Arrested because he buckled up!

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Construction Safety Association of Ontario

Summary Statement

A case study of an elevator mechanic who fell but was saved by his fall protection equipment.
Summer 2003

Patrick Carroll is an elevator mechanic with Capital Elevator in Ottawa. Last September, he would have fallen 60 feet down an elevator shaft were it not for his fall-arrest system.

Construction Safety: What were you doing just before the fall?

Carroll: We were hanging a chain block at the top of the hoistway. I climbed up a ladder—it was on a diagonal. I didn't take the time to put blocks behind the ladder. My helper was holding on to the ladder, and I asked him to hold on to the chain block too. The ladder slipped out and down I went.

CS: How far did you fall?

Carroll: I guess it was about 10 feet.

CS: Did it hurt when your fall was arrested?

Carroll: No, it wasn't too bad. I got a little scrape from the front zipper on my coveralls. I guess I adjusted the harness right, because it didn't jam me anywhere.

CS: How did they get you down?

Carroll: There were a couple of guys working on the next floor down. I guess they sort of noticed me hanging there. They said, "Do you need a hand?" and I said, "Yeah." They just hauled me in up over the guard.

CS: Do you agree with mandatory fall protection training?

Carroll: Yes—I think it's good that employers are forced to train their employees.

CS: Do you have any advice for fellow construction workers?

Carroll: Yeah, I'd say "buckle up"! I mean it works, obviously. Sometimes you think it'll take too much time, but don't let anyone tell you to hurry up. Take your time and do things safely.