Ironically, immediately after my last post we got in a used commercial safe with a history of injury. And it came from the same restaurant chain to which I referred in that last post.
Some years ago, AFTER an employee lost a finger in this safe, it was fitted with three safety devices to prevent additional accidents. 1) The photo on left shows the slam damper that was installed, which keeps the door from slamming on someone’s hand. (I know the photo in the last post was poor.) 2) In the other photo you can see a push/pull handle. When using this handle to close the safe your fingers are not near the edge of the door. 3) That picture also shows the yellow figure guard. This piece of steel extends up 3” above the edge of the door, again, to keep fingers from getting pinched as the door is closed.
My guess is that the cost of installing these three items was much less than the business ended up paying for the severed finger!
I get nervous when parents bring kids into our shop and then don’t watch them closely. I warn them that “safe doors are not kind to little fingers.” That is true at home, too – if you have a safe do not allow children to use it. It doesn’t take much for a safe door to injure or even cut off a small finger.
The same can be said for adult fingers when a heavy safe is involved, especially when the safe is a high security plate steel model. Some years ago one of the fast food chains standardized on a TL-30 plate steel safe in which the door was 1 ½” solid plate steel. The doors fit with very close tolerances and had sharp 90 degree edges. I know of several instances just in our area where employees using the safe were not careful enough. As a result, the door was closed when their hands were in the way and their pinky fingers were severed. When a 300# door wants to close, a little finger will not stop it. I know one of the restaurant mangers well. She went through terrible anguish as they put the finger on ice and rushed the girl to the hospital. But it could not be re-attached.
Think about how you as a business owner or manager would feel if that happened to your employee! Think about the potential for a law suit! As a consumer, how would you feel if your child was injured like that?
There is a solution to the problem. The “slam damper” is a hydraulic deceleration cylinder that will slow down the door as it closes. The picture looks down on a slam damper (not installed) and the kind of heavy plate steel safe which is the biggest problem — the door is 1 1/2″ steel with sharp edges. The device is mounted inside, usually to the top of the safe body. The door is stopped before closing and the user needs to push the door the rest of the way, making them think about what they are doing.
Total cost for the slam damper and its installation should run about $350 to $400. It sounds expensive, but how much sleep would you lose after an accident? How much would a severed finger cost you in court? Train your employees in the importance of being careful when using the safe. For additional protection have a safe technician install a slam damper.