Possibly the funniest story in a while. This is a bricklayer's accident report,
which was printed in the newsletter of the Australian equivalent of the
Workers' Compensation board. This is a true story. Had this guy died, he'd
have received a Darwin Award for sure....
I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block
3 of the accident report form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my
accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details
will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer 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 found
that I had some bricks left over which, when weighed later were found to
be slightly in excess of 500 lbs.
Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a
barrel by using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building on
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. Then I went down and
untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the bricks.
You will note in Block 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 175lbs.
Due to my surprise at being jerked 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 rapid rate up the side o! the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding
downward at an equal, impressive speed. This explained the fractured
skull, minor abrasions and the broken collar bone, as listed in section 3 of
the accident report 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.
Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able
to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of beginning to experience a great deal
At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the
ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight
the bricks, that barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs. I refer you again to my
As you can imagine, I began a rapid 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, broken tooth and several 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, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain
unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let
go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey
back down onto me. This explains the two broken legs.
I hope this answers your inquiry.