March 2013 #3: More Mishaps from A-to-Z
1. Welcome to the latest edition of the Summary of Mishaps, another in our astonishing alphabetic series that illustrates just how close we sometimes are to the oops and the ouch, even when doing something that seems innocuous.
A. Alarm clock, being reached for by a lance corporal in Japan. She fell out of her rack trying to turn it off and strained her hip.
B. Bees, which swarmed into a civilian firefighter’s vehicle through the driver’s open window.
C. Coyote, which startled a lance corporal who was driving back to base with two other Marines after a 96. He swerved and overcorrected. The vehicle rolled twice. The driver and a PFC passenger in the front were buckled up, with the passenger suffering some minor injuries. The PFC in the back seat had been “wearing his seatbelt improperly,” whatever that means, and accrued a dislocated shoulder and head injuries.
D. Dunk tank, being moved by a foreign civilian employee in Italy. The tank banged him on the noggin.
E. Eagles, being gawked at by some stopped motorists when a legalman second class passed their cars on his motorcycle. He got back in the lane in front of all the cars he had passed but didn’t notice a truck driver who had slammed on his brakes to make a U-turn. He broke his knee when he hit the truck’s tailgate. He’d been going 15 mph over the speed limit and the sun was in his eyes, which didn’t help matters.
F. Feral cat, being released by what the report called a “hazard maintainer” from a trap he’d set around his home. The cat bit him. The bite got infected, and he had to have four surgeries. For the record, I don’t know what a “hazard maintainer” is. I thought we were supposed to get rid of hazards, not keep them up and running.
G. Golf cart, being ridden in by an E-2 aviation structural mechanic in Florida when the driver took a turn too sharply. The cart flipped, and the E-2 bruised and cut his arm.
H. Hooch, being exited by a corporal an hour before midnight, en route to the head. He tripped over a cement block that was holding the door open. He fell on his left shoulder and broke his collarbone in four places.
I. Infant gate, being climbed over by a civilian child-care worker in Hawaii. She tripped over the top and fell on her knee, taking the gate with her.
J. Jello, a substance to which an E-3 steelworker compared his elbow to after breaking it in an impromptu wrestling match. He’d had a “slight lead” in the contest, the report said, “and then his arm snapped just above his elbow.”
K. Kickball, being played by a civilian education aide in California. He tried to kick the ball, missed it, fell, and hit his hip on a concrete pad that encircled a manhole.
L. Laundry bag, being picked up by a construction electrician third class. He wrenched his shoulder. This mishap report listed the following under “Cause”: “Undetermined due to insufficient facts.” Wow.
M. Meat slicer, being used by a food service worker in North Carolina to create some sandwich innards. “The meat was not slicing to the proper thickness,” the report said, “so the employee added a little pressure to the meat loaf.” Her hand slipped, and her thumb hit the moving blade.” Funny, the folks in the deli at my grocery store always mechanically adjust the thickness of the slices, they don’t just add pressure to the slab of meat. They must not know that technique.
N. Noodles, being cooked by an E-3 on a ship underway in the Pacific. She put them in a bowl and when she set the bowl down, hot water splashed onto her finger, inflicting a 2nd degree burn.
O. Olives, in a can being opened by an E-3 culinary specialist on a carrier. He sliced open his finger.
R. Rope, being grasped by a PFC in Japan who was trying to swing down into some water. She was barefoot and standing on a boulder. The rope caught on a branch. She tripped, slid down the wet rock and injured her knee.
S. Sting ray, stepped on by a lance corporal while swimming at a beach by an enlisted club in Florida. Punctured his foot.
T. Toddler and tricycle. Former riding latter, collided with an education and training technician who was holding open a door that led outside from a classroom. She fell and strained her hip.
W. Washboard surface, encountered by an aviation structural mechanic first class who was riding a dirt bike in California. He lost control. The bike flipped and he sprained his wrist when he hit the ground.
Z. Zushi beach in Japan, where an E-3 was celebrating the fourth of July, aided by a large, sports-drink bottle filled with an alcoholic drink. He polished that off and kept on drinking at some open-air bars along the beach, taking an occasional break to swim in the ocean. Several shipmates saw him struggling in the water, got some lifeguards, and pulled him out. His B.A.C. was 0.26 when they put him in intensive care. Note that when I said “swim” earlier, the mishap report put it this way: “Severe intoxication resulting in the inability to swim and a near-drowning.”
2. Careful readers (and if you’ve gotten this far, you qualify) will have noticed that I didn’t have mishaps for every letter this time. I couldn’t find any that involved a penguin, quantum mechanics, a UFO, a viola, xanthum gum or a yacht. I’ll try harder next time. The mishaps above involved some mundane objects, but don’t dismiss them as negligible. The Sailors, Marines and civilians above totaled 47 days away from work and 147 days on light duty. See you next week.