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How Poor Planning Can Cause Accidents
Good Friday, dear readers. Today we bring you a bricklayer's accident report that was printed in the newsletter of the English equivalent of the Workmen's Compensation Board. So here, thanks to Friday-file John Sedgewick, is the Bricklayers accident report:
Dear Sir: I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully and I trust the following details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 Pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower then in a barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swing the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. When I went back to the ground I untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in Block #11 of the accident reporting form that my weight is 185 pounds.
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding in a downward direction at an equally impressive rate of speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section III of the accident reporting form. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in paragraph #2 of this correspondence.
Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.
At approximatedly the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground -- and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximatedly 50 pounds. I refer you again to my weight in Block #11.
As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth, and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.
Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.
I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the pile of bricks in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my presence of mind, and let go of the rope...
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