November 18, 2014

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

By Paul Bieber

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.