A warning about bristles from wire brushes used to clean barbeques has highlighted, for me, a problem which often affects workshops – tools which are really not up to the use they are being put to.
I recently received a note from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons about pancreatic injury caused by ingested BBQ bristles.
RACS general surgery trainee Dr Rafael Gaszynski had told the 86th Annual Scientific Congress: “The patient complained of vague abdominal pain, lethargy and anorexia. On the fourth presentation to the emergency department they were referred to the surgical team and a CT scan was performed, which showed the foreign body [a piece of wire] protruding from his duodenum into his pancreas.
“A gastroscopy was performed and the foreign body was removed.”
Dr Gasznski wants there to be regulations governing BBQ wire brush quality, but I think he’s wasting his time, especially in the face of the huge influx of cheap goods from China and the like.
I regularly barbeque – apart from anything else it helps me to relax after a day’s work – and I always clean the grids with a wire brush. However, I long ago gave up using proprietary BBQ brushes, choosing instead to buy a good quality wire brush with long bristles from my local car accessories store.
One of the reasons is that even a good quality brush costs a lot less than a custom-designed BBQ brush, but it also lasts longer, doesn’t clog as easily, and doesn’t shed its bristles, as the BBQ brushes clearly do.
The other thing I do that perhaps many others don’t is to give the grid – I specified stainless steel for mine – a good wipe over with a paper towel before I start to cook.
What’s this got to do with your workshops? Well, apart from the fact that many ‘shops like to have a barbeque after work on a Friday, especially in the summer, it directly relates to the tools you use for your work.
Always make sure they’re good quality, and they won’t let you down, strip, or otherwise cause problems. Cheap can sometimes turn out very expensive!
Similarly, ensure they’re always clean and dry before you start using them, and put them away where they belong when you’ve finished.