Possibly the funniest story in a long 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
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
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 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 135 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. 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
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 pain. 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 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.”
The story was much appreciated by some who responded with their comments, some of which were quite hilarious on their own merit. One from the irrepressible Conrad, particularly tickled my fancy which read as “That sounds kind of like your leap out the second floor window that caused your hip problems, lol!”
For those of you who do not know about the leap out of the window, both my hip joints have been replaced and revised a few times. The joke is that I fractured my hip joints by jumping out a second floor window. The cause for the leap was not a fire as most people would suspect but the husband coming home unexpectedly.