OK…..I’ll just say it: I was not thinking (actually, I was being stupid). And the consequences? Three broken ribs and four to eight weeks of painful recovery.
We were so close to finishing the six-months-long job of readying my dad’s house for sale. Two thirty-cubic-yard dumpsters of trash, numerous estate sales, uncountable details dealt with, seventy-two years of household accumulations….the excitement was palpable. Then one last detail – clean the pine needles off the roof! Charge up the aluminum extension ladder, oops, foot slipped, kicked ladder out from underneath, falling, grab for the gutter, ah, can’t hold on, but at least kept myself from going inverted………bam! Full force impact on my left side from six to eight feet altitude. Hmm….don’t feel any pain…..move arms, legs….seem OK. Try to sit up…..waves of dizziness….heaviness in chest…chest feels like a rattling bag of bones, abdomen feels full……let’s go to the ER….
Legally, I did nothing wrong. No OSHA rules broken, because I was on my own free time. But this accident could have been prevented if I had practiced the principles of Total Worker Health, in this case, observing fall protection and ladder safety rules everywhere, not just at work. Now, my job is adversely affected by lower productivity and days off work. My home life is reduced to finding the least painful sitting/laying posture. And the doctor says this could last four to eight weeks! Not worth it!
Be careful out there….at work, at home, everywhere.
Please see these links to useful fall prevention information:
NIOSH-National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
Construction industry fall protection
Hotel, Restaurant, Kitchen Industry