I just read a new article talking about a wireless installation engineer who fell from a ladder and ended up overdosing on pain management medication.
Daniel Batchelor had to have his leg amputated after falling from a ladder. Daniel then had some trouble dealing with pain, so he began to take some pain medication. In January, he was found unconscious, and he ended up passing away. The cause of death was deemed an accidental overdose, since he was taking the medication to manage pain.
What led to the overdose?
In 2011, Daniel’s ladder collapsed, resulting in him falling 12 feet before he landed on concrete ground. His leg broke in two places and fractured his wrist. Because of the fall, Daniel was no longer able to work. Also, after having multiple surgeries, his leg had too much pressure built in his muscles, resulting in paralysis and infection. The infection led to his leg being amputated.
According to Daniel’s employers, Daniel was given the wrong type of ladder for the job he was doing. The company did not supply Daniel with the right equipment, which ultimately led to his untimely death.
What can we learn?
The major lesson from this tragic accident is to supply your team with the correct equipment and then train them how to use it. If an extension ladder is the right ladder, then make sure they have an extension ladder. Teach them how to properly secure and safely use the ladder. If employees will be working near any sort of electrical equipment, make sure they have a fiberglass ladder and are trained on the dangers of power lines, etc. If your team needs to work on cable or power lines, make sure they have a ladder that will secure to the power line.
This story is tragic on so many levels. From the accident, to the amputation, to the drugs, none of these situations are something you or anyone on your team wants to face. Supply your team with the right equipment, and the chances decrease significantly.