By now, everyone has seen the massive stadium in Arlington, Texas, that is home to the Dallas Cowboys. On December 3, two men who were working at the top of the stadium fell 50’ to 75’on the roof of that building. They had stepped out from the retractable roof, and after discovering the icy surface, they slid down to a roof gutter. One of the injured persons called for help on his cell phone. If the gutter had not been there, they would have fallen more than 200 more feet, and the end of the story would probably have been much worse.
The bad part of the story is, from all accounts, they were not wearing safety harnesses, according to numerous news media accounts. On a later report, a harness was shown that they claimed to be wearing; however, it was not hooked to anything! If you take a look at that building, how could anyone step out on top of that thing without safety equipment?
OSHA immediately began an investigation, which could take several months.
The Arlington Fire and Rescue team got the workers down. After taking about 30 minutes to reach the injured men, twelve to fifteen firefighters worked their way down with ropes, baskets and ladders, accomplishing the feat in around 90 minutes. One man was taken by air rescue to a hospital, and the other transferred to a hospital by ambulance. Their injuries were serious, but not life-threatening. Thank goodness for this rescue team, which has been preparing for such a rescue since construction began on the $1.2 billion stadium.
There will probably be much more information disclosed once the investigation is complete. In the meantime, it is very inappropriate for companies to not have adequately trained workers that risk their lives to do very treacherous jobs. Standing on top of a football stadium that is more than 300’ to the ground would require the very best personal protective equipment, (i.e., harnesses, lanyards) to safeguard human lives. It will be interesting to see what facts come out.
Again, every time we see an accident, we need to realize that without our rapid response teams, we would be in deep trouble. They risk their lives to get us out of some pretty good pickles!