BRICKLAYER'S ACCIDENT REPORT
This was printed in the newsletter of the Australian equivalent of the Workers' Compensation board.
I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block
3 of the accident report form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You
asked for a fuller explanation 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 found that I had some
bricks left over which, when weighed later were found to be slightly in excess of
500 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a
barrel by using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building on the
Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the
barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it
tightly to ensure a slow descent of the bricks. You will note in Block 11 of the accident
report form that I weigh 175 lbs. 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 rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor,
I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally, impressive speed. This
explained the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collar bone, as listed in
section 3 of the accident report 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. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold
tightly to the rope, in spite of beginning to experience a great deal of pain. At
approximately 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, that barrel weighed
approximately 50 lbs. I refer you again to my weight. As you can 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
several 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, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move, I
again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope and I lay there
watching the empty barrel begin its journey back down onto me. This explains the two
broken legs. I hope this answers your inquiry.
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