A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lawyer Locks

We needed to wash laundry at Xavier's gun and camera ranch, so I finally got around to inspecting and repairing the washing machine today. I was pretty certain a non-sterile rubber exam glove had floated out of a pocket on my scrubs and clogged the pump. I took off the front of the washer and removed the hose between the pump and the basin. No glove.

Next, I took the advice of a lion's share of my readers and bypassed the lid switch. I put the washer on the spin cycle, and sonuvagun...... It spun. I got to thinking.... that's a dangerous thing. Years ago, washing machines did not even have this stupid lawyer lock on them. I broke out my wire spices and heat shrink tubing and made a permanent bypass of the switch, and removed it. We now have a load of towels spinning merrily away in the washer. Thank you readers....

When did we become so stupid that we need an electronic lock to prevent us from lifting a lid and seeing laundry spinning? Does the Maytag litigation crew think their customers will commit suicide by jumping into a washer on the spin cycle? I don't know...... All I know is I don't like lawyer locks on my guns, and now the lawyer lock is off my washing machine as well. I think I can handle the risk.

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25 Comments:

Anonymous Biscayne said...

Think of the children!

11:22 PM  
Blogger TrueBlueSam said...

Congratulations! The overload switch burnt up on our washer many years ago, and I wired in a circuit breaker to make it run. When I told my uncle about it, he scolded me for spending too much to fix it. It would have been cheaper to wire in a pigtailed light socket, and screw in a time delay fuse. The old boy knows his washers and dryers.

11:42 PM  
Anonymous HankH said...

And let's not forget all the times we've been saved from 2nd degree burns because McDonalds coffee cups proclaim: 'warning, contents are hot'. More nanny-state b.s.

HankH

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you ever have young children around your house? The switch is cheap, you know better then i do what an amputation costs.

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.cannon-dunphy.com/News/news_04.asp]

12:54 AM  
Anonymous redneck said...

We have the "lawyer locks" for the same reason we have decals on lawn mower decks saying to keep your hands and feet from under the mower, and not to use it as a hedge trimmer. Unfortunately, it seems that at least 50% of the American public can't(or don't) think things through to their logical conclusion, and then don't want to take any personal responsibility when something goes wrong as a result of their stupidity.

Resent case in point .... look who occupies the White House...

7:51 AM  
Blogger Arch said...

I too view with disgust most of the effects of "lawyered fixes" on our lives. In my time I've seen slides and diving boards at public swimming pools dismantled and removed and guns defaced with "read the manual" warnings stamped on them just to mention a couple. But the lid switch serves a real safety function. The mother of a friend had her arm caught and badly mangled by a spinning washer in the days before lid switches. She had it amputated just below the elbow because it couldn't be repaired. This happened in the 1960s and perhaps today improved surgical techniques would be able to save her arm. But the injury from such an accident would still be horrific. I believe the lid switch is a small intrusion in our lives that is a worthwhile safety feature. I would not recommend bypassing that safety device.

8:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the "lawyer tabs" on the forks of bicycles. These can be filed off so that the wheel will simply fall out when opening the quick release - like they are supposed to....

9:17 AM  
Blogger Sevesteen said...

Some of the lawyer features are counterproductive. A lot of bicycles have "lawyer lips" on the forks that make using a quick release harder than it needs to be, and more likely to be done wrong by people not familiar with proper operation. The mag interlock on Ruger semiauto .22's is another example--it is bad enough I've got to pull the trigger with the gun pointed in arbitrary directions, but to force me to insert a mag to do it? I don't want mags in the same room as a gun I'm cleaning.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Ed Rasimus said...

I love it when my long distance diagnosis is right!

Aren't you sorry you went at the pump first?

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Steve R said...

Xavier -

I'm not so sure it's a "lawyer lock" issue as much as it is to keep the washer from sudsing over if the operator forgets to close the lid. Lift the lid in the middle of the cycle, and you'll see suds on the bottom of the lid. Look again when it's done, and they're gone. Which means water got splashed up there to rinse them down in between times. If the lid were accidentally left up for the whole cycle, you could have a mess on your hands. Of course, you'd also remember to not do that again! BT,DT

11:08 AM  
OpenID reflectoscope said...

Anon: You know what? Its a free country. What a man does in his house is his business. Worry about your own life.

Jim

12:12 PM  
Blogger R Ryan said...

As a lawyer, I have to jump in here.

Sure, there are some (well, lots) of sleazy lawyers out there looking to make a quick buck.

BUT, they'd be in the umemployment line if it wasn't for the myriads of people out there who do stupid things, get hurt or maimed and then go running off to find a lawyer to help them get rewarded for the consequences of their stupidity.

Look around your home: the most basic items and products are covered in warning labels. My personal favorite is the frozen pizza wrapper which has a warning that should be unnecessary in a sane world: "Be sure to remove plastic wrapper and cardboard before putting pizza in oven".

These type of devices shouldn't be called lawyer locks, but idiot locks.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

It's a lot easier to keep a gun hidden or away from a kid than to keep a kid away from a washing machine. If I had little kids around I would feel better knowing that opening the lid would stop the washer turning, since I can't just put the washer in a safe or hide it on a cabinet.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Kristopher said...

Gee thanks, Mr Anon.

No one even considered that the mother might be at fault for allowing a child to operate the machine.

Just allow the lawyers to screw all of us by awarding $9m in new company expenses to pass on to ALL washing machine buyers and users.

2:51 PM  
OpenID cortillaen said...

The sad part is that this is not, as Hank said, "nanny-state b.s.". Rather, it's the result of hyper-litigiousness on the part of idiots and courts agreeing that companies are responsible when said idiots manage to hurt themselves by misusing something. Now companies have to always cover their behinds with specific warnings or be sued for millions.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Anon,
First, I really appreciate your concern and the link you provided. I truely had no idea that such an accident was feasible.

I suppose with wet cloth spinning at high speed, getting wrapped up in it could be potentially traumatic.

Still, in my family, we shoot. My kids started handling guns, real guns, at the age that some kids learn to ride a bike. we have a gas stove, a garbage disposal, electrical outlets, and heaven help us, a bayou with alligators out back. My kids use hedge trimmers, and they have helped me with chain saws. My son rides a motorcycle. I used to ride motorcycles. I have worked around farm equipment that makes a washing machine look like a swish in a martini.

That being said, I have taken your advice to heart, and informed my family of the potential danger that lurks in the wash room. I will likely leave the switch off, simply because nobody goes in there except my family. I believe that the best way to avoid injury s not to avoid risks, risks are everywhere. we can not lock out all risks. we can, however, educate ourselves to the risks so we are aware of them, and do not cross the line between safety and danger. You have made me aware of that risk. For that, I thank you.

Best regards,
xavier

3:30 PM  
Anonymous TJP said...

Yep, it's because a small number of people get washing machine amputations every year. Funny thing is, the lid switch on my Kenmore doesn't turn off the agitator, which is also dangerous to the stupid.

I also find it amusing that HankH brought up the McDonald's coffee settlement. I don't know if irony applies here, but in that particular case, the coffee was so hot that the woman was burned through the cup, and dropped it due to involuntary reflex. The only reason that they make the coffee so hot is to avoid lawsuits due to food poisoning. (It's really sort of unnecessary, because most bacteria croak at 110 degrees Fahrenheit.)

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your welcome. I do respect that it is your decision to make, even though i disagree.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

My uncle lost his arm as a teenager to a washer in spin cycle, so you might say traumatic. Even the most responsible people (Unc is very much so) have ND's or traffic accidents or get distracted and stick their arm in the washer during spin cycle.

That switch is really cheap and while it's your property and your family, I'd replace the switch (and have on mine before).

If for no other reason than that is the way we, as a society, have come to expect the washer to operate and when we get used to something being in a certain condition, we rely on it to do what we expect it to. Kind of like an unloaded gun.

9:08 PM  
Blogger TOTWTYTR said...

Somehow I, and I assume many of your readers, managed to survive the bikes with quick release hubs, washing machines without interlocks, cork guns (you'll lose an eye!), and various other mortal dangers.

Some safety features are good, many features and warning labels are due to stupidity and litigation, an ugly combination.

Besides, people dying of their own stupidity not only is job security for some of us, it's also good for the species. Darwin is slowly losing the battle of evolution, at least in the west.

9:15 AM  
Blogger tom said...

Anybody stop to consider the physics involved in the accidents of "washing machine spin cycle amputations"????

If it's spinning full bore with a decent weight load of clothes in it and you open the lid and stick your arm in it, those clothes ain't gonna stop spinning just because a switch shut the electric motor off. If you want to worry about such things, maybe you should worry about having government mandated "lawyer brakes" on washing machines, that switch isn't going to do what many of you seem to think it will do without some sort of very strong brake attached to it.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Tom, some washers have brakes some don't. The ones that do are activated by the lid switch. The ones that don't remain less dangerous for a short period of time after the lid is raised. Without a lid switch, instead of getting a broken and mangled arm from a spinning down tub it can twist the arm right off under power.

5:37 PM  
Blogger Vote For David said...

The large item-photography area where I work is a white sheetrock wall. I suggested they put up a FOOT HIGH steel plate to keep photographers from smashing the bottom of the wall (any more) with pallets and pallet jacks.

The same week they put up a 4" high barrier a few inches from the wall, there was a fresh dent from a pallet jack that could juuuuuust barely reach the wall.

Perhaps I was gloating a little when I told them: "Mechanical safety devices breed complacency!"

...oh, and my own washer also agitates with the lid up, but will not spin. Duh?

12:23 AM  
Blogger Wayne Conrad said...

R. Ryan's got it right. Blaming the lawyers for lawsuits is like blaming guns for shooting. The lawyers are merely our instruments.

(Except, I suspect, for class action lawsuits).

6:48 PM  

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