When I left school I got an electrical apprenticeship at a nearby steelmill. It was great fun and well paid with plenty of overtime.
The mill had various plants where the steel was processed. The dirtiest and best paying area was the Iron Plant. Here Iron sand was melted down and transformed into pig iron. The plant was filthy with iron sand spread everywhere.
In my second year there I had an accident. I was walking back from the plant to the workshop and took a shortcut through the plant. I must have stood in a hole covered in iron sand. Although the sand was cold on top, underneath it was red hot.
The hot sand poured into my boots causing circumferential burns to my ankles. I raced over to a safety shower and whipped my boots off hosing them down with cool water. Another worker passing by went for help and a supervisor came and picked me up in the workshop utility vehicle and raced me off to the medical centre.
I walked into the medical centre and said to the nurse “you have a patient here with burns to his feet”. She replied ok well bring him in then. I replied “its me”!
With my feet in a basin of icy water the burning subsided but the skin was peeling off my ankles. An ambulance was called and I was ferried off to Middlemore hospital with my feet in plastic bags of the icy water and my hands and face covered in dust and dirt.
When we arrived at the hospital the ambulance officer told the nurses to take extra care of me because I was a Volunteer fireman, which somehow made it into the notes. I was seen promptly and my ankles bandaged with soothing SSD cream.
The next day the junior doctors came around for their daily patient rounds with the consultant. I felt like an exhibit instead of a patient as they read out my notes and pointed at my bandaged feet. I had to chuckle silently when the doctor read from the notes that I was a fireman and got burnt while attending a fire.
After several months off work and some painful hobbling around I returned to work and resumed light duties in the drawing office. With my feet still tender I was unable to wear the required steel cap boots so was confined to office work. Although boring, it did lead to another interesting episode!