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INJURY OF THE MONTH

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Imagine a cold winter’s morning around 7.00am, you’ve just started work, there’s 2 hours before coffee and you give your left thumb a little tap with a 24 ounce Estwing. Now you’re fully awake!

We have all had injuries on a work site, some more serious than others. By letting others know of our experiences, hopefully they take note, and avoid making similar mistakes.

If you would like to contribute your story, send an email to trev@mybuildingsite.com.au . You may remain anonymous, just let me know. If we post your story on this page, you will have the gratitude of anyone who reads your story and avoids a similar fate! Others may wish to offer suggestions on what they might have done differently.

I’ll start the ball rolling with my own experience.

Quite a few years ago, I was building a new two storey brick and concrete cottage at The Spit in Sydney. It was just after 3.00 pm. The brickies had packed up and driven down the street to turn their ute around. I was wearing gum boots as we had poured concrete earlier in the day. I should have changed my boots but I was too busy (that was my first mistake). The site ‘phone rang and I hurried to answer it (second mistake). To get to the ‘phone on the second floor I stepped over a gap from the garden to a door opening. Outside the door opening we had FL62 mesh set up to pour a suspended landing slab. As I jumped the gap (third mistake), my boots got stuck in the mesh. I desperately tried to grab the metal door frame but couldn’t. With both feet locked in the mesh, I fell backwards across a small garden rockery. I broke three ribs. The wind was knocked out of me and somehow I crawled out of the garden and rolled on the ground. I was alone on the site. But, remember the brickies? As they drove past the site (having turned their ute around) they spotted me rolling on the ground trying to breath. They used the ‘phone I never got to answer, and called my wife and an ambulance.

I was very lucky. When I fell, my head missed a jackhammer point, left lying in the garden by inches (fourth mistake). If the brickies hadn’t come by, I could have been in more trouble.

Recommendations

  • Don’t work alone.
  • Don’t wear gumboots unless you’re standing in wet ‘crete.
  • Don’t jump across gaps, build a ramp and fix handrails.
  • Don’t leave “sharps” lying around.
  • Carry your mobile ‘phone on you, don’t leave it out of reach.

I hope this helps someone else.

Stay Safe,
Cheers Trev.