• Question: Are there any serious accidents cause by your work?

    Asked by KeiraR to Andrew, Angela, Eleanor, Emma, Withdrawn on 14 Mar 2016.
    • Photo: Angela Oliveira Pisco

      Angela Oliveira Pisco answered on 14 Mar 2016:

      As anything else, there can be but usually they don’t happen. The relevant one is probably the fact that expecting mums are not allowed to work with certain chemical substances and in general are encouraged to not work in the lab for most of their pregnancy.

    • Photo: Andrew Pidgeon

      Andrew Pidgeon answered on 14 Mar 2016:

      We generally try to rule out any potential for accidents n the design stage and design them out. so in short no 🙂

    • Photo: Eleanor Sherwen

      Eleanor Sherwen answered on 14 Mar 2016:

      Not on a released product, the closest I ever came was when I was working in dental equipment, we sent 5 machines out for trial by dentists who knew they were working with prototypes and had agreed to test them for us.

      What we didn’t know is a supplier had made one of the power cables not to my drawing, half were OK and half had the connector on the wrong way round. We had checked a sample of course: bad luck/coincidence meant all the ones we checked were OK, but three of the cables that went to the line were wrong way round.

      We got phone calls from different dentists the next day saying 3 of the 5 machines had caught fire! Thankfully all the dentists affected had been careful and prepared, and the fire had self-extinguished as soon as they disconnected power because the casing is flame retardant. Nobody was hurt, and we checked the drawing and made sure, yes my design was right and the supplier made a mistake. I made the supplier rework the bad parts, introduced extra goods-in checks and a “power up” test at the inspection stage to make sure it could never happen again.

      I was a student then and I got told we had to send these machines out too fast to allow time for me to check them personally, which I accepted being young. I learned a big lesson: always, always, always test the first one off the production line yourself, even if “nothing could go wrong”.