No lost time accidents here

The other night, Steven Colbert opened his show with a joke, “47 episodes with no lost time accident” and it reminded me of a job I worked where they kept track of those things.  One summer I had a temp job at Howmet Castings doing miscellaneous things and fairly often I had to walk out through the manufacturing floor to get to another set of offices.  There was a prominent sign near the entrance to the floor which said: “___ Days With No Lost Time Accident” and there was a number written into the blank spot.  When I started working there, I noticed the number was up around 150.  I was fairly impressed.  That’s a pretty long safe streak.  As I continued working through the summer, the number went up by 1 every day, reaching 200 or so.  But then a few days in a row I noticed the number wasn’t changing any more.  I wondered if someone had just forgotten to update the sign.  Another week went by and then I noticed the sign had finally been updated.  It now read: “12 Days With No Lost Time Accident”.  Oh.  What happened?  What was the accident?  For many people, I’m sure this sign was the only information they ever received.  I also found it rather interesting that instead of resetting to zero on the day it happened, they just let it slide for a few days before starting again.  I hope the guy’s OK.

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