Amongst the different versions of this song (Known by various names including "The Chemical Worker's Song", "Process Man" and "The ICI Song") that are floating around, there seem to be two variations of the second verse.
Well I've worked among the spitters and I've breathed the oily smoke
Well I've worked among the spinners and I've breathed the oily smoke
What could be the meaning of the word spitters? Is it just a mangling of the lyrics, or is it an antiquated term for some kind of occupation or machinery?
I doubt it would mean "people who spit".
I have a feeling spitters might be propagated from a transcription error in the Great Big Sea recording, in which it is very difficult to distinguish the sound as n or t, (they may even be singing "spitters"). But I was curious to know if it was a variation that had some other legitimate meaning.