Although modern safety equipment and protocols have made workplaces less hazardous across the United States, construction continues to be among the most dangerous and deadly professions around. On a construction site, safety cannot be taken for granted. The stakes are too high, and even simple errors can be fatal.
Although it did not occur here in California, a recent construction accident is a reminder for workers everywhere of the importance of following basic safety rules. One worker’s minor slip-up coupled with another worker’s failure to wear a hard hat proved to be a deadly combination.
According to news sources, the accident occurred at a high-rise condo under construction in New Jersey. A construction worker stationed 50 stories off the ground accidentally dropped his one-pound tape measure while trying to remove it from his belt.
At the same time, a worker on the ground was unloading drywall from a truck. He had a hard hat with him but had left it in his vehicle. The tape measure fell some 500 feet, and would have been traveling at about 140 miles per hour when it neared the ground. It first struck a piece of metal about 10 feet off the ground, then ricocheted and struck the construction worker in the head. He died a short time later at the hospital.
The tape measure could have ended up simply hitting the ground. The construction worker at the base of the building could have remembered to put on his hard hat. The confluence of these factors seems improbable at best. But this is why safety protocols exist at construction sites. Because serious injuries and fatalities are always a possibility, nothing should be taken for granted.
Source: New York Post, “Tape measure falls 50 stories, killing worker,” Dana Sauchelli, Leonica Valentine and Danika Fears, Nov. 3, 2014