December 16, 2010 | Mark Paradies

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:

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2010 11 Img 0640-1

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2010 10 Mmbw3Uzpnji Sz6Zd7Rh2Ri Aaaaaaaahr8 J Kbzsbym5Y S1600 Dangerous-Jobs-01-1

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2010 10 Mmbw3Uzpnji Sz6Yguvdd2I Aaaaaaaahoc Yo3Oeavebd8 S1600 Dangerous-Jobs-29-1

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2010 10 Mmbw3Uzpnji Sz6Y44Fgp0I Aaaaaaaahp8 4E8Efcnlwcw S1600 Dangerous-Jobs-17-1

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2010 03 Cleaning-Roof-1

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2010 10 Mmbw3Uzpnji Sz6Ygyynzli Aaaaaaaahnu 8Bztp7Jcldq S1600 Dangerous-Jobs-38-1

 WordPress Wp-Content Uploads 2009 07 200907061316

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.

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