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July 26 1975 I fell 45 off a power pole. Long story.



I'm a retired Power Company Lineman.36 years on the job.
My title for the last 30 years was "Senior Distribution Operations Technician" or D.O.T. Specialist!

On that day in July We had been building a new 3 transformer power bank and we had just returned from a lunch break and I was going back up to frame out the pole.

My hooks cutout at the top of a 65 foot tall pole. Chest hit pole on way down and took some long splinters on the way down.
My shirt shredded!
One splinter went in under my left nipple and came out the top of my shoulder.

Going too fast to bear hug the pole, so I let it slide through my gloves to keep upright, and prepared to hit the ground like a paratrooper. When I relaxed my legs for impact and bent my back a little and relaxed, my left foot hooked back into the pole 3 feet above the hard ground. My left foot hit me in the face and broke both bones in my left leg starting above the ankle and corkscrew broke up to the calf.
Then my butt hit the ground at about 100 mph. My pelvis broke in 3 places. And my back broke three vertebrae.

Kinda of in shock and embarrassed as hell about falling I tried to get up and go back up.
I grabbed the pole and stood up thinking I was OK and I was going to go back up to finish my work. Something went snap crunch when I lifted my left leg to drive my left foots hook (pole climber spikes strapped to feet & legs) back into the pole. I looked down and my knee was normal in position but my foot was pointed backwards.

I let go of the pole and sat down, then laid down because sitting hurt too much.. Foreman comes running over and asked if I was hurt. I said "I broke my leg", rather after of factly. His response was "Are you sure?"

I said "Look at it, it's definitely broke". ( my toes were pointing toward my right foot while my knee was pointed to the left.

Ambulance ride was short. X RAY tech got pissed at me because I couldn't hold my foot in a pointed up position while he was taking pictures behind the screen. My foot kept falling over. So I pointed out to the idiot that my leg was broken and I had no control of the foot. He finally got a nurse to come in and hold my foot while he shot the xray.

Good ER Dr set the leg by having me sit up on bed and have an orderly pull down on my foot while he pushed the bones back together and plastered it. That hurt.

Then they figured out my back was broken and put me in a body cast and traction. My broken pelvis never got addressed. Guess it had popped back together close enough when they shot my back they couldn't tell it was broke into 2 pieces.

It grew with back together misaligned. ( Didn't see how bad it was until 2017 when they took an MRI for my kidney cancer.)

My left leg is 3/4 of an inch shorter than my right. And my foot is on a little crooked, as in, pointed to the left a little. I still have some back problems from time to time. It's a wonder I didn't end up in a wheelchair on that one.

I went back to climbing pole after the Dr released me to go back to work 2 years later. Took me a year and a half to learn how to walk without assistance again.

Fell several times in my 36 year career and broke ribs and a hand. Got burned a few times too! (Nothing serious TG)
But that first one was a doozey.

I climbed my last pole 2 weeks before I retired. I was always good at it, and loved doing it. Not many men are comfortable up there, but I was King of the World when I climbed. Loved the view from my office.

I did a Lot of Bucket work over the years too! Kinda like flying a hover car 60 feet above the ground.

The picture is of me right after they took me out of traction. Damn I hated being stretched by the neck, but it worked mostly.

Power Linemen are a Special Breed of Men.
To some we are crazy, but to me, We were building Thunderbirds. (Like the Bob Segar song.)
Fucking Hell. You and me got nothing in common. :laughing: I don't mind heights, but would no way ever do what you did.

I've known more than a few entertainment riggers that were like that. This one guy in Vegas is famous for being a real tyrant and all the young guys are terrified of him. I had to tell this one new guy, "I'll tell Seamus he has to wait. Old guys like me aren't afraid of other old guys." Me and Seamus got along just fine, I never stepped on his world, but never let him step on mine, I'd just offer him a cup of tea when I could see him loading up.
 

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I know a guy that slipped and fell in the bed a of a pickup
Hit his temple on t he corner above the tail light , tail gate was down , and it killed him
Not quite the same, but I was attempting to load my quad in the bed of my truck like I had done a hundred times before. The front tires of the quad hit the wheel arches, and instead of going up/over, the quad bit traction on the ramps and kicked them out. The quad and I went backwards out of the back of the truck and when it landed square on the rear grab bar, it bounced the back of my helmetless head off the driveway.

The only thing I remember is laying there willing myself not to lose consciousness. A trip to the ER and 11 staples later, I was at home. 2 days later I finally felt "right" again.

Complacency is a killer. If I had been wearing the helmet that was sitting on the driver's seat of my truck, it would have just been a stupid mistake I probably never would have mentioned to anyone. Instead, it was a $3k out of pocket screw up that could have been far worse.
 

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Not quite the same, but I was attempting to load my quad in the bed of my truck like I had done a hundred times before. The front tires of the quad hit the wheel arches, and instead of going up/over, the quad bit traction on the ramps and kicked them out. The quad and I went backwards out of the back of the truck and when it landed square on the rear grab bar, it bounced the back of my helmetless head off the driveway.

The only thing I remember is laying there willing myself not to lose consciousness. A trip to the ER and 11 staples later, I was at home. 2 days later I finally felt "right" again.

Complacency is a killer. If I had been wearing the helmet that was sitting on the driver's seat of my truck, it would have just been a stupid mistake I probably never would have mentioned to anyone. Instead, it was a $3k out of pocket screw up that could have been far worse.
ratchet strap your ramps to the bumper :flipoff2:
 

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No shit... I'd grab every last one of them and bring home. Those little 2 steppers are handy as hell!
also stupid dangerous.

I think 99% of the ladder related slips/falls I have had have been from the bottom step, or one of those little ones.

You almost forget you are on them and just go to step off/down.

Never actually fallen, but that long step can be ugly.
 

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Fucking Hell. You and me got nothing in common. :laughing: I don't mind heights, but would no way ever do what you did.

I've known more than a few entertainment riggers that were like that. This one guy in Vegas is famous for being a real tyrant and all the young guys are terrified of him. I had to tell this one new guy, "I'll tell Seamus he has to wait. Old guys like me aren't afraid of other old guys." Me and Seamus got along just fine, I never stepped on his world, but never let him step on mine, I'd just offer him a cup of tea when I could see him loading up.

Yep, coming up I worked for more than one Bastard Senior Lineman. Some of those guys were real good, others used Bullsh*t to cover up their shortcomings.
Most of them were real heavy drinkers. I vowed to never be one of those assh*les when I got to the Senior Lineman ranking.

My favorite thing to do was climb the 100 footer poles. Such a great view from up there. And so few guys liked being that high up. The poles are about 40 inches across at the bottom and 8 inches round, or smaller at the top. And flimsey at the top too!


I always got the new climber Lineman trainees. I had to break their cherry on the 100 footer poles. I usually went up first to show them it could be done. I ran marathons a lot back then so I could go all the way up, unstrapped (no safety buckled off), without stopping. But the new guys would get up about 45 feet and get spooked. They would stop and strap off with their safeties, then pound their hooks in all the way up, with safeties around the pole, the rest of the way up. Imagine being on the tip of a fishing pole, with the top of the pole shaking like a whip. A bitch to hang on to when the rookies were big heavy guys.

They were always out of breath if they ever made it to the top. It took a lot of time for them to relax before we could get any work done. Once had a guy named Frankie freeze on the top with me. All it took was one look down, and he locked up. The guy was 6'6" amd about 290 lbs. I spent more time roping him down than I did building the big black double cross arms with pullys and pull ropes for a highway crossing by myself once I got him off my pole.
(Big Black Cross Arms are the size and weight of railroad ties. Heavy Bitches and getting them off the rope and across your safety was a bitch if you didn't know what you were doing. A good Grunt could make a Lineman look good, and it a lot easier making the Grunt do all the lifting!)

Most guys liked working for me because I was usually supportive and helped them concour their fears of heights. Only had a few that just couldn't do it.

Me, I loved it. The higher the better I liked it. Lot of guys hung up their hooks after they got off the really tall ones.

In keeping with the theme, I hear the Lineman now have to double safety all the way up all poles now per OSHA. I retired at a good time. Our Lineman voted to go Union with the IBEW right as I put my keys and security badges on the bosses desk. The Senior Techs (like me) were not required to join the Union. But could. Non Union Guys got passed over a lot on the Promtions. So everybody joined the Union.
 

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I had assigned about half my crew to work on some temporary buildings we use when working on submarines. The one we were working that day was on keel blocks and the floor was 4'10" off the ground.

We were doing some structural mods to the floors and adding a couple new doors so there were some big holes cut in the walls. We had a nice rolling staging platform with a ladder to go in and out bet it was on the other side from where we were working. Rather than walk the 15' to the staging and using the ladder, one of the guys decided to jump out of one of the openings. He caught the heal of his boot on a 1/4" tall lip and landed on the dry dock floor catching himself with his face.

He got to ride out of the dock in a basket on a crane and an ambulance ride to the hospital. Wound up with a broken tooth and nose, stitches in on both lips, random cuts and bruises and a very swollen knee. I ended up with a letter of reprimand because i didn't tell him not to jump out of the openings.
 

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I had assigned about half my crew to work on some temporary buildings we use when working on submarines. The one we were working that day was on keel blocks and the floor was 4'10" off the ground.

We were doing some structural mods to the floors and adding a couple new doors so there were some big holes cut in the walls. We had a nice rolling staging platform with a ladder to go in and out bet it was on the other side from where we were working. Rather than walk the 15' to the staging and using the ladder, one of the guys decided to jump out of one of the openings. He caught the heal of his boot on a 1/4" tall lip and landed on the dry dock floor catching himself with his face.

He got to ride out of the dock in a basket on a crane and an ambulance ride to the hospital. Wound up with a broken tooth and nose, stitches in on both lips, random cuts and bruises and a very swollen knee. I ended up with a letter of reprimand because i didn't tell him not to jump out of the openings.

surprised osha did not show up abd fine the cra out of the company. for not blocking off the opening.
 

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We were building a tall narrow washdown room for food production, and everything was white. Multiple times people steped off a raised scissor lift because they forgot it was up a few feet. Nobody hurt though.

I stopped a dumbass from getting hurt only to see him get hurt minutes later. He rests an extension ladder against a table to climb to the ceiling. I grabbed him by the shirt just before tip over height. Then he moves an i beam on a dolly and crushes his hand between it and a pallet breaking his fingers. This same guy climbed down an extension ladder backwards caught his harness on the top struggled, slipped and was stuck hanging from it.

Another guy at the same workplace crushed his thumb flat between a roller and drum (big rock tumbler thing). He was too ashamed to say anything so he worked the remaining day with a glove on and did not come back for a week.
 

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Not quite the same, but I was attempting to load my quad in the bed of my truck like I had done a hundred times before. The front tires of the quad hit the wheel arches, and instead of going up/over, the quad bit traction on the ramps and kicked them out. The quad and I went backwards out of the back of the truck and when it landed square on the rear grab bar, it bounced the back of my helmetless head off the driveway.

The only thing I remember is laying there willing myself not to lose consciousness. A trip to the ER and 11 staples later, I was at home. 2 days later I finally felt "right" again.

Complacency is a killer. If I had been wearing the helmet that was sitting on the driver's seat of my truck, it would have just been a stupid mistake I probably never would have mentioned to anyone. Instead, it was a $3k out of pocket screw up that could have been far worse.
I also wear my helmet for this, it's too easy to screw up.
This summer in Wyoming I rented a quad for me and the gf to go exploring for the day, I didn't want the dorky helmets to put put around on a dirt road, but evil knievel wore a helmet, and my gf s old man died, so if I ran out of talent and she konked her head, a sweet little girl would be orphaned, better safe than sorry.

I bought my kids all "cool" helmets that color match their bicycles and they don't mind them a bit. I need a mt bike, so I'll be wearing a dorky helmet to be a good example:rolleyes:
 

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My company just threw all the 2' ladders in the dumpster this past Friday. Probably 10 of them. Someone got hurt at another site now anything over 2 steps has to have a hand rail. I was going to tell them that 2' ladders have only 2 steps (top is not technically a step) but I ended up scoring an aluminum werner out of the dumpster. :smokin:
I work for a general contractor. After too many guys got caught standing on the top step they got rid of almost all of their 6’ or less ladders and forbid them on the job site. Out of over 100 guys in the company, I’m one of two who are allowed to carry one.
 

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We had a journeyman and an apprentice setting a motor one day. They had it hanging by a chain fall lining it up. It's hard to describe but it was difficult to see from the top if the holes were lined up on the mounting plate below. So the apprentice decides to stick is finger in the hole to see if they're lined up :homer: The 1200# motor shifted and he lost the end of his finger.
 
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