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This is a copy of a Bricklayers report, which was printed in the Newsletter of the New Zealand equivalent of the Workers Compensation Board. It is allegedly a true story.


Dear Sir,

I am writing in response to your request for ‘additional information’ as per block 3 of the accident report form. I put ‘Poor Planning’ as the cause of my accident and you have asked for a fuller account, I trust the following will explain.

I am a bricklayer by trade and on the day of the accident I was working alone on the roof of a new six-storey building. When I had completed my work I found that I had some bricks left over, which, when weighed later, were found to be slightly in excess of 500lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand a few at a time I decided to lower them in the barrel by using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building.

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 135lbs.

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 up the side of the building at a rapid rate. In the vicinity of the third floor I met the barrel, which was now proceeding downwards at an equally impressive speed.

This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and broken collarbone 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 the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approx. 50lbs, I refer you once again to my weight.

As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the 3rd floor I once again met the barrel, this time coming up, hence the two fractured ankles, 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’m sorry to report however, as I lay on the pile of bricks, in pain and unable to move I lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope. As I lay there I could watch the empty barrel begin its downward journey onto me. This explains the two broken legs.

I trust this answers your query.
 
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