Work is No Laughing Matter – Man Killed by Refrigerator
I was all fun and games until Rafa Chmura was killed by a falling refrigerator. He had actually joked, “Throw it, I’ll catch it.”
Men were refurbishing a third floor Milwaukee campus apartment. They had already thrown a water heater over the third floor balcony railing to the ground below. Now they were trying to hit the water heater with a refrigerator. The worker below knew they were going to throw it and had been joking about it.
What went wrong (well, besides everything up to this point)? Just as the toss was taking place, the employee below got a cell phone call from the boss. he stopped watching. They guys at the top weren’t as accurate as they had thought. They missed the water heater and hit Mr. Chmura.
Chmura died from head and back trauma. He is survived by a wife and two children.
I bet nobody is laughing now.
Here’s the report from The Daily Reporter:
This couldn’t happen at your worksite … right? Don’t bet on it. Familiarity breeds contempt. People get used to the risks involved in their work. When the cat’s away, the mice will play.
Unless you have a strong safety culture, these types of accidents are a real possibility. Just look at these recently posted examples:
These weren’t horseplay, but if they would do this, tossing a refrigerator isn’t out of the question. It could happen unless you make sure that it doesn’t.