Who Watches the Watchers?

Testing products can be a dangerous job, even when you are well aware of the potential hazards. Thanks to The Consumerist for pointing me to this blog entry at Consumer Reports.

Believe us when we say we are unapologetic sticklers for safety here at Consumers Union. We think about it and talk about it all the time, but that doesn’t mean that folks on our staff don’t make the occasional safety blunder….

…”I read with great envy our story on pressure washers a few years ago—this was before I even worked here—then ran out and bought one. The story explicitly said make sure you don’t point it at yourself. Our video even had a guy who had really hurt his foot that way, as I recall. “I’ll never do that,” I said confidently. And, sure enough, the first time I used the device I managed to just brush the edge of my wrist with the stream. No skin left. Scar—small one—still there today to remind me always to wear hand and eye protection and never point it at yourself!”

I just wish they wouldn’t keep saying “blunder”. However, in opposition to my usual diatribe about not blaming the user, I have to admit I laughed at this story:

“About 15 years ago I was finishing my basement. I put in the rough wiring for above-the-sink lighting, but didn’t tape off the end. A few nights later I was standing on a stool hammering close to the exposed wire. Make that too close. The metal cheek grazed the wire, tripped the circuit breaker and sent a numbing wave down my arm. I walked in the dark and reset the circuit breaker. Then, to distinguish myself from so many other do-it-yourself homeowners, proceeded to demonstrate to my wife exactly what happened. Exactly being the optimal word.”

Keep checking back at the Consumer Reports site, as they state this is only the first in the series.