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Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

Posted January 14, 2007 5:01 PM
Pathfinder Tags: challenge questions

The question as it appears in the 01/16 edition of Specs & Techs from GlobalSpec:

Your warehouse manager calls engineering for urgent assistance. She has found an unopened, dust-covered box weighing 500 lbs with a label stating the box contains poly vinyl cyanide, 3.0 mm, 6.0 denier. She needs to know if she should quarantine the warehouse and seek medical aid.

Update (01/23/07 8:45 AM): And the Answer is....
The material in question is common acrylic fiber cut to a length of 3.0 mm. A 9000 meter length of this fiber has a mass of 6.0 grams. A Materials Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) included with the box should confirm this information and state any handling precautions or disposal requirements.

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#1

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/15/2007 11:18 AM

Eh? Sounds like a thick polymer sheet somewhat like polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The numbers are the sheet thickness and the density through the material, but that is about the limit I know of the material.

I doubt that it is a health hazard unless the box catches fire. Then again, you don't want to be around PVC if it catches fire either.

Tell her that it used for making dilithium crystals.

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#2

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/15/2007 11:52 PM

I think he has a box full of vinyl upholstery

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#3

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 12:16 AM

Could this be another name for "Nitrile Rubber?".

This product is a copolymer and if memory serves me correctly Polymers are to do with the manufacturing of plastics and related. Now if this girl was sharp she would do one of 2 things:

1) A 5 minute Google! or

2) The Golden Rule: "When in doubt,Phone the Safety Department and request! them to take care of this little problem"

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#4

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 1:42 AM

Another name of polyvinyl cyanide is polyacrylonitrile and when processed turns into carbon fiber. As for the other details of 3mm and 6.0 denier the denier part refers to the density of a thread and in this case means it has a density of 6 g per 9,000 meters.

What we have is a box of thread that is 3 mm in diameter and has a density of 666 μgm-1 that when processed becomes carbon fiber, so there is no need to call out the emergency services. It might however be worth finding a new manager because if she didn't know what it was then she doesn't understand the business too well.

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Anonymous Poster
#17
In reply to #4

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 4:03 PM

You are correct about the material being PAN used to make carbon fibers and the fiber denier. However, I believe the "3 mm" might refer to the diameter of the multi-filament yarn made from the individual 6 denier fibers.

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#43
In reply to #4

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 9:46 AM

Don't be too hard on the manager because in many cases, the manager is in that position to manage logistics of the items being stored. In a general stores situation, the content of the containers may not be known to the warehouse operators and any items requiring special handling or care would be placed in specialized storage areas. In a large manufacturing operation, items from a to z would be cataloged and stored and the manager could not possibly know everything about all that was in the warehouse. At least she was aware enough to be concerned and seek assistance.

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Anonymous Poster
#51
In reply to #4

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/18/2007 9:58 AM

i reckon they are nylons - no, not the silk variety - re: stockings [cause Im a lady]

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Anonymous Poster
#58
In reply to #4

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/24/2007 5:29 AM

I'm with guest #17 (almost) except it is my belief that denier refers to the number of filements that make up the thread (originally referred to as 'yarn') in the synthetic fibre industry.

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#62
In reply to #58

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/25/2007 4:35 AM

If you look at the official answer the only thing I got wrong was that I said the 3 mm referred to the diameter of the fiber rather than the length of the individual pieces. If I had bothered to check my original statement and calculated the density of the fiber with a diameter of 3 mm and denier of 6.0 it would have revealed that it was only about a tenth the density of air. Since this is obviously impossible then the 3 mm must refer to its length.

By the way denier has a specific meaning and if you follow the link it explains it in detail.

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#5

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 3:46 AM

Sounds like tights (or stockings) - or pantyhose if the warehouse is in the US.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 4:02 AM

Tell her to let the wet suit department know it's there

Or she could check it's not roof shingles http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6817152.html

But it would be best to check whether it's a fibre, a plastic or a rubber (which depends on its copolymer)...it's unlikely to be tights (panyhose to the US contingent), as 3mm tights are just a tad on the think side!

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 5:01 AM

I reckon this lady saw "cyanide" and hit the panic button! In my job, or as in any job in the OGC industry, any unknown quantity sends me rushing to the web, a quick search for a UN number will immediately reveal the hazardous nature of a product, once the UN number has been established a further search for the MSDS will give me full details on the exact nature of the particular beast.

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 7:00 AM

Dihydrogen monoxide causes similar palpitations.

"Poly vinyl" and "cyanide" don't go together. She might be suffering from pispropouncitation.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 10:56 AM

Changed my mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyacrylonitrile

Depending on what she found inside it she may want to wear it after getting rid of any dust...

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#9

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 10:22 AM

Toxic material should have on the label the proper hazardous identification. It is unopened, is it unopened like never opened or once opened and closed again ?

If it is full of dust, it has been there for a while. If it has not been there for a while, air treatment of the warehouse is priority ...

A quick internet check on the product was a wise move. Filling up your car with a cell phone in your hand is likely to be more hazardous ...

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Anonymous Poster
#56
In reply to #9

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/23/2007 11:23 PM

Your belief in the urban myth about cellphones and gas stations somewhat reduces the effect of the rest of your comment.

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/24/2007 3:54 AM

The point is that the phone/fuel thing is a myth...the box is sooooo safe, that using your phone in a fuel station is more dangerous...<sigh> it's called irony; it's an English thing....

it's just not so funny when you have to explain it...

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#11

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 12:03 PM

The question "she needs to know what action to take" is answered by the training she, her staff and superiors should have received. Where are the Material Saftey Data Sheets kept?

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#12

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 2:47 PM

I think she should knit a sweater with the yarn in the box.

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Anonymous Poster
#13

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 3:20 PM

Woven PVC cloth?

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#31
In reply to #13

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 6:41 AM

Polyacrylonitrile, not PVC.

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#14

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 3:32 PM

I think it's a strong, but stretchy, lightweight yarn or fiber, perhaps a little thick for clothing, but maybe for another purpose such as netting, where a strong fiber or weave is needed. No need to panic, it is not a health hazard, but I wonder if it breaks down over time if exposed to air?

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#15

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 3:54 PM

"and seek medical aid"

Only if she drops the box on her foot.

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#16

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 3:56 PM

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyvinyl cyanide are chemically and functionally very similar, and are both plasics so no she dies not need the nurse or any emergency personnel. The container would appear to be a standard shipping case of plastic pellets ready for use in a standard extrusion machine. One caution would be that in case of fire the fumes from polyvinyl cyanide would be more toxic than the fumes from PVC.

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#18

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 4:21 PM

Not wishing to be dull but what is the question. What are the characteristisc of the material or what is the appropriate action at the point of discovery of the material?

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#19

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 4:23 PM

Wouldn't just be a synthetic cord?

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#20

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 5:06 PM

The material is probably Orlon from Dupont - acrylonitrile sounds a lot safer than anything with cyanide in it.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 6:02 PM

You may want to check your facts on the health effects of exposure to acrylonitrile.

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#32
In reply to #20

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 6:47 AM

Er, acrylonitrile is chemically similar to "cyanide", because of the -CN group on the molecule. Polyacrylonitrile is not as hazardous as it sounds; indeed one may have something made from it in contact with one's skin right now without realising it. Polyacrylonitrile is rather more comfortable than polyvinylchloride in that respect.

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#22

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 6:06 PM

She should seek medical aid if she is allergic to yarn. 500 lbs is a lot of thread.

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Anonymous Poster
#23

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 6:08 PM

Only if she is allergic to fabric. Maybe she is who I need to invite to my weekend party... Is she well "qualified"?

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 6:32 PM

?????????????

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#25

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 7:40 PM

Is she blond! Its just PVC sheeting 3mm thick, with a linear mass density of 6.0 ( 6.0 grams per 9000 meters). So no quarantine required, but i reckon she should seek some help even if its not medical!

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#34
In reply to #25

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 8:01 AM

Supplimentary question:

Why do men prefer women who are dumb?

My theory is that it allows them to hold on to the (misguided) belief that they know everything.... ;o)

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 8:04 AM

Agreed.

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#41
In reply to #34

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 9:11 AM

I assume you mean "some men". Dumb women are just as trying as dumb men.

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#47
In reply to #34

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 1:29 PM

Rose -

Men don't ALWAYS prefer dumb women, but it's prevalent enough to be notable, mystifying, and amusing! Just think how many jokes are based on it:

Q: Why would most women rather be beautiful than smart?
A: Because most men can see so much better than they can think.

...etc...

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/18/2007 3:37 AM

Disclaimer:

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the author.

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#26

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 9:16 PM

Call a big strong guy that likes to sew, it's thread!!

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Anonymous Poster
#27

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/16/2007 10:45 PM

It sounds like she found a box that contained elastic bands. 500 lb of them!!Yikes!!

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Anonymous Poster
#28

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 3:17 AM

Supply some knitting patterns and needles. Sounds like its synthetic yarn to me.

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Anonymous Poster
#29
In reply to #28

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 4:49 AM

Would you be happy if you were carrying around half a litre of ammonium cyanate solution? Even worse, if it was inside your body?

Well, I do. It occurs naturally and quite safely in urine - it's also called urea.

It's easy to use technical terms to scare people. The dihydrogen monoxide warning is a classic example.

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#33
In reply to #29

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 6:55 AM

Carbamide. Wiki has no entry for ammonium cyanate.

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#30

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 4:50 AM

Engineering's reply would be to ask her to do some house work (get that duster out!) and keep her department tidy as obviously the box is 'unopened' and therefore still sealed! The dust, which could be from another 'opened' box of un-known origin and therefore pose a health risk but is more likely to be plain old 'house' dust! So the bottom line is unless obnoxious substances (not polyvinyl cyanide!) are or have been kept in the warehouse, there could be likely contamination otherwise get the vacuum cleaner and mop out!

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Anonymous Poster
#36

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 8:12 AM

Its a roll of plastic- why bother.

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#37

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 8:14 AM

Why is it that engineering always has to cover managements "urgent assistance"? I would tell her to go ahead and quarantine the warehouse but do not leave, and that I would send the proper medical aid ASAP. As Soon As Pigs Fly.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 8:26 AM

Lovely phrase, ASAP. So misunderstood! Try putting ASAP into a Microsoft Project task and it treats it as low priority, shunting it to the back after all the sequenced and timetabled tasks. "December 2014 is possible. If you want it quicker you will need to take your business elsewhere..." The expression ASAP can be used to invite an internal client to find resources for the task from outside the organisation.

Nothing to do with polyvinylcyanide, though.

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#39
In reply to #37

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 8:26 AM

If engineering didn't cover her 6, as with any business, the world just would not turn anymore. So we sit here and knock the managers and kind of accept them as the necessary evil that they are.

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#40

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 8:31 AM

NO. No need. What we found was a rather large roll of plastic wrap.

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#42

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 9:36 AM

Why does it have dust on it? Probably beacuse nobody is going to try and move 500lbs!

And she wouldnt have to check the internet to find out what poly vinyl cyanide is...she should have an MSDS on it.

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#44

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 11:03 AM

No need for concern it's just a box of man made yard. Denier just refers to the fibers denisty.

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#45

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 11:04 AM

She should check the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). All controlled substances must have one. It will tell her what hazards, if any, there are, what to do in an emergency, safe handling precautions, etc...

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#46
In reply to #45

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 11:09 AM

This hypothetical warehouse is an odd one: insufficient staff training, incomplete records of what is stored there, incomplete housekeeping, missing MSDSs...

Maybe quarantining the whole thing until proactive leadership is in place would be a good idea...

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#48
In reply to #46

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/17/2007 1:43 PM

Clearly.

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#50

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/18/2007 9:39 AM

OK, you people seriously think this stuff through toooooo much, It is an UNOPENED BOX, COVERED WITH DUST. OK. Its not leaking oil, or spewing gas or foam from the seams. If it has been in the warehouse and is UNDAMAGED, there is nothing to worry about. It wouldnt matter if it was friggin uranium or some other type of radioactive material. As long as it is in an undamaged container of any type. She Should probably refer to ther warehouse MSDS since if it is in her warehouse she should have a sheet on it, I'm familiar with HAZMAT, and it just seems like she's freakin out for no reason other that seeing the word cyanide. Its not a time sensitive material that will release once a certain density of dust collects on top of the box, but it may be hazardous if the material is not handled correctly. She should talk to her engineers to find out what is in the box and then handle it accordingly

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#52

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/18/2007 10:53 AM

You should quarantine the warehouse from her and she should seek medical aid for her stupidity and for losing the box in the first place.

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#53

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/18/2007 1:28 PM

Wow! If everybody had the high level of intelligence of many of respondents (as displayed by the scornful replies), then the respondents would just be ordinary. What's wrong with asking for information when you don't know something? Googling wouldn't provide a response like "It's a polymer we no longer use, it should be disposed of", whereby the manager puts it on Ebay and saves the company disposal costs and sponsors a "happy hour". And a regular request to engineering may get a response time varying from 5 minutes to 6 months.

The polite (and appropriate?) reply would be a simple "No. It's also called polyacrylonitrile and it's safe as it is."

______________________

Murphy remembers everyone

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Power-User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Illinois, USA
Posts: 440
Good Answers: 2
#54
In reply to #53

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/18/2007 1:35 PM

Thanks for that! You've earned your "good guy" points for the day.

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Anonymous Poster
#55

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/18/2007 1:36 PM

Not to worry, PVC (plastic) is used in rope, clothing, threads and may other useful everyday items. The polymerization locks the cyanide into the molecoule rendering it harmless.


Tony Lang

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Anonymous Poster
#59

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/24/2007 10:21 AM

The old dust covered box must have been left over from the days when MSDS sheets were not required. If the MSDS sheet was with the box....the warehouse manager would not have needed to ask what to do.

John Simpkins

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Anonymous Poster
#60

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/24/2007 8:58 PM

A stupid question is the one not asked

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Participant

Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1
#61

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/24/2007 10:25 PM

Are the two values (3.0 and 9,000) transposed?

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Anonymous Poster
#63

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

01/25/2007 11:00 AM

Wow, that must be some thin material. It is hard to believe that something that stretches for 5.592 miles (9000 meters) only has a mass of 6 grams. Spider web I guess. I am just glad I wasn't the guy who had to cut 211,386.92 miles of the fiber into 3 mm pieces to yield the 500 pounds. That overseas labor is amazing.

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Anonymous Poster
#64

Re: Warehouse Quarantine: Newsletter Challenge (01/16/07)

02/05/2007 9:55 AM

When in doubt send in the newest lacky and tell him not use any safety gear as it just wastes time, if he shows signs of illness send in the next minion until said material has been removed, this process can be used in most countries (the poorer the better

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_accident

As you can see this standard operatoring procedure work well when the lacky dies (including the surronding towns) as the payouts are keep well below the national average (who they going to pay they are all dead).

Opps this is meant to be a joke ... (not the chennobly) but a payout on the governments of the world and the double standards they use.

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