Needless to say, I went at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.I hope this didn't actually happen to anyone.
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 that 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 building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down the stairs by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which 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 down to the ground and 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 182 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 went at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was proceeding in a downward direction at an equally impressive rate of speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and broken collarbone, as listed in section 3 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 approximately the same time however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground! The bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 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, the severe laccerations of my legs and the lower body. Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow it 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 composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.
Dec 21, 1983