Reply to post: Spanner in the works

The silence of the racks is deafening, production gear has gone dark – so which wire do we cut?


Spanner in the works

Setting the Way Back machine...

In the late '70's I was working shift in the state data centre for a major OZ bank. This was in the days before ATM's were prevalent and there was no such thing as EFTPOS. This particular day I was on Morning Shift (06:00 start). The manager of the centre had scheduled some work on the main power distribution board so we only started essential systems. The ATM network was scheduled to come up at 07:00 and the Branch On-Line network was to be active by 08:00. The sparky arrived at 06:30 and was directed to the distribution board. He opened the doors and looked inside. He had a large spanner in his hand and when he went to throw the main breaker somehow he managed to short the main power leads with the spanner. There was a huge bang and the flash lit up the room brighter than the brightest welding arc I have seen; then the room fell into a deathly silence. The sparky was thrown across the room and slammed into the back of the tape units. The room went dark (except for the emergency lighting). All of the systems and the air conditioning shut down. We raced for the emergency torches and called for an ambulance. When we reached the sparky he was unconscious but breathing. While we waited for the ambulance the sparky regained consciousness but was saying he couldn't see anything. The ambulance guys said he was lucky to be alive. The hospital reported that he had received flash burns to his retinas. He did recover his sight eventually. The spanner was found later that day and was missing a full half inch of metal from one of the lugs.

Power was restored at 09:00 and the systems bought up. Distribution board maintenance was never again scheduled for a week day.

Beer - because after that shift we really needed it to settle our nerves.

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