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From story
A Day in the Life of a Young Sheffield Steel Worker
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Conditions: What it's like where we work

Conditions: What it's like where we work

"We all have our individual danger tags so that we are able to lock off a switch, isolating it meaning we can work on a circuit or a piece of machinery without fear that someone is going to come up and think why is this off. Obviously preventing us from getting about 10,000 volts in there. It's not locked for no reason."

"Obviously at work there is a lot of open windows everywhere so it does get very cold so we've got a few fires lying around everywhere so you can stop and warm up a bit."

"Little Eric who worked down there with me told me, cause he worked in one of these little workshops as a little mester sort of thing but he was down in a cellar grinding and he used to tell me as a lad that he used to go home and his dad used to get him under the lamp right, and pick these molluscs of his eye after the days work sort of thing. I tell you what Ron, you often see a mirror in a grinding hull. It's not for cosmetic reasons it’s to have a look to see what's in your eyes. I mean some of them were good at getting them off but I’d preferred that then going to the hospital."

I talked to both owners and workers about the conditions and dangers they face at work. I found that grinders are liable to frequent pain and sometimes serious injury or loss of eyesight from the mites or sharp particles of hot steel, which fly into their eyes when grinding. Some wear glasses but I did not notice many so protected. A fellow worker takes the mites out with a lancet or a sharp pin.