The Mason's Trade


I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 3 of the Accident Reporting form. I indicated "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident. Your letter said I should explain more fully, and I trust the following details will be satisfactory. I am a brick layer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had approximately 500 lbs. of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the bricks into it. I proceeded back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow rate of descent of the 500 lbs. of bricks. You will note in Block 11 of the Accident Reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.

Due to my surprise at being lifted off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was proceeding in a downward direction at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured bones as listed in section III of the Accident Reporting form. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley, also mentioned in section III paragraph 2 of the same form.

Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold on to the rope in spite of the excruciating pain I was now experiencing.

At about the same time, however, the barrel hit the ground and the bottom fell out. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.

As you might well imagine, I began a rapid rate of descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, a broken tooth, and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report that, as I lay there on the pile of bricks in pain, unable to move and, seeing the barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind, and let go of the rope.