Last fall, I read this article about the 1 World Trade Center Construction and the various accidents that took place during construction, many of them going unreported. I’ve thought about this article a lot over the last year and decided I would write a post about it this week, especially since the 14th anniversary of the attacks are this week.
There is one story from the article that really stands out. A man was told to climb a tall, rickety ladder in the rain. After protesting, the man climbed the ladder, since his job depended on it. As the man descended, he lost his grip and he fell to the bottom, his shoulder scraping against some rebar that was left pointing up at the bottom of the ladder.
While this man is lucky to be alive, his recovery hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park. He suffered four herniated discs, a concussion, headaches, short-term memory loss and a fractured shoulder. To help him recover, the man spent four months in rehab. He has not been able to return to work since.
The main focus of this article was how injuries weren’t reported to OSHA, but there are some underlying issues that I think are even more serious.
In the article, the man says he felt like he would lose his job unless he climbed the ladder. No worker should feel like he or she would lose his job by being safe. Instead workers should feel like their jobs are safer when they are focusing on safety. Supervisors on job sites need to respect their workers. If the man’s boss had listened to him and replaced the ladder, the terrible accident could have been prevented.
Let us learn from the mistakes of the 1 World Trade Center, and work to make our workplaces safer.