|Today we bring you a bricklayer's
accident report that was printed in the newsletter of the English equivalent of the
Workers Compensations Board.
I am writing in response to your request for additional information on 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 that the following details will
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
them 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,
swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it.
Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow
descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note on my accident form that my weight is
135 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 3 of the accident
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 the
excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.
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, the barrel weighed
approximately 50 pounds. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of
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 onto 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 barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and
presence of mind and let go of the rope."
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