Tales Of Consumer Reports Employees Injuring Themselves With Products

Nobody is perfect, it seems, not even the folks at safety-conscious Consumer Reports. They’ve put together a group of stories from employees who managed to injure themselves with various products.

Apparently, not even working at a place like CR can keep you from accidentally peeling your skin off with a power washer.

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.

Staff blunders: Times when we didn’t heed our own advice [Consumer Reports]


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  1. dreamsneverend says:

    Yesaaaaaaahhhhh CR team members taking one for the great good.

  2. MissPeacock says:

    For some reason, I read this headline as “Tales of Consumer Reports Employees INJECTING Themselves with Products.”

  3. ChrisC1234 says:

    This is the best part: [i]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.[/i]. Read between the lines if you don’t get it.

  4. discounteggroll says:

    I sometimes drive by the CR building and always dream about all the cool shit that goes on inside there. Nice to know the folks there are still human (for now at least)

  5. sir_pantsalot says:

    When I was a teenager I worked as a lifeguard and had to clean the cement around the pool with a power washer. This was in the mid to late 90’s and it was an electric model so maybe it was not as powerful as the ones you can get today. I just could not resist and I had to see what it felt like. I pointed it at my bare foot and pulled the trigger for a fraction of a second. It felt like a thousand pins and needles were stuck into the top of my foot but I still had skin.

  6. Git Em SteveDave loves this guy--> says:

    POwer washer and foot reminds me of the scene in “The Bank Job” with the sandblaster. Owwwww.

  7. Shadowman615 says:

    The teapot story was puzzling:

    when the water gets to boiling it sounds off because of a plug in the spout-irritating-so much so that we end up removing it.

    Huh? Isn’t that what teapots are supposed to do? Hint: remove it from the burner when it starts whistling and it will stop.

  8. ouphie says:

    I worked at a hardware store in high school where we rented out power washers. The sprayer was 32 inches long with a pup grip in the middle. One guy managed to inject his arm while using it. The trigger was similar to that of a gun (encased by a guard). We never did get a clear story on how he managed it.

  9. dweebster says:

    Consumer Reports seems to be run nowadays by idiots that have no concept of irony.

    When you purchase a subscription to their magazine, you are ALSO “opting in” to receive a whole tank of junkmail – not only from them, but from such “consumer friendly” companies such as:

    1) Newsweek
    2) AAA Auto Club (and Auto-centric lobbiests)
    3) TIME Magazine
    4) Money Magazine
    5) March of Dimes

    …and many more – it took a couple months before I realized that this organization had given away my personal information. Naturally, when you catch them call their customer service number, they act like the sleaziest telemarketers and are “kind” enough to “offer” to remove you from their marketing lists.

    Why in the world Consumers Union would be engaged in leeching the personal information of “consumers” (aka Citizens) to for-profit companies and other nonprofits is beyond me. If CU had ANY integrity – they would put an “opt in” checkbox on their subscription cards. Instead they offer no such notice and assume “opt in” until you realize they leeched your information or you have taken the time to scour their magazine for the fine print that “informs” you they do this scummy stuff.

    With “consumer protection” competency like this, they might as well have George Bush pick a crony to take it over. Actually, the big man himself will be unemployed and available soon…

    • Nytmare says:

      @dweebster: I get quite a bit of junk email from them too, despite my “no” preferences. And their online subscription is auto-renewing, even if you never log on. I don’t know if they outsource their marketing and finance departments, but they’re definitely out of sync with the reporting side.

    • 1SQ says:

      @dweebster: If you think the spam is bad when you just subscribe, you should never contribute extra money for a “membership”. After I did, they started sending me snail-mail requests for more money every month or so. The only way to stop it, according to their website, is to make a request in writing; I did so and the letters just keep coming. I think they have spent my entire donation on soliciting me for further donations.

    • Alex Chasick says:

      Hi, I work for Consumers Union/Consumer Reports. I’m going to pass these concerns on to the higher-ups. If you want to email me your info, I can try to get your particular stuff straightened out. My email address is chasje at consumer dot org.

    • Vandon says:

      They may have changed recently. I just signed up for the web-only subscription about 5 months ago and checked all the ‘don’t sell my name’ and unchecked the ‘sell my name’ boxes and haven’t gotten any spam or extra junk mail from them except for the occasional appliance/home repair/car surveys they send out.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I liked the wiring story. One time I was working on a habitat for humanity house and was installing light fixtures and smoke detecters. The head man told me “they just turned on the fridge so don’t shut off that breaker”. I shut the rest of them off and got to work. I went to strip a wire when a jolt ran down my arm. It caused me to throw the wire strippers and nearly fall off the ladder (how I didn’t fall still amazes me). My arm was numb for an hour. My supervisor came in about 10 minutes later as I sat there on the floor to see if I was ok. I went back to work when I could feel my arm.

    It turns out that the vol. electrician set up the overhead lights to the same circuit as the fridge. So yes, you could not have the fridge running without having the lights on. Flip the switch and off goes the fridge.

    Moral: Always check it yourself

  11. DarianAlcestis says:

    Former employee. It’s fun for a spell. I taste-tested (when they trained us and not ‘outsiders’) hot dogs at 9:30 am for weeks. Not so fun after a while. Ditto with the ice cream, microwave pancakes, oj and frozen lasagna.

    Their spam is pathetic. I did one thing with the DC office, even checking the box to make sure I got no further info, and to this day, it’s still coming in.

    Things have changed there. As everything does with time.

    They’re still an innovative, quirky bunch. I miss it at times.

  12. Ben_Q2 says:

    Did this all the time when I was programing a cell unit. You know what it feels like to have 5 boxes with 5 units in them, and you get to thow them into a wall or skip them like a rock over the cement. Fun Fun Fun…..

    Oh each unit was value at $2,000 at the time.

  13. FrankenPC says:

    I’m guilty of the brush with the pressure washer. Difference being, I didn’t run to a lawyer. I simply felt stupid for not having deduced how dangerous the high pressure stream was.

    BUT, something I couldn’t have known was this: The worst burn I’ve ever suffered (severe second degree burn) was from the handle of a coffee mug. Yes, a coffee mug when placed in a microwave for a mere two minutes turned blazing hot. I grabbed it and it took the skin right off two of my fingers. It was like rubbing against a hot motorcycle exhaust pipe.

    Watch those freakin coffee mugs!!

    • dangermike says:

      @FrankenPC: yes, some types of ceramics and earthenware can become ludicrously hot in a microwave. And it can be quite deceptive since the handle can be hotter than the liquid inside the mug.

  14. Gann says:

    A friend of mine was power washing his truck, tripped on the hose and put a hole in his foot and filled it with water. He squeezed the water out, finished what he was doing and then had his wife run him to the hospital.

  15. StanFlouride says:

    Years ago I lived on a commune in New Hampshire and one of my co-residents managed to cut through the 220v extension cord with the circular saw he was using, giving himself quite a shock.
    I had taken over the task, cutting up stove wood, and was wondering how the hell he had managed to do such a creless and silly thing when I did exactly the same thing about 12″ from where he had done it and found myself on my butt in the mud about 6 feet away.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @StanFlouride: My dad had a similar run in whilst installing a ceiling fan in my room when I was a child. He unscrewed the one there and began disconnecting the wires – and quite suddenly he was on the floor…
      Circuit breakers are your friends!

  16. unpolloloco says:

    I think everyone who’s ever used a power washer has had missing skin on their feet at some point.

  17. revmatty says:

    I’ll counter the anecdotes by noting that I’ve been a subscriber to both the magazine and the website for over 5 years. I always alter my name/email address slightly for each company I give it to so I know who is selling it and who isn’t. I’ve not gotten any spam/junk mail from Consumers Union that wasn’t for one of their products (Health Newsletter, Car Accident Report Service, etc etc).

    • econobiker says:

      @revmatty: If available I use the 2nd address line below the street one to blatantly list the company the subscription or membership or service is through. I then have gotten other adverstising with this same info on my address line.