Yes, He Was Killed By A Dropped 25’ Tape Measure

Two weeks ago, a real tragedy occurred in Jersey City, N.J., on the Hudson River just across from Manhattan. A gentleman, Gary Anderson, described as a local construction worker, was delivering wallboard to the construction site of a 52-story building. It appears he drove into the site on his truck, and then walked around talking to a few people, maybe getting ready for his slot at the elevator. We don’t know for sure.

A worker on the 50th floor took out his 25-foot tape measure to check an opening for a window. It slipped out of his hand, heading to the ground. About 15 feet from the ground, the tape hit a piece of metal jutting out from the building, changed course slightly and hit Mr. Anderson in the head. He died an hour later at the hospital.

Mr. Anderson did not have his hard hat on. There were plenty of signs saying this was a hard hat area. Mr. Anderson had been on many job sites, so my guess is that he knew the rules about hard hats.

I am not writing this to assign any blame. OSHA will do that. I am not even sure if Mr. Anderson had his hard hat on that his death would have been prevented.

Since you have read this so far, you already know what to do, but just in case:

  • Place a copy of this blog by your time clock.
  • Put a copy in every employee’s check who works in a hazardous area.
  • If you see an employee of your company without a hard hat, gently remind him to wear his hat; on the second observation of no hard hat, remind him again, but leave out the gently portion; for the third incident, give him a day-or-two off work to think of the consequences of not adhering to your rules; on the fourth incident, wish him good luck looking for a job.

‘Nuff said.

Plan B

“Plan A” is to go about your business: sell and install glass and metal, pay your troops every Friday and hope there is something left for you. But what happens when a piece of your Plan A is disrupted? AHA! That is “Plan B.” Are you ready for that disruption? It is going to happen at some time in your business. This I can guarantee. Yesterday, my laptop toasted itself, and my backup is to use my wife’s computer. An easy solution.

Your office person will need just a couple of hours of research to create an “Emergency Book” that you and all of supervisors and foremen should have at home. This list contains the names and phone numbers of your Plan B partners, the folks you need to call who can help you with the unplanned emergency. Here’s a list of who that may be:

  • Local police
  • State police
  • Local fire department
  • Local ambulance
  • Plumber, sprinkler repair
  • Electric utility
  • Electrician
  • Natural gas utility
  • Gas fitter/plumber
  • Computer back up
  • Landline phone company
  • Cell phone company
  • Insurance agent
  • Lawyer(s)
  • Alarm central station
  • Payroll service
  • Bank/Banker
  • Accountant
  • Taxi/car service
  • FedEx/UPS and account number
  • Tow truck
  • Trash hauler
  • Landlord
  • Neighboring businesses
  • Fire/flood remediation firms
  • Office building cleaners
  • Generator rental/service
  • Hazardous material clean up
  • Poison control center
  • Counseling professionals to help employees
  • Companies that provide day workers
  • Construction contractor
  • Demolition contractor
  • Water pump rental
  • Fire sprinkler repair
  • Forklift/crane rental

Try to get the first person you would call and then add one or two extra names, in case you need to go to Plan C. This is really not overwhelming. Use your computer search engine or your local yellow pages. There is no need to call each person now if it appears they can do the job. In fact, you will know most of these people, anyway. The key to managing Plan B is to have this information readily available for you and your staff at home, or on your cell phone memory.

Need to go now; Elaine needs to send an email.