Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Fix is in

Sometimes life is stressful. Sometimes work is stressful but usually not so much for me, except yesterday (and today).

The machines I help design & build move around large steel bars. A customer of ours had a near miss yesterday. A bar missed a sensor & got tossed like uncooked spaghetti. So an 800lb gets tossed into the air and lands where an operator had been standing 10 seconds before. A hefty chunk of concrete chipped out of the floor, some bent steel pieces, but no one hurt.

This makes me nervous. It's not a concern over liability or blame or CYA. It is more seeing the potential of what could have happened. A machine I designed hurt someone or killed someone. There are very few thoughts that are more chilling.

I used to help design repairs for aircraft. Every 3-5 years the aircraft gets gutted & checked for cracks, corrosion, and any other damage. Engineers resolve any findings that are not covered by the standard manuals. I have a higher than normal insight into aircraft and what goes into making them work and continue working for a long time. As an intern I worked with my mentor engineer in the only other similar scary incident that comes to mind. We found a 34" crack in the aircraft skin at a critical point in the structure. A quick check at the plane beside it found a 4" crack. We made national news and not in a good way. It was about 26 pages of drawings and details of what to cut, rivet and how to put it all together. The FAA had many visitors to our repair hangar. I was part of getting fixed. This was my job for about 3 years. That was chilling but different. It wasn't my creation (something I designed) that failed.

Back to the current situation. In the hypothetical pondering of what could have happened I'm saved from being a total wreck by a few things. No one was actually hurt. We are putting in some components to prevent this in the future.

On a spiritual side, in the stark reality of life my actions and decisions have killed someone. We have all done it. Someone who was pure & innocent and did nothing wrong. He died so we wouldn't. It is bigger than this though. In one sense he stepped infront of the sentence that was meant for us. Further he took the full fallout. It's one thing to be saved from death, it's another step further to be saved from the continual wrecked life. He didn't save us from the firing squad & leave us in prison. We are saved and set free. Free to serve because the we are fixed on the inside. The fix is in.

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