There is no longer any pleasure in reading the annual Microsoft injury reports

Microsoft is required by law to file reports on employees who have sustained injuries on the job. They are also required to post the reports in a location where employees can see them. These reports come out every year on February 1.

Back in the old days, these reports were filled out by hand, and reading them was oddly amusing for the details. My favorite from the mid 1990's was a report on an employee who was injured on the job, and the description was simply pencil lead embedded in hand.

Sadly, the reports are now computerized, and there isn't a place to describe the nature of each injury. It's just a bunch of numbers.

Numbers are nice, but they don't tell a story in quite the same way.

Comments (22)
  1. Chriso says:

    Maybe the numbers are just to hide all those pencil accidents happening, there is surely an estimated number of unknown cases of pencil accidents! Those pencils….dangerously sharp and not to underestimate and even the true reason for inventing the paper (and pencil) less office! :)

  2. Roddyp says:

    Reminds me of an entry in the "accident book" somewhere I used to work. A colleague managed to cut his finger on paper (or something similarly trivial) and had to fill in the book: In the "Treatment administered" column he wrote "Ate a pork pie".

    Not sure how well this travels across the Atlantic, though…

  3. Greg D says:

    I embedded pencil lead in my hand in the mid 90's!  I wonder if I should have visited the school nurse… My skin at that point retains an ever-so-slight discoloration to this day.

  4. 640k says:

    inner join NumberDescription on

  5. Joshua Ganes says:

    @Roddyp – Sorry… you ate your hat? :)

  6. William Aitken says:

    My personal favorite from the era you are discussing was "papercut in eye"

  7. John says:

    @Greg:  I've got pencil lead in my foot from around the same time frame, also still visible.

  8. Cynical in Canada says:

    The only time I ever got pencil lead under my skin was back in the days before mechanical pencils were commonplace.

    For the record, that requires impalement.

  9. Roddyp says:

    @Joshua Ganes: Not quite, and it wasn't me doing the eating :-)

  10. Leif says:

    I have had a peace from a pencil firmly embedded in my right middle finger since 1968. Still visible if you know where to look. No real suffering to report.

  11. pcooper says:

    Reminds me of reading the Police Log section of the campus newspaper at college. Mostly routine stuff, but some things were just clearly the most entertaining part of the paper.

  12. DonH says:

    I worked with Bruce (who got the papercut in the eye).  A manager flicked a sheet of paper across a table to him during a meeting and it caught air and flipped up just as it got to him.  The rest of us spent the next month involuntarily shielding our eyes while trying not to get queasy thinking about it.

  13. Eric says:

    I didn't realise so many people have pencil bits embedded in them, I thought I was pretty rare. It's in my left index finger and can still be seen 30 years later.

  14. Evan says:

    @Greg, @Eric: Yep, happened to me too. In fact, twice.

    Once in my left thumb when I was playing with my pencil during class reading time I think 19 years ago. (I'm not actually sure how it happened.) Once in the arch of my foot, I'm not sure when. (That was me being stupid. I stepped on a pencil tip, but that wasn't enough. I thought "I should get off of this" then "nah, I'll just be off it another step, and my weight is already on it, so if it was going to jab me, it would have already" and so just kept going… and kicked the back of the pencil with my other foot.)

  15. hahaha says:

    Pleasure at the expense of someone else's misfortune. Why put an end to that?

  16. Dave says:

    In the "Treatment administered" column he wrote "Ate a pork pie".

    He told a tall tale and then retracted it?

  17. Leon says:

    Interesting in the oil industry the nature of each accident is explicitly communicated to stand as a warning to others. In fact the building I work in has a tickertape accross the door that reads something like: "we have been x days since the last accident. on Y 2 people were killed by a rock pulveriser" etc.

    Obviously this type of warning might be more applicable in heavy industries than the Microsoft office but an employee developing carpal tunnel might serve as a warnign to others that have disconfort in their work place to have it fixed….

  18. Neil says:

    Presumably some faceless person decided that there was no point in reporting pencil lead injuries.

  19. Chris J says:

    @roddyp … a pork pie makes sense: paper cuts can be distressing, so indulging in one of Melton Mowbray's pork-based delights would provide suitable comfort :-)

  20. Klimax says:


    How many of you broke your feet while standing up from computer? And were home for two and half month due to bones being "shattered"?

  21. Sours says:

    Look around you… Look around you… Look around you! Have you worked out what we're looking for? That's right, Pencils!

  22. Alec Soroudi says:

    It’s all the stupid, blanket privacy laws. There’s a big difference between keeping an employee’s medical condition private and posting the idiotic thing someone did to get themselves hurt for everybody to mock. This is the era of embarrassment-discipline; parents don’t spank today’s kids to teach them a lesson anymore, instead they embarrass them in front of their friends, and it is no different at work. Unfortunately the privacy laws make it all too easy for dummies to slink away without punishment, uh, I mean a lesson.

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