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Guest Rob and Clare

A Possible Darwin Award Winner

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    Guest Rob and Clare

    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


    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 fuIIer explanation and I trust the

    following details 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 slightty in excess of 500lbs .

    Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in

    a barrel by using a puIley, which was attached to the side of the

    building on the sixth floor.

    Securlng the rope at ground I went up to the roof, swungl 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

    135 Ibs .

    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 explained

    the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collar bone, as

    Listed in section 3 of the accident report form.

    Slowed only slightIy, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until

    the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the puIley.

    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


    At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the

    ground and the bottom feII out of the barreL. Now devoid of the

    weight of the bricks (that barrel weighed approximately 500lbs) I refer you again to my weight.

    As you can imagine, I began a rapid descent, down the side of the


    In the vicinity of the third fIoor, 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 fortunate]y 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 Iet go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin

    it's journey back down onto me. This explains the two broken legs.

    I hope this answers your inquiry.

    Kevin Roben

    Wagga Glass e Aluminium Pty Ltd

    PO Box 5004 (11 Dobney Ave)

    Wagga Wagga NSW 2550

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