This is an accident report, which was printed in the newsletter of the
British equivalent of the Workers' Compensation Board, several years ago.
This is the brick layer's report, a true story. Had this guy died, he'd have walked
away with a Darwin Award for sure!


Dear Sir:

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
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, I
decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which was 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. 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 my weight is 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 at a rapid rate up the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now
proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the
fractured skull, minor abrasions and the 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 of bricks hit the ground
and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the
bricks, that barrel weighed approximately 50lbs. I refer you again to my
weight. As you might 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 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,
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 onto me. This
explains the two broken legs.