McDonalds' lawsuit...and tool safety.

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How many of you unplug your power tools when yer done usin' them? I'm talkin' about the tools we use on a regular basis...table saw, orbital sander, etc.
I don't. I don't have any young kids around anymore...and no young kids can get into my work area. So I always keep things plugged in...'cause I might use them again soon...especially if I'm on a large project.
A few months ago, I was doin' some sanding with my orbital sander. I had just turned it off...at the switch...and had gone to my other workbench to check on some of the work I had taken over there.
A few minutes later, I heard a weird noise coming from over my right shoulder. I turned...and saw my sander dancing all over the workbench! I went over quickly and grabbed it...and turned it off again.
What had happened...
The switch has a dust protector boot over it. I think the switch had actually not seated to the off position...it must've teetered in the middle position...then finally flopped over to the on position again.
I wrote to the manufacturer...they immediately called me...sent me a replacement...and asked me to send the bad one to them for inspection. They paid for all the shipping, of course...and they sent me an upgraded sander for my trouble.
But early in the conversation...when they thought my call might actually be to get some money out of them...I was told that tools should always be unplugged when done using them.
I wasn't done using the tool, of course. But, even so...I have never unplugged a power tool when done. I always keep them plugged in...sitting on the workbench. But my work area has never been accessible to anyone but me and other adults.
I honestly never gave any thought to the fact that a tool turned off could spontaneously restart. I wonder what might have happened if that sander had been jumpin' around by itself for a few hours...while I was out doing errands.
Just a heads-up...and some food for thought...after reading all the stuff about the woman with the hot coffee.
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving season...
Trent
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I'm not worried about leaving things plugged in or not, but thanks for a really good idea for getting upgrades to handheld power tools hehe
Mike
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I've had the same thing happen. Won't say the brand name, but it was yellow.. I still have (and use) the sander but I make sure it's actually off and I also flip it on it's back when I put it on the bench.
Rob
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The sander wasn't a DeWalt by any chance was it? I have had DeWalts with bad switches that did that before. None in my shop now. I unplug all hand power tools when finished with them, stationary tools are never unplugged except for maintance. Maybe I am setting myself up for a lawsuit. Perhaps I should unplug lights when I am finished with them too.

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wrote:

If it hasn't got either two switches, or a proper contactor, then it _always_ gets unplugged if it's not being used for more than 10 minutes. at the end of the day (or before coffee breaks) I check the workshop.
Friend of mine leaves everything plugged in and hot, and it drives me mad - especially the angle grinder on the junk-piled workbench. I've seen that start up unexpectedly a couple of times, when things move the pile.
-- Die Gotterspammerung - Junkmail of the Gods
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And some idiots put LOADED rifles, etc. away in their cases or cabinets. There's no accounting for BAD HABITS or complacency developed over the years.
I'd rather be accused of being paranoid, anal, or an 'old worry wart', thank you very much, as I still have ALL my appendages and ALL my firearms.
Regards, Ron Magen Backyard Boatshop
SNIP

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This is a misconception generated by disinformation from gun-haters, the same idiots that brought you trigger locks. (I'll start using a trigger lock the day that all police officers are required to use them.)
An unloaded rifle is just a stick, except less useful. I always consider a firearm loaded unless I have personally cleared it, so there is no point to having one that isn't actually loaded. That's not complacency. If your firearm isn't loaded, then you might as well not have one.
I unload only in circumstances that absolutely require it.
(When the grandkids visit, the firearms are locked in the safe, or concealed on my person at all times, so that they are completely inaccessible to anyone but me. But they are still loaded.)
Firearm safety, like workplace safety, is a matter of behaviour. For instance, you should never point a firearm at anything you aren't willing to destroy. Similarly, when operating a bandsaw, you need to pay close attention to where your fingers are.
-- Howard Lee Harkness Texas Certified Concealed Handgun Instructor www.CHL-TX.com snipped-for-privacy@CHL-TX.com Low-cost Domain Registration and Hosting! www.Texas-Domains.com
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The chances of a tool starting up are really, really slim, but it can happen. I do unplug when changing blades and bits. Otherwise, all my tools are plugged and ready to go.
I've seen recommendations to unplug all appliances and TV;s when leaving the house for an extended time also. Never did.
I do wear seatbelts also. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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Give this site a good look...
http://www.safetyalerts.com/rcls/category/appl.htm#tools
You may find your particular tool in the recall list ecause it sounds familiar...

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Oh crap! Now I remember.
It was the Ryobi detail sander that I had given to me that was recalled with the same switch problem.

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On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 09:07:38 -0500, "Rossco in Oshawa"

Thanks for the link, Rossco.
The company is there...and one of the sanders. Its not the model I had...and the one I had was a recent manufacture.
It looks like they're still havin' problems...and on more than one model evidently.
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving season...
Trent
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On Thu, 27 Nov 2003 23:33:56 -0500 (EST), snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (T.) wrote:

Here's some good reading, Joat...
http://www.citizen.org/congress/civjus/tort/myths/articles.cfm?IDx5
Its not as cut and dried as you suggest.
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving season...
Trent
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"Trent" wrote:

Sure it is. When a person does something stupid, they shouldn't blame it on someone else. The only reason we have such suits is because of faults in the legal system. Sleazy lawyers exploits those faults to make money instead of trying to get the faults corrected. Most of these suits are so obviously faulty that any reasonable person would call them fraud. Until someone has an upclose look at the system they may be entirely unaware of how much injustice is done. If it partly due to the adversarial system we have, and it is, then changes should be made. However, our legal system doesn't see capable of monitoring itself.
I don't know about you, but I like my coffee hot and I expect it to be hot. If it is not hot enough to burn you, then it isn't worth drinking. I've read what happened and it is not the fault of McDonald's.
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On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 22:21:38 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

The problem is...DEFINE hot.

At least 13 people disagree with you. lol
But...and here's the reason I posted this query...answer this question for me...
If I had left the house...instead of going to the other workbench...and the sander had started and ultimately burned down the house...
Would that have been MY fault? After all, if I had unplugged the sander, the fire could not have happened from the sander.
This is the first time this has ever happened to me. And, to be quite honest, I had NO idea that a tool could restart after you switch it off. Should I have known that I should unplug the tool when not in use? Again...that's why I asked the question...because it looks like many of us don't unplug them when done for the day.
Should the McDonald's lady have known that HOT at one restaurant is not the same temperature at another restaurant? Should all the others that got burned before her have known also?
McDonald's paid off many people before her. In essence, by doing so, they admitted they were in the wrong. It was just the DEGREE of wrong doing that they disagreed on with her. So...she took them to court...to find out what the proper amount should be! lol
Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving season...
Trent
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"Trent" wrote:

I'm not sure who's fault it was. If the switch is at fault, it is the fault of the manufacture. If you just half-assed turned the switch off, then one could say it was your fault, but if you really tried to turn it off, the switch is faulty which makes it the fault of the tool manufacturer. You can reasonably assume that the switch will work and it is unreasonable to assume that you must also unplug the tool. You can reasonably expect the tool to stay off once you turn the switch to off. This is not like the McDonald lady.

Yes. It is HOT coffee. Is it reasonable to assume that coffee spilled on you will not burn? No it is not. How stupid must a 70 year old be to not have figured out that spilling hot liquid on you burns you. Anyone that stupid should not be driving a car. Consumers are constantly warned to not move the temp on water heaters above 125 F because water above that temperature will burn you. But coffee at 125 F is considered tepid, not hot.

McDonald's erred in paying off. They knew they were right and the suit was wrong, but they went with the cheapest alternative. The alleged offender often pays off, because they get hurt less than by going to court and having an ignorant, uneducated and immoral jury be swayed by scuzzy lawyers and judges putting final to such activities. There are a lot of problem and faults in the legal system but most fault belong to the court officers including the lawyers and the judges. Consider the silicone implant case. There is no scientific evidence that silicone implants caused the problems attributed to silicone. But lawyers swayed juries to say that silicone implants did cause those problems. The problem is that the courts are no place to decide scientific knowledge because the courts don't use the scientific method, but rely on entirely different rules. Hell, the major participants usually know little about science. Courts often decide fact that in contrast to prove scientific knowledge.

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George E. Cawthon wrote:

I gotta wonder at this. Do coffee drinkers just burn off all the cells on the inside of their mouths and develop a layer of scar tissue that allows them to consume liquids this hot?
I don't drink coffee (doesn't agree with my stomach *at all*) but I notice that commercial hot chocolate comes out of the nozzle HOT. I have to let it cool for at least half an hour before I can think about putting any of it in my mouth. I never buy hot chocolate anywhere because by the time the damn stuff has cooled off enough to actually drink, I'm way past being thirsty for it.
When I make it (hot chocolate) at home, I aim to get it hot enough to melt marshmallows, but not so hot that I can't drink it immediately. I also find that I tend to let foods cool down a good while before eating them. Delivery pizza is usually at the right temperature, restaurant pizza needs to sit there for at least 20 minutes to reach a point where it won't turn the roof of my mouth into a dangling lump of burnt tissue.
It doesn't seem to just be a matter of getting used to being burnt. Hot pizza still physically burns me after all these years, so it isn't an acclimatzation thing.
Maybe I'm just a freak, because from where I sit, it seems like the vast majority of the world is completely nuts WRT food/beverage temperature.
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On Fri, 28 Nov 2003 23:45:05 -0500, Silvan

There may be a few like that, but most of us don't. We learn how to sip it so cold air cools it to the temp we like, then we swallow it. By making coffee hot and learning how to sip, the last gulp is still hot. Stomachs don't like superheated foods/bevs, either.

Stroll on over to the soda refill station and drop a chunk of ice into it. Stir for 30 seconds and drink. Not a prob.

Ditto here. I drink my water at room temp, thanks. No gallon Icee or 210 coffee for me, thanks. I'll cool my cuppajoe with creamer.
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Good you cool your food, but for the rest of us that like hot stuff hot, how are we going to get it from luke warm to hot? Stuff cools naturally but it doesn't heat up naturally, so the only way to prepare it for all customers is to make it hot and those that like it cooler can add water or just wait. That's what is bad about these stupid law suits, it forces everyone to live like the lower half need to. Maybe McDonald's and others need to lines, one that says stupids and the other that say others. But then the lawyers would say that the stupids are too stupid to read the signs.
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On Sat, 29 Nov 2003 22:51:01 GMT, "George E. Cawthon"

Carry a 12v water hotter in your vehicle for the fast food places, and ask the waitress at real restaurants to nuke your food to make it REALLY HOT before she brings it to you. Be sure to take along some signed waivers to give to the cook so he knows you won't sue him. <sigh>

I firmly agree.

I still can't believe a stupid judge let that one into court. It's THEIR fault, you know. Frivilous suits have been brought to court since it was first developed but the judges just tossed the stupid ones out and fined the lawyer who brought it into his courtroom. Why aren't they doing that any more? They're overbooked and overburdened by not-so-obviously-dumb stuff already.

And the bastids would still get their cuts to say that.
I'm still awed by the idiot who lost half an arm when he leaned down beneath his new log chipper to pull the stuck log through. Can you imagine how stupid someone has to be to reach up inside a running chipper? And how dumb a jury has to be to make the poor chipper manufacturer to pay for his stupidity?
The chipper mfg then had to put warning signs INSIDE and out on the bottom of the damned things. Go freakin' figure!
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Larry Jaques remarks:

Maybe a lot of customers like the guy I used to see many days: one year, he reached into a hay baler. Zip. No right hand. A couple years later, he reached into a hay baler with his left hand. Zip. His hook had a twin.
Charlie Self
"Say what you will about the ten commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them." H. L. Mencken
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