The Hand-Built Hot Rod
Gleaming chrome. Beautiful custom paint. Tufted leather upholstery. If that’s your idea of a hot rod, stand back and make way for the true, original, hand-built hot rod.
It’s called a rat rod and it harkens back to the early days of hot rodding in the 40s, 50s and 60s when enthusiast had more skill than money and built their creations by themselves…by hand.
Back in those days, hot rodders would find a Model T or a Model A, strip off everything they could-fenders, running boards, roof, bumpers- and drop a more powerful engine. It was often a Ford Flathead V8.They’d do all the work themselves. It was about having fun, not about who spent the most money. It was about getting your hands greasy. It was about building something unique.
The rat rod movement today is dedicated to bringing back that hand-built heritage.
In a rat rod, the parts are mismatched, cribbed from a variety of vehicles. The body proudly displays its rust and battle scars. Maltese crosses and skulls sit atop gearshifts in homage to biker and rockabilly cultures. The seats are often bare metal. There’s no carpeting and certainly no luxury-car amenities like air conditioning. An old style beam axle is out front, with leaf springs all around instead of modern coils.
To the uninitiated, a rat rod looks unfinished. That’s because it is. It’s a work in progress, an expression of the owners’ ever-changing vision. It is continuously altered, revised and rebuilt. For a rat rodder, nothing tops having a wrench in your hand.
Think about that the next time you’re on the job, and you’ll realize again why hand safety is so important. You should remind yourself every day to:
*Use gloves when the job calls for it, and choose the proper ones.
*Watch out for pinch points.
*Protect your hands from chemicals and burns.
*Beware of sharp objects like banding, saw blades and edges.
It can be easy to overlook hand safety when you’re on the job and trying to get a project finished. Especially if there is a deadline to meet. But if you allow yourself even a moment of inattention, you’re vulnerable to a potential injury. Why take the chance? It’s just not worth risking damage to your hands. They’re essential tools. Just ask any rat rodder with a hand-built creation and a workbench full of wrenches.
YOUR HANDS THE TOOLS YOU NEED FOR EVERY JOB!
*COPYRIGHT 2012 Harkins Safety (B279)
Gusher in the Gulf
The name “Valdez” made people think of the worst oil spill ever. No more. Now that dubious honor goes to Deep Water Horizon, an offshore drilling platform operated in the Gulf of Mexico.
On April 20, 2010, the rig exploded, killing 11 workers and opening a gusher that released millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf waters. What happened and why?
Floating on the Gulf waters, the Deep Water Horizon platform sent its drilling equipment 5,000 feet below the surface to reach the sea floor. Beyond that depth, it drilled down another 18,000 feet into the earth to reach the oil reserve. It’s an amazing feat of technology, one that has been compared to working on the surface of the moon.
On the sea floor, 5,000 feet below the water’s surface, sat the blowout preventer. It’s a failsafe device. Its purpose is to close off the well in an emergency. But the fail safe device failed.
A dead battery kept the blowout preventer from signaling the rising pressure. Worse, a leak in the hydraulic system stopped the valves from closing off the well and the main valve. The shear ram was not strong enough to crush the well pipe and stop the oil flow.
Barrel after barrel of oil fouled the Gulf waters while technicians struggled to find a solution. It’s a lesson for everyone about following procedures, staying aware, never cutting corners and protecting our precious environment.
That’s why on the job it’s vital for each of us to:
*Recycle. It saves money, reduces waste and lessons the landfill load.
*Properly handle all chemicals and hazardous materials. Even small amounts can be extremely dangerous. Be smart when you’re around them.
*Conserve energy and natural resources. Turn off lights, don’t waste water and look for other ways to conserve. Using resources is okay; abusing them isn’t.
The responsibility is ours. Taking that responsibility seriously and taking appropriate action can save resources and prevent terrible damage.
Thankfully, technicians did find a way to cap the oil flow from the Deep Water Horizon spill. But by then the damage to the Gulf coast and its waters had been done.
This earth is the only one we have and we have to take care of it. Always remember….
Let’s make it a requirement….
Protect The Environment!
*Copyright 2010 Harkins Safety B-270