Engineers, What’s the Most Ridiculous Idiot-Proofing You’ve Had to Do? People Spoke Up.

My brother-in-law is an engineer and every time we hang out I ask him detailed questions about his job because it’s totally beyond my brainpower.

What I’m trying to say is that engineers are really smart and a lot of other people…really aren’t.

AskReddit users who work as engineers talked about the most ridiculous idiot-proofing they’ve had to do at work.

Let’s see what they had to say.

1. Wow.

“From a chemical engineer.

Please do not s**t in the test room.

I wish I was joking, but it happened!”

2. Do not plug in.

“I work in facilities maintenance.

Someone put in a ticket for a malfunctioned computer on wheels and I found the power cord was frayed. Not my gear so all I can really do is set it aside and have the biomed techs fix it.

I put a zip-tie through the holes in the prongs of the plug, put 2 nitrile glove on the plug, zip tied the gloves in place, and wrapped up the gloves with duct tape. I got a sheet of printer paper and wrote “inoperative. do not use. do not plug in” and taped it to the monitor.

Couple hours later I get a ticket for another COW with frayed power cord sparking. It turned out to be the same cart and one of the nurses cut the end of the gloves off, cut the zip tie in the end of the plug, and plugged it in and it arced and tripped a breaker because of the frayed power cord.”

3. I can’t hear it.

“I work on cars, so almost everything is designed around protecting people.

My favorite is that we have to make the hvac system louder and engine noise insulation worse because people will complain if they can’t hear the systems running.

We could make almost silent air ducts, but our warranty spend would go up.”

4. Don’t do that!

“I was asked to make a hydraulic oil pump nozzle ‘drink proof’.

Oh, boy…”

5. Dangerous stuff.

“We had a pedestrian bridge next to a bridge for vehicles, separated by about a 3ft gap. The bridges were about 20ft high over the water.

So many drunk pedestrians climbed over the rails and tried to jump between bridges and didn’t make it that I was directed to design a safety net to hang between the two bridges.”

6. Not a good idea.

“My wife is a civil engineer.

The one that came to mind for her was that she had to add to the specification of a construction contract that stated that workers would not drink the water that accumulated at the bottom of an excavation.”

7. Not a suitable substitute.

“Application Engineer here.

When handling a 3D Laserscanner, it has to be placed and fixed on a stable tripod. A flat rail of a balcony is not a suitable substitute for it.

And no, the insurance has not covered the total loss of the device after it fell from the 5th floor to the concrete pavement.”

8. Just take them off.

“Took the physical disable-wifi button off laptops.

Clearly marked, but people would still flip it and wonder why their wifi went off.”

9. Not a good idea.

“A paragraph in an owners manual on not eating the broken glass from binoculars.”

10. They find a way…

“Civil engineer here. While laying asphalt usually we close the road and cover using barricade tapes.

But no matter his hard we try people always find ways to go through and ruin the whole process. Ultimately we had to use security to block the roads.”

11. From a retail worker.

“Worked in retail and when the store was closing we’d put the shutter 3/4 down, to stop people coming in, and stand by it, raising it as the last customers left.

So many times I had to stop people almost laying on the floor and trying to come in under it. Some seem genuinely surprised/annoyed that the store was closing.”

12. It worked.

“Years ago I worked as a building engineer (glorified maintenance man) for an office building that had endless complaints about the AC/Heater not working.

The staff in the office would adjust the thermostat up and down all day, and then everyone else would complain it was too hot or too cold. It did not matter what kind of lock or cage I put on it, they would break and remove within a day or two of a new one being installed.

So I got a new thermostat with a remote sensor and installed it in my office with the remote sensor near where the old t-stat was, and I left the old t-stat in place with low voltage power so that it would appear to function.

Then I let them change the temp on the old t-stat all they wanted while I programed the real one in my office to our building standards.

Poof, just like that the complaints were reduced by 90%.”

How about you?

Have you ever had to do any idiot-proofing at work or at home?

Talk to us in the comments and let us know. Thanks a lot!