posted on Aug, 25 2019 @ 01:23 PM
In another thread I made a comment about just having bought a new carbon fiber hard hat for work. And I stated that I didn't mind spending money on
quality safety gear, especially hard hats, because one saved my life one time. I thought the back story of what happened might be worthy of a
About 30+ years ago I was out of college about two years. I was working for a heavy construction company on a college expansion project in Wyoming.
When the job finished I got transferred to a bank world headquarters building in Troy, Michigan. I transferred in as a senior layout engineer (I'd
been working in construction for most of my adult life). My job was to make sure the building (all 12 stories) was in the right place and was plumb
and square as it was erected. Without going into a bunch of boring details, this was a very complicated building (think- 1/4 of a pyramid, stair
stepped, laid out on a 45 degree angle and all clad (inside and out) with zero grout line granite, adjoining an underground parking garage laid out on
a 30 degree angle from the main building). It was a layout nightmare. My role involved walking structural steel with survey instruments as the steel
was being erected to verify everything was correct. The tolerances for this building were impossibly tight.
One day I was walking across the basement (2 floors below grade). I had a theodolite on a tripod over my right shoulder. All of a sudden something
hit me in the head...HARD! The impact knocked me down (and I dropped the instrument), and it knocked my hardhat off. Felt like somebody walked up
behind me with a sledgehammer and whacked me as hard as they could. The noise the impact made on my hard hat was so loud my ears were ringing, but I
was otherwise unhurt. Whatever had hit me had made a loud THUD in the dirt a few feet from me, but I couldn't see anything.
My first thought (after making sure I was okay) was..."Jeezus, I just dropped a $15,000 dollar instrument...I hope it's not damaged!!" So,
I got up, grabbed my hard hat, put it on and picked up the instrument and set it up to check it. It's weird how your mind works when things like
this happen. As I'm standing there the gravity of what had just happened struck me. So I went looking for the object that hit me. I could see
where it had hit the ground, but there was nothing there. At first I thought maybe it bounced, but there was nothing nearby, so I kicked some dirt
away from the little impact crater. Sure enough, buried in the dirt there was a 1" diameter bolt about 4" long with two large nuts threaded onto
it! HOLY S#!!! The bolt with the two nuts on it weighed easily near a pound (possibly more). I looked up and the only work going on above me was
way up on the 12th floor (14 floors above me). That bolt had fallen 14 stories before it hit me, and could easily have killed me!
My hard hat had saved my life.
After I saw the bolt I took my hard hat back off and examined it. There was about a 2" long gouge on the back right side at about the halfway point
between the brim and the top. The gouge started off skinny and got deeper. At the deepest point the gouge actually became a hole in the plastic of
my hard hat and you could see light through it. The corner of the bolt or nut must have been what impacted my hat.
Throughout my career I have always kept all my hard hats and I have them lined up on a shelf in my office. One of the hats in the center is turned
around backwards. It shows the scar from that bolt hitting me that day. Makes a great conversation piece when someone asks why one hat is turned
around like that.
There's a Part II to this story, which will make some really angry. Maybe I'll tell it if there's any interest. In any case, next time you think
a hard hat is too hot, or too uncomfortable...look up, and remember this story.