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(IndyStar)   Man loses grip on wood while trying to move balls, falls into vat of cyanide and dies...   ( indystar.com) divider line
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15366 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Jul 2003 at 8:18 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

67 Comments     (+0 »)

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2003-07-19 04:34:30 PM  
that is what u get when u play with wood and move balls...at least someone ELSE'S wood and balls.

poor guy though

/got nothing
2003-07-19 05:17:31 PM  
From the nasty ways to die department. The company will get sued into the stone age for sure, as they should be.
2003-07-19 05:48:14 PM  
No doubt. The lack of safety standards for this kind of work def merits someone giving it to them w/o vaseline. My concern is why were there any violations/penalties on the company before this or is the company's safety issues AFTER this poor guy died?
2003-07-19 05:51:27 PM  
uhm..omit the word 'why' in my last comment

can't think straight therefore can't type straight either.
2003-07-19 08:03:59 PM  
"I wanna dip my balls in it!"
2003-07-19 08:25:31 PM  
No matter how much Vaseline I use, I always manage to keep my grip on my wood...
2003-07-19 08:26:00 PM  
[image from my.execpc.com too old to be available]
2003-07-19 08:26:56 PM  
Sorry, didn't read the article.. that's horrible
2003-07-19 08:27:00 PM  
Ow ow ow ow ow ow OW!
2003-07-19 08:27:41 PM  
Great headline, and this is one of the few cases where a lawsuit is just what the doctor ordered.
2003-07-19 08:27:49 PM  
I don't know if that beats of sliding down a giant razor into a swimming pool full of alcohol as the worst way I can think of to die, but it comes close.
2003-07-19 08:30:04 PM  
mmmm... alcohol!
2003-07-19 08:33:52 PM  
As anti-lawsuit as I am, I never thought I'd hear me say "go get 'em lawyers!".
2003-07-19 08:35:27 PM  
Well at least he died a peaceful painless death.
2003-07-19 08:36:05 PM  
Actually there was an incident LAFD reported once involving a nude intoxicated male clinging to the top of a phone pole in a bear hug. At one point the man came "sliding" down the pole and was subsequently killed by splinters...many many splinters..

Could be urban legend, cannot verify but have heard story a few different times. True or not though, I could not imagine a worse way to go.
2003-07-19 08:37:39 PM  
He was probably just checking them for cancer.
2003-07-19 08:40:59 PM  
God, amazing he lasted ten seconds out of the vat. He must have kept his mouth shut when he went in, but there was just no way he was going to live through that..
2003-07-19 08:42:44 PM  
Gray was able to talk to his co-workers, but lost consciousness shortly after he was taken to the emergency showers.

No, sounds like he suffered quite a bit. That's really awful.
2003-07-19 08:46:04 PM  
great headline
2003-07-19 08:47:52 PM  
"Gray was pronounced died at a hospital..." deaddieddeaddieddeaddieddeaddieddeaddieddeaddieddeaddieddeaddieddeaddieddeaddi ed
2003-07-19 08:48:40 PM  
This goes on my list of really painful ways to die.
2003-07-19 08:48:41 PM  
Could some chemist explain to me:

1. How sodium-cyanide works to give metal a chrome-like finish.

2. How sodium-cyanide could poison someone even though it's not regular cyanide.

Chlorine gas is poisonous, but you eat it all the time when you eat salt, which is NaCl. (Why the heck is Sodium Na?)

The molecular structure of the chemical is what really matters... therefore sodium-cyanide != cyanide.

I suppose it's possible that sodium cyanide is also poisonous or his body reacted with the sodium, leaving the cyanide to do damage.

3. Why is cyanide poisonous to people?
2003-07-19 08:49:39 PM  
"Mid-City Plating dips cages into the vats to give them a chrome-like finish."

ooh he must have looked like the T-1000, awesome! I wanna try!
2003-07-19 08:52:11 PM  
[image from iams.org too old to be available]

Poor guy. Another sensless disaster caused by hydrogen embrittlement. If ONLY they had baked him at 400F after pulling him out of the vat of cyanide, he might still be alive!
2003-07-19 08:52:27 PM  
I have an open vat of cyanide in my backyard. I guess I should throw a tarp over it... and move the trampoline.
2003-07-19 08:52:31 PM  
at 18 you work w/o safety equipment, by his age you should know better. none the less it was a hell to a way to die.
2003-07-19 08:54:46 PM  
The sad thing is that people are stupid enough to work this way and frequently do so on purpose. I live just around the corner from an industrial park (heavy metal fabrication, metal plating, fiberglass manufacture, etc.) and the workers in the factories frequently disconnect safety devices and leave company provided respirators on the shelf. They figure that stuff is for wimps. Until the factory shuts down, that is. Then they try to sue for millions for exposure to toxins -- even though they're still healthy. This guy is a Darwin Award nominee.
2003-07-19 08:59:42 PM  
That company sould spring for the 4x8 sheet of plywood... may not have this problem in the future. Good emplyees are hard to come by!

Poor bastard! Hope his family gets em good.
2003-07-19 09:07:51 PM  
From Mid-City Plating's web site: http://www.mcplating.com/welcome.htm

Our Mission Statment

To supply superior quality electroplating and coatings that meet or exceed all of our customers specifications.

To provide this service in a timely, affordable and environmentally responsible manner.

To provide our employees with an enjoyable and safe working environment.

/oh well, 2 out of 3 aint that bad. (too bad they can't spell either)
2003-07-19 09:14:37 PM  
I was surprised this didn't get a "Amusing" tag. This IS Fark.com, right?
2003-07-19 09:22:25 PM  
Nowhere did it say he disconnected the safety gear did it? This place had no safety gear in place.

To the guy who asked how cyanide works. It connects to the blood cells that carry oxygen to the brain and keeps it from connecting to oxygen. Is suffocates you even tho you can breathe.
2003-07-19 09:22:35 PM  
When I read this I saw "The Occasional Safety and Health Administration"

I think my brain must be getting clouded with cynicism.
2003-07-19 09:24:31 PM  
The Sodium Cyanide is used to keep the metal, in this case Zinc, in solution for electroplating. The metal cages were being plated with zinc to give them a bright finish. I would guess that enough cyanide would be absorbed through the guy's skin to kill him. Most places that use this type of process have an antidote in injection form near the plating area for accidential exposures. I believe the manner of death from cyanide poisoning is suffocation. It screws with your hemoglobin.

I'm guessing that a whole bunch of saftey rules were broken.
2003-07-19 09:31:20 PM  
[image from ironworks.cc too old to be available]
2003-07-19 09:33:37 PM  
Where would one see "chromed metal cages" ? Thunderdome?

Are they talking about bird cages?
2003-07-19 09:34:38 PM  

Why Sodium is called Na? Because really it is called Natrium. See here.
2003-07-19 09:36:41 PM  
He was stupid enough to crawl out onto a couple of pieces of plywood over a vat of cyanide without any safety devices. 'Nuff said. Forrest Gump material.
2003-07-19 09:40:40 PM  
Answers to 2 and 3...
2) When NaCN comes into contact with anything acidic enough to give up a hydrogen (including water), it turns into hydrogen cyanide. Chlorine doesn't do this.

3) It binds to the iron in hemoglobin (the part that normally picks up oxygen). If enough hemoglobin is destroyed this way, you asphyxiate. Also, it intereres with the ATP process, bringing your metabolism to a screeching halt.
2003-07-19 09:41:06 PM  
If the article is correct and no saftey equipment was in place, what sorts of fines could such a company expect to pay? My guess is it'd be little more than a slap on the wrist and a promise to improve. Some years ago, a number of workers in Kentucky died in a plant/warehouse fire because most of the doors were padlocked shut from the outside. I don't recall any reports of heavy penalties being levied against that company (could be that the those were kept confidential).

The article didn't state whether or not it was standard operating procedure at this company to climb above the cyanide vat to insert the balls though the presence of the plywood "platform" suggests that it was in fact normal.

It's probably safe to say that personal injury attorneys in Muncie are salivating...
2003-07-19 09:53:58 PM  
Someone is going to prison over this. Definitely the shift supervisor and maybe higher ups, depending on who gets stuck with the blame.
There is no way in hell you would get me over a 6 foot vat of cyanide on a skinny piece of plywood, and I've handled asbestos without a respirator.
They don't call it occupational health and stupidity for nothing.
2003-07-19 09:57:51 PM  
Dayumm, you go Jaqqalax. Who says Fark is a waste of time?

Get Schooled atFark U!!
2003-07-19 10:04:34 PM  
I used to work in a manufacturing facility where we made "Hex core" basically hundreds of sheets of aluminum sandwitched with glue lines on them, so when you press them/heat them/slice them/expand the slices you get tones of the little hex cells.. (you see them on newer automobile grills all the time..) We also put aluminum sheets on either side of the core slices, making sandwitches.. We used to dip the "bread" sheets in vats just like the picture above, to give them very fine etching, allowing them to be glued to the core more securely.. There was no way you get close to the racks to dip the sheets in.. Many obvious safety factors were not available and/or not followed.. tragic really, but totally preventable...
2003-07-19 10:21:22 PM  
Mid-City Plating dips cages into the vats to give them a chrome-like finish.

It's a tragic accident, but his family should be proud to own the shiniest corpse in the state!
2003-07-19 10:26:13 PM  
Why the hell do they keep cynaide - A DEAD TOXIN - uncovered in the FIRST PLACE!?!

Jesus Christ Almighty... Are people that stupid?!
2003-07-19 10:26:13 PM  
if i wanted to look up weird ways people die on the job i would go to cdc.gov. not fark. grow up people.
2003-07-19 10:42:12 PM  
Jaqqalaxnailed most of it, but since he didn't answer #1, I will:

1. How sodium-cyanide works to give metal a chrome-like finish.

Sodium is a white metal. NaCN is a solution of mostly Na+ cations and CN- anions dispersed in the solution. When electrically charged, the Na+ ion plates itself to the metal (any metal will do, as it only holds a charge and serves as a cathode) cages, and the white sodium plates itself to give a 'chrome-like' finish. There's more to it than that, as sodium oxidizes and turns chalk-white when exposed to air; a plastic spray coating, perhaps.

Just spent the last few months having electroluysis memorized for the AP Chemistry test, and my results STILL haven't returned yet.
2003-07-19 10:43:53 PM  
Bah, apologies for all the boldness.
2003-07-19 10:51:56 PM  
Okay, didn't see the comment above about zinc... DAMN do I feel stupid. I don't have my half-reaction charts on hand to see which one would react versus the other.
2003-07-19 10:57:06 PM  
Workplace safety is a far greater issue than bullshiat like road rage or post office shootings or something equally dumb. It kills way more people every year, and practically no attention is paid to it unless the death is darkly amusing like this one.

And it's damned if you do, damned if you don't for OSHA. If they try and enforce rules and stick their nose in palces to check for safety, everyone biatches about government intrusion and blah blah blah. When people scale them back and stuff like this happens, they complain that OSHA doesn't do its job.
2003-07-19 11:03:49 PM  
I'm quite pleased that the chemistry questions were answered already, glad to know we have some chemists on fark.

Just to clarify what Jaqqalax said, the actual immediate toxic effect of Cyanide is how it interferes with ATP, specifically oxidative phosphorylation. It it an inhibitor of a specific complex, cytochrome c and cytochrome c oxidase. Like in hemoglobin, the cyanide ion binds tightly to the iron and prevents the transfer needed for ATP (energy) synthesis.

Since we have so many hemoglobin molecules and so few cytochrome c molecules, it is the inhibition of the cytochrome and the immediate loss of energy making capability that makes cynaide so quickly toxic, even in relatively small amounts.

Hope this interests and helps some people out there.
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