Friday, June 26, 2009

Ladders Can Be Dangerous

The only time I fell off a ladder, and want to tell about it, was when it was hit by a boxcar that had been let loose to roll down a slope. It was when I worked at the salt mine.

I was running electrical conduit at the entrance to a tunnel below the salt sifter building. I had five bosses on the ground telling me what to do. The classic too many chiefs, not enough Indians.

Regardless, the rail car was let loose, nothing unusual in that at the salt mine -- but this time it rolled toward me. I saw it and started to climb down off the ladder. The bosses all yelled at me to climb up the ladder saying the rail car would miss me. They were correct, it did miss me. But it did not miss the ladder.

I jumped atop the rail car and thought that was OK. But there was only about three feet of space between the ceiling of the tunnel and the top of the rail car. The ceiling was very rough, blown on clumps of concrete. All would have been fine at this point except it being an active construction site there was a large electrical cable draped down. I got tangled up in it and was worried if I did not get loose then I would be hanging quite a distance up in the air when the rail car went away without me. Let alone I was worried I might get a bit bashed up dragged along the top of the rail car more than absolutely necessary.

So in the three foot of space I did a summersault around the cable. I then lay down on the top of the rail car… on that long steel platform where you see dandies in the movies that walk a train.

When the car came out of the other side of the tunnel I staid down and there was no sign of me. All of the bosses were mystified that I had vanished.

This was one lesson; it was fairly quick and over with, where I learned to suspect authority figures of being full of crap and it being dangerous for me to pay too much attention to them.

A bit of history about the salt mine here.

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