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This report is based on an interview with a thirty five (35) year old male who was working in a construction firm that put up large commercial and residential structures. He had been in employment for thirteen years (13) prior to the accident discussed in this interview. His name and that of the company he worked for shall remain anonymous but we shall refer to him as Joe. Joe had completed a refresher course in building and construction when the offer to work for then well know company came his way. He was deployed on site and joined other workers in laying down steel reinforcement on the frames of the buildings before the concrete was poured onto the metal. He had worked on numerous structures in many states and loved his job.
The third of August 2009 started out like any other and Joe got ready to go to work as he had done for last thirteen years. They were working on a five storey building and they were to lay down the concrete slab for the third floor. On reporting on site Joe put on his uniform and helmet and went to work. All seemed fine up until the concrete mixer open up to pour down the mixed concrete, what the controller did not know was that Joe had his foot stuck in between two steel rods and was standing on the way of the concrete and two of his co-workers were busy trying to get his foot out. They were yelling at the top of their voice telling the controller to stop the machine but could not be heard due to the loud noise emitted by the machine. By the time someone got the attention of the controller, damage was already done. The two men assisting Joe had ran for cover when the mixed concrete came down but Joe was up to his knees in the mixture. Immediately an ambulance was called in and he was rushed to the hospital.
Joe remained in a coma for two days and when he came around, he got the worst news of his life. The doctors had to amputate his right leg at the knee since it had taken the major force from the concrete and had been held down by the steel bars. His left leg had fractured in two places and required three surgeries to set it right. Joe remained in the hospital for seven weeks for which his workmates used to pass by occasionally to visit and cheer him up. He underwent physiotherapy sessions three times a week for two months to strengthen his broken leg and this paid off over this period since his left leg gained back all its strength. He was later fitted with a prosthetic limb on his right stump and learned how to walk in it. Though his rehabilitation took a long time, it bore fruits since one cannot easy tell that he is an amputee save for a slight limp that he has.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration visited the construction site after the accident and after doing an evaluation ordered the company to equip its employees with transmission radios for communication and co-ordination purposes around the site. The cause of the accident was poor co-ordination between the different groups of workers and it could have been easily avoided from the beginning. The company organized for all its staff to undergo work place safety courses and training and they were also equipped with transmission radios that assists them to communicate when constructing large buildings where some workers are out of sight with the others.
Joe took time off work to fully recover from the ordeal and when he had regained his strength and felt ready to get back to work, went back to his employer. He could not go back to the field and as such he was given the option of taking up an office based work position. He took up the job and is now based at the company headquarters where he does a lot of planning for the construction sites. He had to take up extra classes to familiarize himself with his new job description but says that it is better than being jobless though he misses the thrill of being at an actual construction site.