20 Times People Saw Someone Making A Grave Mistake At Work And Never Forgot It

Published 1 year ago

We’re human and as humans we tend to err. Recently a Reddit user posed the question, ‘what’s the worst mistake you’ve ever seen at your workplace?’ The responses abounded with tales of witnessing what sounds like the most atrociously grievous blunders in the workplace. We’ve gathered a selection of stories narrated by the online community for your perusal, below.

More info: Reddit

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Image source: Imaginary_Medium, Ksenia Chernaya

Saw a guy get zapped pretty bad when he stuck a tool in the wrong place on a big dryer at a hotel where I worked. We had asked him if he should cut the power first, and he said naww, don’t need to. For a moment after, we thought he was dead.


Image source: Heythere23856, Mathias Reding

A guy i worked with got fired from his 120k a year job because he was stealing juice from the stock room


Image source: GL1TCH3D, David Pupaza

Someone managed to CC the entire enterprise, consisting of 6 figures of employees.
Then the follow up idiots all hit reply all “I don’t think this is for me”
In a matter of minutes there’s were probably hundreds of millions of emails produced as a bunch of idiots piggy backed off the first idiot and hitting reply all.
Email Servers crashed and weren’t restored until the next day.
IT quickly fixed that too so people could only mass CC within their own department unless IT approved it.


Image source: BlackFeign, Andrea Piacquadio

A lady in our sales department sent a racial message bashing foreigners and how cheap they all are to another coworker using our company email…which tagged the entire company. The CEO is also foreign.


Image source: mookiewilson369, Christina Morillo

Guy I know was looking at porn on his laptop at home, battery died and he passed out. Gets up the next day, goes to work and is in a conference room with co workers, plugs in the laptop and opens it.. immediately the room fills with loud gagging noises, he slams it shut.. and the noise goes on for like 10 more seconds. Left the job a week later.


Image source: Due-Aioli-6641, Arlington Research

One time a member of my dev team was given a task to cancel a few credit cards (less than 10) directly in the database.

They cancelled 17 million, the mistake was only caught when the company helpline started to receive millions of calls the next day from all over the country with people asking why their cards were not working.


Oh, another one.

Worked at a large casino in a large tourist city.

The penthouse garden was being redone, and the gardener has put tarpaulins down to protect the tiles. A storm rolled through, and the tarps were blocking the drains, so the garden flooded, back into the penthouse, down the lift shaft, and into the restaurant I worked. Chaos.

2 years later, I’m working in a different hotel, same city. The restaurant had a fountain in it. I come in to open up one morning, and the restaurant is flooded. Gardener has turned on the fountain tap to refill and forgot to turn it off.

It was the same gardener.

Image source: DamnIGottaJustSay


In the ER, Doctor wrote down an order for 15mg IM of Toradol (anti-inflammatory pain killer) and the nurse I was training misread and started to draw up 15mg of Haldol (anti-psychotic). That’s triple the standard dose for Haldol. This was for a patient with abdominal pain. The nurse I was training didn’t question it at all. This wasn’t a newly graduated nurse mind, just new to my department.

Yes, I stopped her before she gave the med. No, she did not continue to work in the ER.

Image source: RadiantBondsmith


Years ago, about 8 or 9yeara ago. A nurse give an adult dose injection of a med to a 4 month old in the Emergency room. I even called him out on it and said, “…check that medicine before you administer, I think that’s the wrong one.”

He killed the kid.

Destroyed the family. Obviously lost his license. Devastated the hospital system with huge lawsuit payout. Made us all look incompetent.

F*****g cocky idiot. I hope it ruined his life and haunts him forever to the point he can’t function or ever have a normal life.

Image source: Penguin-Loves


Image source: idontcare4205, CDC

Taught preschool for 8 years before the pandemic. It’s protocol to count the children before moving from one room to another to make sure no one gets left behind. Had a coworker on her phone, didn’t count kids, and had left behind a child in the toy closet. Kid was 2 years old and trapped, screaming and crying in a dark toy closet for 20 minutes before a teacher passing by the empty classroom heard her.
My coworker didn’t even get a slap on the wrist and management never told parents.

This same coworker forced her class of 2 year olds to “get dressed themselves” for outside play in the winter so one time a little girl ended up playing outside in the Minnesota snow without boots on for ten minutes before my coworker noticed.


A local dealership was promoting a contest where they would give away a truck. I was driving around with my parents who were visiting from out of state when we hear the commercial for the give away on the radio. The drawing was in about 15 minutes, and we were right there, so we stopped in and put our names in the collection bin.

I watched them take the bin upstairs out of sight of the crowd. They had clearly selected the winner in the back room and announced that if the winner was not present, they will contact them for the winnings.

So they chose a winner ….that was clearly from out of state. But what they didn’t realize, was that it was my mom visiting for the weekend.

She walks right up to the announcer, showed her license, and said, I’m so happy I won the truck! The look on their faces was priceless!

For the next couple of weeks, the dealership tried everything to not give us the truck, It was clear that they had no idea how to even give away the truck.

But we prevailed. And I’m happy to say it we loved the truck!

Image source: SuitableHope7813


Image source: captainp42, Mark Doliner

Working at a car dealership. Last deal of the night, after closing time. Our check verification system was down and the customer has a personal check for $50,000 USD. Manager said to take the check because he wanted to go home. Finance guy took the check. Customer left with a new car.

Check bounced. Customer didn’t return calls. Dealership went to his listed address, it was an abandoned house. They called his listed employer, they claimed to have never heard of him.

“Just take it so we can go home” cost them $50k


Image source: Accomplished_Wolf400, Pixabay

Update: The biggest question is “Where/what company is this?” This was over 22 years ago in Asia. I apologize for not remembering the name, but they went under shortly after.

Plant manager let the safety guy go because they didn’t believe safety was a full time job and wanted to cut back on company spending and decided the supervisors could do all the safety audits, training, keep the building up to code.

Not even a week later 2 guys got their arms cut off working on a machine that they weren’t trained/certified on and the back building caught fire due to pallets and cardboard boxes being stacked in the wrong area near the furnace.


Image source: PugsandTacos, NATO Training Mission-Afg

Forget they had cocaine in their pocket while crossing a border. This led the Austrian border and customs police to open up about 100 cans of exposed film stock that was in the van the guy was driving… film stock from a very expensive film shoot the week before.

The result was second unit had to go back and reshoot an entire action set piece for the film. Line Producer told me the mistake cost about 5 million euros.


Watched an HP repair rep delete about 50 terrabytes of company data by not listening.


HP comes out to replace a hard drive that is on the fritz. This hard drive is 1 of many. All of these hard drives are bundled together in what is called a RAID Array. This combines the drives into one massive drive for data storage. The array has redundancy so it can afford to lose a drive or two. If too many drives die, the redundancy is gone and your data is lost/corrupted.

HP guy comes in calls us.

Us: Ok pull drive 14, it should be blinking yellow and the rest should have a green light.

*HP guy pulls wrong drive

Us: Ok we saw drive 9 go offline. Put that back. We need to wait for the RAID to rebuild. If you pull the wrong one again the RAID will fail.

*HP guy does not wait, and pulls another drive

US: Uh the whole RAID went offline, did you see what happened?

*HP guys leaves both drives on the front desk and leaves.

Turns out the lights on the device were not on….easy fix, there is a setting in the device to turn them off or on. Rather than telling us he didn’t know which drive was which, he just pulled at random and ruined the entire companies data. We had to restore from many many old backups.

Image source: gummby8


Image source: omnichronos

I’m a healthy human subject for medical research studies. I did a study with special dietary restriction groups of zero carbs, no carbs, and a regular diet. I was in the zero-carb group and our breakfast consisted of a large stack of Canadian bacon and a drink. I read on the side of the can that it had 18 grams of carbs. I mentioned this to the doctor in charge and he said, “Well, umm, it’s hard to get zero carbs.” I thought to myself, “In a drink? No, it’s not!”

Three days later they realized that I was right and they had to stop our study and send us home. The doctor had been in charge of the clinic but I noticed he was no longer in charge when I was invited back to the next cohort of the same study. So instead of earning $7,000, I earned $4000 initially and $7,000 for a total of $11,000. So his mistake earned me more money.


Make a $30,000 art mistake. Misspelled text on a tee shirt that was produced for costco and the spelling error was only realized after 15k shirts were made. Really the opportunity cost probably bumped that up to about $60,000 since the shirts couldnt be remade in time.

It was me about 10 years ago.

Edit: about 3 months after this i got a promotion to mid management. The handling of this error probably caused this. I owned up to it and took full responsibility. A mistake of this magnitude is a humbling thing. To this day i wont hire or promote someone into a high level leadership role unless theyve made a big a*s humbling mistake at some point, and owned it.

Image source: sooprvylyn


A nurse friend told me a colleague hadn’t been checking the PH aspirate from a baby’s Nasogastric tube (meant to do before every tube feed to make sure it’s positioned correctly etc) baby ended up passing away because the tube had actually been passed into the lungs not the stomach due to an unknown cut being made during intubation the baby had previously had.So she had been feeding the milk into the lungs and essentially drowned the baby.

Image source: MelissaHunt95


There was a company in rural New York in the late 1960’s that took scrap metal, melted it down in big coal-fired crucibles and made home decor pieces – doorstops that looked like little dogs, bookends, that kind of thing. Not a huge profit margin but their materials were cheap and they had a steady market.

An industrial consultant convinced them to transition to electric furnaces – significant up front expense, but much lower ongoing operating costs. The consultant even designed the new electric crucibles for the company.

The company president had been thinking of expanding operations, so asked the industrial consultant to double the size of the electric crucible designs. The consultant did so, but made a mistake with the cube-square law in designing the supports for the crucibles.

The first time the double-sized (but about four times as heavy) crucibles were filled with scrap and fired up they collapsed, flooding the factory floor with molten pot metal and chunks of wrecked equipment. The company went straight to bankruptcy.

Image source: firelock_ny




Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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costly mistakes, grave mistake, human error, job, witness, workplace
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