Space Probe Magnet Incident

Was the guys first day on the job - he was a contractor from a labour hire company and was a mechanical tradesman. The morning of his commencement he enterend the workshop and placed his metal carry tool box down on the floor about half a metre from one half of a seperated magnet (once seperated the magnets were kept at opposite ends and corners of the workshop as when they are within 2 metres of each other they are lethal) His tool kit literally slid across the floor and became one with the magnet. It took him 10 minutes of systematically removing tool by tool from his toolbox and then pulling the metal box from the magnet. The toolbox rivets fell out as a result. I was the lead tradesman on the removing of the magnets off the back of the cabins and I was working up at the back of the Probe. The workshop superviser was responsible for inducting the new temp contractor and showing him what his job was for the time he was to be there (he was needed to clean the rust from the magnets) He was shown what to do - just wire brushing the magnet surfaces and wiping them down of debris with a rag and spirits and had worked on a few halves of these magnets. Upon finishing one halve he carried it over and placed it down next to another half and clunk together they came. He was carrying them with his hands at the back but his thumbs over the front on the magnets and as such his thumbs were crushed with approx 1400kgs of permanent force. I was returning back to the the workshop after morning tea in the canteen and when I wlaked up to the roller door all I could hear was a man wailing like a dog and I poked my head in and saw him sitting an a chair with rags all over him and his hands raised up in front of his face. The workshop superviser had been in his office and heard the accident and came out and helped seperate the magnets. Apparently when it happened the contractor reacted in shock by picking up the magnets (one complete set now) and ran down the workshop with 40kgs of magnets hanging off his thumbs. They stopped him and pryed the magnets off (dont ask me how as just prying them apart away from each other was near impossible they neede to be twisted away from each other) using a big shifter and prybar. An ambulance was on its way and I think before it got there they put him in the old Wonderland ambo and took him to first aid room but by the time they got there the NSW ambos had arrived. Subsequently the police arrived and cordened off the workshop and we were not allowed in there but we had already been in there and seen the carnage (blood, tools, rags, magnets) but we hadnt interfered with anything. I went back up to the Probe to continue my work with two of my Trade Assistants but was told to come back and all workshop staff had to remain in the canteen for the rest of the day. Police and Workcover took over the workshop and needless to say were snapping away photos.

Not a good day but it highlighted serious procedure saftey concerns and I feel lucky not to have been involved (negligent or injured) - djsupersleuth

Intamin Drop Breaking Magnets as used in the Space Probe, note the warning lables!