judge any one I Q so any comment will err on the high side, I made mistakes all of my life in one form or other due to my lack of experience but NOBODY GOT HURT YET except me, can you say that you never cause anyone to get hurt ?

Ken Fitzgerald
04-19-2011, 4:21 PM
Ray,

In your own words...."due to my lack of experience".....and that's why this young lady died and frankly it had absolutely nothing with a high IQ.

Let's get back on topic folks.

Roderick Gentry
04-19-2011, 5:36 PM
While I don't think it is directly related to IQ or class, etc... I am very self-taught. I taught myself rock-climbing and ice climbing at 12, and more recently went on my first sail in a very fast boat I had built without ever having had a lesson and only been sailing once or twice. I took a sheet of paper and outlined the various expected point of sail, etc... and drew up cheat notes. I really knew nothing about machine tools, but installed my own shop and taught myself to use the machine tools. And lots of other crazy stuff. I have had a few accidents but I like the challenge. It probably would be better to learn from others, but I enjoy the challenge of figuring stuff out. I learned a lot of dangerous stuff from books, later video. Youtube raises the bar, in the sense than one can see video on anything which makes it easier, but one can probably get deeply into trouble with that thinking also. While I have always respected manual workers, and had both machinists and Joiners in the family (died before I came along), society encourages the belief that these tasks are menial, and that well educated people should be in leadership or design roles, with the result that one could be lulled into the belief one should be able to do any of this stuff by reading a few books. There is the Darwin award concept, but just because you got killed doesn't mean you were stupid, it just makes the rest of people feel better to imagine it is so.

Bruce Boone
04-19-2011, 10:24 PM
Experience with machine tools comes at a price. When I have new employees working, I need to be sure to keep a few boxes of Band-Aids around. It's amazing how often they can get hurt. They just don't have the same awareness of what can happen. As you do it for a long time, you learn what to watch out for and get hurt way less often. I've had many a close call with table saws, milling machines, drill presses, and lathes in the past. I imagine we can all relate some kind of close call we've had. Even things like sheet metal, belt sanders, pliers, and electric drills have all their own sets of things to be aware and careful of. These all go into your collective experience, and you know to watch out for next time. It doesn't take much to slip up and catch the sharp edge of a newly sheared piece of metal, or as the poor girl discovered, get some of your hair caught up in rotating equipment. Unfortunately, some of the penalties of slipping up are way more severe than others.

Chris M Pyle
04-20-2011, 12:23 AM
Only someone older than you can teach you something?

Interesting thought

Shawn Pixley
04-20-2011, 10:43 AM
The OP's post centered around a tragic accident. I believe his hope was to reinforce our awareness that some of the tasks we do are inherently dangerous and we should not be complacent. I fully support that thinking.

Where we got sideways was the unsupported statement that this was increasingly prevalent with high IQ individuals. I don't see evidence to support that statement.

As other have said well is, the training the individual has had relative to the task they are performing is the more relevant factor. I supect all of us have made a mistake with a tool that injured us in a small way (hitting thumb with hammer, pinching finger with pliers, etc..). Additionally some of us have made big mistakes that where we managed not to get hurt (mine was taking a smaller boat out in an ocean that turned stormy).

My conclusions:

IQ = small factor, and potentially tangential to the central discussion
Training, preparedness, and supervision = vital to prevent accidents such as the one listed
Awareness of the danger = hidden factor that even those of us that have been doing dangerous tasks for a long time can lose sight of and become complacent.

That is my interpretation of the OP's message. Now back to your regular programming...

Dan Hintz
04-20-2011, 11:12 AM
I supect all of us have made a mistake with a tool that injured us in a small way (hitting thumb with hammer, pinching finger with pliers, etc..).
Never... not even once.





Now if you all will excuse me, I need to go replenish my iodine, thread, gauze, and bandage supply.

Matt Ranum
04-20-2011, 6:55 PM
The OP's post centered around a tragic accident. I believe his hope was to reinforce our awareness that some of the tasks we do are inherently dangerous and we should not be complacent. I fully support that thinking.


That is my interpretation of the OP's message. Now back to your regular programming...



...and that was exactly my point in posting the article. Safety comes not only from protective guards but from respecting the equipment one is using whether its a lathe, razor sharp bench chisel or a 50,000lb excavator. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye and if you get careless for an instant or are not all that experienced with what your using you can inadvertently set the process in motion.

I hope that this young woman was familiar and had the necessary training, but in the end she died using the tool. I trust those in charge are reviewing the way they do things to prevent this from ever happening again.

Leigh Betsch
04-24-2011, 12:29 AM
I have to believe that the safety policies were pretty week. No one would ever be allowed to run machine shop equipment alone at the place I work. I do in my home shop like most of you I'm sure, but I'd be fired if I ever did it at work.

Steve Ryan
04-29-2011, 10:55 AM
Sorry to dig this back up. My Mazak rep told a sim story to me. In that case the operator was not hurt but the hydraulic chuck actuator was completly wasted by the bar $$$. Sad thing but Mazatrol programs have a max rpm input on the first line of each program. I run 6' bars a lot in my SQT, but they are supported by a very stout spindle liner extension, and max rpm limits.




Another lathe safety thing that might not be obvious to everyone is the danger of stock sticking out the back of a lathe. I had a 1" brass bar sticking out of the back of my manual lathe a couple feet once and everything was fine when I was turning it until it suddenly bent at 90 degrees, and the whole lathe hopped across the room like an out of balance washing machine. If anyone happened to be near it, it could have been very bad.

When the Mazak people installed my CNC lathe, they were quite insistent that I NEVER stick stock out the back of the CNC. They relayed a story where someone was holding a bar centered while it was being cut, but they failed to take into account that the lathe automatically compensated for cutting speed, so while a bar was being faced, the RPMs quickly climbed to 7000 rpms as the cutter neared the center of the bar. Needless to say, the person holding the bar was cut in half by the bar which started flailing about.

Ronald Blue
05-01-2011, 12:28 AM
It certainly sounds like training or a lack of was involved here. However even with training a moment of carelessness can be disastrous. Rotating equipment can be dangerous whether it a lathe, drill press, a pto shaft on a tractor, or the chuck on a hand held drill. Never assume it can't happen to you. I would never without knowing more assume this was caused from a lack of common sense or street smarts. We will never know exactly what happened most likely but it could be as simple as something falling in the tray and she reached for it without thinking of the danger. Sometimes we react by reflex like clamping your legs together to keep something from falling off your lap. If it happens to be a sharp object you may regret that. Long hair, loose clothing, and gloves can all be recipes for disastrous results.

Dan Hintz
05-01-2011, 11:40 AM
Sometimes we react by reflex like clamping your legs together to keep something from falling off your lap. If it happens to be a sharp object you may regret that.
I've found that if I prepare myself mentally for what might happen, I react appropriately. For example, if I have my cell phone in hand and drop it, I immediately react by throwing my leg out at an angle... if I'm lucky, the phone rolls down my leg and it's saved form the worst of damage. If I'm holding a knife, a drop causes a reaction that gets my legs as far away from the knife's path as possible. The "danger of bodily harm" aspect of whatever I'm working with puts me into one of those two modes of reaction.

That said, it doesn't prevent me from doing stupid stuff from time to time, where reaction is irrelevant. For example, during my high school years I was attempting a build of Shakespeare's The Globe theater out of balsa. To cut a column deep inside the theater, I had to push against the column with my thumb while using my fingers to push the knife through it... needless to say, when the column finally gave way, the blade was headed straight for my thumb. Yeah, didn't come out of that one unscathed, and to this day have a ridge in my thumbprint from where the blade entered and hit bone. Lack of reaction time meant there was nothing I could do.