The year was 1985, America was being introduced to the first version of Microsoft Windows, Joe Montana was at the top of his game, and I was designing nucleonic equipment for a mining application. Now, I couldn’t very well just leave that nucleonic equipment lying on the ground, so I drew up a 7ft. swing frame cabinet to hold the equipment. The swing frame was nice; it gave me access to the rear connection of the Nucleonic Instrument Modules (NIMs).
Well, over the course of the summer the various pieces began trickling in, so I began modifying the NIMs to improve their accuracy and count rate and started integrating one channel into the rack. After a successful proof of concept, I fitted the NIM PSU’s, Photo Multiplier Tube (PMT) PSU’s, single channel analysis, Constant Voltage Transformer (a seriously heavy piece of equipment) and Temperature Control Equipment. Yeah, I was getting a lot done and my 7 ft. swing frame was starting to fill out quite nicely. But there was still a lot of work to do.
I needed to interconnect the NIMs, PSU’s, and the PMT’s, so I unlocked the swing frame, and swung the equipment outwards. No big deal, I’ve done it a thousand times before. But something wasn’t quite right. I felt a shadow come over me.
The sunlight shining on my face was suddenly blotted out as the 7ft. tall, 4ft. wide, and 500 lb. cabinet started moving towards me. My life flashed before my eyes as I imagined the final 5 seconds of my existence playing out like a Final Destination movie. The swing frame was accelerating outwards, the cabinet was about to fall on me. The swing frame would then scoop me up, pitch me into the void at the back of the cabinet, and as the whole thing finally impacted against the floor I would become compacted, or as they say here in the U.S. road kill!
Clearly, that didn’t happen. I moved out of the way in time to avoid the bitter irony of being killed during a safety test.
Safety is important to me. That’s why I spent much of my life dedicated to it, amassing as much experience as I could. That means that I have already made most of the mistakes there are to make. I learned the hard way so you won’t have to live through the same kind of terror. If you have any of your own close encounters, please share them with us in the comment section or send them to *protected email*