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Friday, Nov. 28, 1997.

Dirty Little Secrets

by Ted Mooney

I know a man who fell into a large nickel plating tank, and instantly got out and into the adjacent rinse tank. He did not suffer any serious burns, and credited jumping into the rinse tank with saving his life. I heard a couple of similar stories from fairly reliable sources as I was compiling the MFSA's "Safety Tips" booklet.

Clearly it is questionable to promote jumping into rinse tanks: one could be injured by automatic material handling equipment, or by sharp objects hiding beneath the liquid surface; and, in the panic, one could easily jump into a wrong tank, only compounding the problem.

Still, Aristotle's syllogism will not allow us the exception we would like to cozy up to. Inescapably, if jumping into a rinse tank can save a life, then failure to do so can cost a life.

But rinse waters are considered 'toxic material' today, no matter how clean they are. Nobody would dare suggest that people jump into a vat of toxic material. Nobody will even talk about it. Aristotle and Diogenes are dead and buried.

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