A ham radio operator is sitting at his
desk answering a letter from his insurance company.
I am writing in response to your request
for additional information for Block #3 on the accident reporting form. I put 'poor
planning' as the cause of the accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more
fully and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.
I am an amateur radio operator and was
working on the top section of my new 80 foot tower. When I had completed my work, I
discovered that I had brought up about 300 lbs. of tools and spare hardware.
Rather than carry the materials down by
hand, I decided to lower the items using a pulley which fortunately was attached to the
gin pole at the top of the tower.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went
to the top of the tower and loaded the tools into a small barrel. Then I went back to the
ground and untied the rope, holding tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 300 lbs. of
You will note in section 11 of the
accident report that I weigh 155 lbs. 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. I proceeded at a
rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower.
In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I
met the barrel coming down. This explains my fractured skull and broken collar bone.
Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my
right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.
I regained my presence of mind and was
able to hold on to the rope in spite of my pain. At the same time however, the barrel of
tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel.
Devoid of the weight of the tools, the
barrel now weighed approximately 20 lbs. I refer you again to my weight in section 11.
As you might imagine, I began a rapid
descent down the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel
coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations on my legs and
The encounter with the barrel slowed me
enough to lessen my injuries when I fell on to the pile of tools, so only three vertebrae
were cracked. However, I am sorry to report that as I lay on the tools in pain, unable to
stand and watch the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind and
let go of the rope ...