Iron Workers

This past weekend I watched America: The Story of Us on the History Channel. If you haven't been watching this series, you should be.   Not only is it extremely well done, it also makes you proud to be American and of the risks, our forefathers took to get us where we are today.

Um... fall protection? In one of the episodes from this weekend, entitled "Metropolis," they covered the development of big cities such as New York and Chicago. Now, when you talk about New York you've got to talk about skyscrapers, which inevitably leads to construction.

Now, I know the guys that built skyscrapers back then took risks, but I never really thought about it in terms of personal safety and fall protection.

Hell, they called themselves roughnecks, so what does that tell you?

They had copious amounts of back and neck hair.... probably not.

These guys were tough as nails and built these skyscrapers, without fall protection...  without any protection really.

Walking across a one-foot wide steel beam one hundred feet in the air is not my idea of a good time.

The final tally?  2 out of every 5 workers either died or were disabled. That's 40% of the entire workforce. Just shy of half! Yikes! Take a look at the guys you work with and imagine almost half of them dead or seriously injured. It's pretty sobering, isn't it?

I guess the point is that sometimes fall protection can seem like a pain in the ass, but your odds of getting seriously injured on the job are nowhere near those levels. So, shut up, grab a steel beam anchor, and be thankful you're not a roughneck!