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Surviving falls

Art_B's picture

Surviving falls (post #165737)

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Got into a discussion at work with a man who slid off a grain elevator in South Dakota (had unclipped harness to turn around)and fell from consecutive roofs 150 feet, luckily the final 20 foot fall was into a waiting grain truck, he had no injuries other than bruises. My own maternal grandfather (1926) died in a ladder fall, so this is not a "joke" post. I've never fallen, but have had 150+ stitches once after being mauled by a saw.
Lessons learned stories are often the best, any good ones out there on falls or other lessons learned?

(post #165737, reply #2 of 56)

Art, 150 stitches is way too many for a good story.


Joe H

(post #165737, reply #3 of 56)

Maybe the construction industry needs an annual book like "Accidents in North American Mountaineering." Its lets you know why there are rules and what happens when you violate them.

Here is good, non-published, mountaineering accident. On the West Crater rim route on Mt Hood, a woman in the climbing party decides she "has to go." The rope leader says OK, and they stop along the ridge, which is a 1000 ft 45 degree slide into the crater on one side, and a 3000 ft 45 degree slide down the Sandy Glacier on the other. The other three people on the rope turn to give her privacy. Instead of undoing the leg loops of her harness, she undoes the belt. With her snow pants pulled down to mid thigh, she loses her footing and goes backwards down the 3000 ft slope, filling her pants and nether regions with snow. Fortunately, the leg loops catch on her boots and the other three people are able to pull her back up. My buddy was really To'd at her for being so careless. It has been 10 years and he still talks about it like it was yesterday. I guess the idea of returning to base camp with just an open harness tied to the rope got to him. I hear there is alot of paperwork.

(post #165737, reply #4 of 56)

I was watching a documentary on an American Everest Expediation and by the change in tone and music, something bad was about to happen.

I had taken a class from Marty Howe and she was hoping to be the first American women on top without oxygen. She died on that trip. Apparently slipped from her harness for not having doubled back the strap through the buckle. Something that is automatic even for me. But hypoxia at 25,000 feet effecs your brain more than anything else.

David Thomas   Overlooking Cook Inlet in Kenai, Alaska

David Thomas   Overlooking Cook Inlet in Kenai, Alaska

(post #165737, reply #5 of 56)

When I was in the National Guard about 30 years ago, another young fellow showed up for a meeting with a perfect square of scabs framing his face.

Seems they were starting to build a high deck on the back of a house with a steep lot.

I don't know if the ladder sliped or he just fell off, but he did a face-plant in the opening of a cinder block.

Had it been me I probably would have lost all of my teeth. How would you react while flying through the ai, knowing you are about to make a face-plant into then end of a block. Yiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii crack crash ching petuie.

(post #165737, reply #6 of 56)

When we set a deck we always put guard rails at edge of building and all openings(windows, stair openings,doors,elevators,ETC)

Well the brickies removed the guard rails on one job and well you can guess...............34yr old bricklayer went down 4 stories,didn't survive.Father of 2.

Sad and stupid.Fall protection is #1 in my book on the job site AND AT HOME!

Please be safe!

(post #165737, reply #51 of 56)

It's not the falls so much that scare me, it's the sudden stop at the end!


 


 


 


Quality Craftmenship at prices nobody can afford

(post #165737, reply #7 of 56)

Pulled up to a womans house many many years ago to pressure clean her roof. Before I could get out of the truck she ran up and stuck her head in my window and said, " You aren't going to fall off my roof are you?" It made me furious and I should have just left. Naturally I didn't but I did tell her that I had been walking roofs and building houses for many years and never even had a close call. Anyway, I started on the edge of the back of the house walking backward to the flat decked porch. Assuming I was next to the porch I stepped over to stand on it and of course it wasn't there. I did a lovely half flip and landed on on my neck and shoulder. To really make it better I fell past the window that she was looking out of. I spent the next month in a recliner taking pain pills and dreading having to get up to go to the toilet. 30 years later I still have pain in my right shoulder and can't hold my right arm over my head more than a few seconds. I wear a safety harness on the bottom step of step ladders now.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 45 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

(post #165737, reply #8 of 56)

how'd I ever miss this thread firsty time around? I could double the number of posts here all alone.

Rode two or three ladders down...

Had wind flip me over an eaved while I was leaning over to...and I landed on the rose bushes to break my fall

Found out how fast ice crystals can make you airbourne on even a low pitch roof

Know what it feels like to have roof jacks cut loose from the decking when you are 26' up there...

Watched other guys go off, ride ladders, and slide down a 28/12 pitch while bouncing over toe boards...

Gawd! I think I'm gonna go crawl inna hole somewhere's and pull a rock in over me.

Speaking of rocks, I know this guy...and when he landed on that big old rock, he broke both heels to land him on his butt in the chair for three months!

 

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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #165737, reply #9 of 56)

Get yur feet going down first and prepare to do a PLF... Works...


Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!!   What a Ride!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #165737, reply #10 of 56)

so does a harness - now that I know better.

 

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Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #165737, reply #11 of 56)

Geez Piffin, I've taken some tumbles myself and have gotten back on the horse..er roof.... a whole lot wiser.... and if construction workers and cats share the same number of lives...I still have a few left.


You, on the other hand, Sir, may be slightly overdrawn.

 

(post #165737, reply #12 of 56)

That's why I try to spend as much time on design and management as on the job!

Not that I couldn't fall off the task chair...

 

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Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #165737, reply #13 of 56)

Want to know what is the most common injury I have seen?

When you fall, it is instinctive to throw your hand out to reach and grab for something, or to extend it out in front of you to break the fall.

So I have witnessed five broken wrists - none of them mine.

 

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Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #165737, reply #14 of 56)

"When you fall, it is instinctive to throw your hand out to reach and grab for something,"


That explains why my hands were still extended over my head...clawing for the roof when I landed........ ;~°

 

(post #165737, reply #15 of 56)

As I watched one guy slide off over the edge, I remember making a half-hearted reach in his direction that, knowing I could not possibly reach him, was more of a a wave goodbye than a grab at his arm.

I remember saying, "Oh Shiiiiit!" as his head disappeared from view.

He survived with only the broken wrist from landing on it.

Funny thing - he was pretty religious in some ways, so about a week later, he asked me - "You know when I fell off the roof the other day? Did I say anything...."

he was soooo relieved to know that he had not come close to meeting his maker with a dirty word on his lips, and that is was me instead.

 

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Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #165737, reply #16 of 56)

You know, it doesn't suprise me that he had to ask if he said anything.


Years ago I raced motocross (definately not pro) and had my share of crashes. I always managed to save myself from great injury because of the adrenaline effect....everything had the appearance of happening in slow motion. I can remember every detail...the spokes turning....pulling my hand away....tucking my shoulder in so I would roll...the edge of my helmet grinding my cheek into my teeth...


But the construction falls were over in an instant, no life flashing before my eyes, no slow motion...BANG!......wha happened??? Which is a pretty normal response for alot of people involved in a construction accident...they aren't sure what happened...until they're told.

 

(post #165737, reply #17 of 56)

Isnt that the truth?


 


By the time you realise something has happened............its all over.


 


I once had a circular saw back up over my thumb. Stood still for a moment wondering if what I had just seen happen really did happen.


Yup


Then put the thing down and reached for a shirt to stop the bleeding. Still couldnt work out exactly HOW.


I think falls are worse. They scare me way more. Maybe cos on the way down there is enough time to expect the crunch. makes me feel weird thinking about it........


 


Everything, 100% of it, depends on how you look at it.


DW

 

Not an exponent of the DILLIGAF system.

(post #165737, reply #20 of 56)

Back in the early 70s' we were putting a shake roof on a big clubhouse. I was going through a divorce, that was really tearing me up. My stomach was trying to eat its way out, and the gas was awful. Well I let this silent, shall we say toot. Another guy was running another course close behind me. When it hit him he reacted by screaming and spinning around and bolted about six feet to the edge. I thought he was gone. but he managed to one of those hovering hummingbird motions with his arms. I thought he was gone, then I thought it was funny. He wanted to kill me.

A few weeks later we were finishing out the underside of these 10' eves directly under that same spot, and he fell off of the scaffolding from about 25' and landed on his back. It ruptured his spleen or kidney, but lived. Kinda made me wonder if there was this little spot of earth that had his name on it. I guess we all want to leave our mark on this earth, just not that way.

I was just wondering if I had let a fart that actually killed him, could his wife sue me? And could I deflect that to my X. It was all her fault.

(post #165737, reply #34 of 56)

on the way down there is enough time to expect the crunch


If my memory serves correct, the rate of fall is 27 ft/sec/sec.


So a 3 story fall would take about a second, a 9 story fall 2 seconds and 3 seconds would be a 16 story fall.


Or another way, 1st second 27 ft, 2nd second 54 ft, 3rd second 81 ft., total 162 ft


Not much time to think, or react.


81 ft/sec = approx 55 mph, I thought it would be faster.

 

(post #165737, reply #40 of 56)

By the International Gravity Formula, g = 978.0495 [1 + 0.0052892 sin2(p) - 0.0000073 sin2 (2p)] centimeters per second squared at sea level at latitude p.

The standard value of gravity, or normal gravity, g, is defined as go=980.665 centimeters per second squared, or 32.1741 feet per second squared. This value corresponds closely to the International Gravity Formula value of g at 45° latitude at sea level.

32.2 ft/sec/sec is generally considered "close enough for government work" and 32 ft/sec/sec is used for rough calculations.

.

Phill Giles

The Unionville Woodwright

Unionville, Ontario

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Phill Giles

The Unionville Woodwright

(post #165737, reply #41 of 56)

Thanks for the correction Phil, I was relying on a slightly blurred memory of high school physics. 32 ft/sec/sec it is.


The thing I did remember correctly was the conversion of ft/sec to mph


(ft/sec) ÷ (ft/ mile) X 3600 = speed in mph


32 ft/sec  Ã·   5280  X  3600  = 21.8 mph 


so a 32' fall would result in hitting the ground in 1 second at approx 22mph


a  96' fall would take 2 seconds and hit the ground at approx 44mph


then it starts getting crazy...... 192' fall 3 seconds 130 mph and put into the ambulance with a shovel.

 

(post #165737, reply #42 of 56)

Damn I wish I hadn't read this thread just now. I was going to go do some work on the roof today. But that would just be tempting fate.

However, several years ago I was leaving the house early in the morning for my first skydiving jump. As I opened the front door a black cat came out of nowhere and ran literally over my feet. I am not at all superstitious but it really freaked me out.

Obviously I survived the jump or I wouldn't be telling the story.

(post #165737, reply #45 of 56)

Reminds me of the end of A Clockwork Orange.

"But I did not snuff it, because I wouldn't be here to tell this story."

(post #165737, reply #47 of 56)

"Obviously I survived the jump or I wouldn't be telling the story."


You know, walking in front of a skydiver is one of the unluckiest things a black cat can do...... probably didn't last the day....

 

(post #165737, reply #52 of 56)

Actually Phil, I think when you refer to 32 ft per second squared, you're talking about acceleration.  Velocity is 32 feet per second, not squared.  Acceleration is the rate of change ... positive values means the acceleration is increasing (speeding up) and negative values means the acceleration is decreasing (slowing down).


 


Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell'em "Certainly, I can!"  Then get busy and find out how to do it.  T. Roosevelt

I'm sorry, I thought you wanted it done the right way.

(post #165737, reply #53 of 56)

Yes, when you fall, you don't fall at a constant speed, you accelerate from zero ft/sec at the start of your fall and accelerate at the nominal rate of 32.2 ft/sec/sec. A 32' fall takes longer than 1 second.

.

Phill Giles

The Unionville Woodwright

Unionville, Ontario

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Phill Giles

The Unionville Woodwright

(post #165737, reply #19 of 56)

I've experienced that suspension of time and the memory lapses both.

The one where I stepped into ice crystals and found out how fast one can slide off, was a slow motion thing for part of it, and another part went so fast there is no mwemory whatsoever. The edge was about 14' up from ground.

As I came off the edge of the roof still in vertical position, I dropped my broom and watched it go to the ground first, where it seemed to stand up like a fence post while I hovered above it, aimed at a spot between my legs.

As I started my descent, I thought, "Oh Boy! This is going to hurt"

The next thing I knew, I was laying on my back with the wind knocked out of me and people asking if I was OK. Apparently, I had managed to use my toes to flick the broom aside, but that left me with my landing gear in the wrong position, so they slid out from under me on the snowpack, and my back slammed into the fender of my truck as I went over hard enough to knock me out and leave me windless.

I remember the first part of the fall clearly and nothing from the final

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #165737, reply #21 of 56)

Sometimes you guys scare the #### out of me.

 

 

(post #165737, reply #22 of 56)

""Oh Boy! This is going to hurt""

I've had that same thought flash through my mind once or twice just before an impact.


The best fall story I've heard was from some guys I used to work with. They said they were re-roofing a 2 story house. On the crew was a new kid - Something like 19 years old.

The newbie stepped on something loose and promptly slid off the edge of the roof.

The other guys went over to the edge of the roof, expecting the worst. But to their surprise, they see the kid climbing back up the ladder.

Apparently he slipped off the roof feet first. He landed on a bay roof below, and slid off that too. Then he landed in a bush below, which broke his fall.



Men love the idea that they'll meet a nurse who'll be filthy and up for 3-in-a-bed romps. [ Abi Titmuss]

(post #165737, reply #26 of 56)

2 questions I always asked prospective laborers - "Do you have a drivers' license?" and "Are you afraid of heights?"  One guy answered yes to both questions, only it turned out he WAS afraid of heights.


Kept it to himself so much that I didn't notice anything unusual.  He was a little slower when we got up high on a chimney, but that wasn't out of the ordinary.  One day I'm working along about 3 or 4 scaffolds high.  We've got a ladder on the outside for small trips to be run up.  As I turn back toward the mudboard I see him looking at me kind of funny, then his eyes rolled back in his head and he pitched backwards off the ladder. 


Landed on his back in between a bunch of basketball-sized rocks.  Knocked him out.  Got the rescue squad there who took him in to the hospital.  He was fine, but that afternoon at the hospital was one of my longest.  It was only then that he admitted being afraid of heights.


Kept him on, but on the ground, till he found something else.