Safety Story from Structure Tone London’s Director of SHEQ Systems:
A friend of mine has worked in highway engineering for three decades and is a firm advocate of his company’s workplace safety culture. However, a few months ago, my friend sustained serious injuries, including a punctured and collapsed lung and nine broken ribs, after falling from a ladder.
He had been trimming back some bushes at his Cheshunt home when the ladder wobbled, and he decided to jump clear from it. In hindsight, he knows that wasn’t the right decision—it should have been a two-person job so someone could hold the ladder.
After two stays and 23 nights in the hospital, my friend recovered with the support of his family, friends, and colleagues. Now back at work, he preaches safety 24/7, not just in the workplace.
“People don’t think about the consequences an accident can have on you and your family,” he said. “This accident could have been avoided, and that will live with me forever.”
Safety at work is always a top priority, but this is a reminder to apply the same safety principles while taking on odd jobs at home as well.
A Home Safety Story from an LF Driscoll Project Manager:
I had just purchased a new chain saw and decided to cut a branch out of a tree that was growing a little crooked. To access the branch, I used a 40ft extension ladder and extended it to about 26ft. The ladder was leaning on a higher branch, close to the trunk of the tree. The tree was covered in poison ivy, so I was cutting out sections of the ivy on my way up.
With the new chain saw and blade, I knew it wouldn’t be too hard to cut through an 8-inch branch. I wanted to cut through quickly, so the branch would drop straight down. I climbed up about 18ft and started cutting.
My last memory was watching the branch fall.
Evidently, when the branch hit the ground, it bounced and hit the base of the ladder. I was thrown off and knocked unconscious. I landed on top my chain saw—thankfully, the blade landed flat—and the freshly-cut poison ivy. My 10-year-old daughter saw me fall and knew to call 911 immediately.
I had seven burst fractures in my vertebrae, a break in my hip and was covered in a rash from the poison ivy. I spent five days in the ICU. The doctors determined surgery wasn’t required and that the bones would need to heal on their own. I was confined to a bed for the next 12 weeks, but, all in all, my injuries should have been more severe. I am lucky to be alive.
Nearly three years later, I still experience pain and have scaled back my “weekend warrior” projects to smaller ones. I always thought I would be quick enough to catch myself if I fell. No matter what you think, gravity is quicker than your reaction time.