The afternoon of Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 would have been like any other work day for journeyman ironworker Rex Godsey, were he not suspended in the air, hanging by a single lanyard attached to the Sam Houston Ship Channel bridge in Houston, Texas. Yet that is exactly where he found himself that day.
While replacing some supporting cable on the bridge, Rex had tied off his lanyard with a choker-style anchor and attempted to climb over a handrail. In an instant, his foot slipped and all of his weight shifted to one side. He fell upside down, hitting his head—which was fortunately protected by a hard hat—on a beam in the process.
After hanging upside down for several minutes, he was finally able to free his legs and right himself. Unfortunately, his team had to rely on the fire department to rescue him.
For nearly an hour, he hung there thinking about three things: his wife, with whom he had just celebrated their first anniversary, how and when he would be rescued, and how badly he wanted a beer. Adding to the drama of the situation was a news helicopter relaying the event in real-time—his wife saw what was happening on TV and instinctively knew it was him hanging there. Finally, the firefighters were able to pull him up through a manhole positioned above the area he was hanging and they brought him to safety.
While Rex was unable to walk for a short time afterward, Rex was fortunate enough to escape the entire ordeal with little more than a scratch under his arm. He thanked the thick, durable straps and comfortable padding of his DBI-SALA® ExoFit™ Construction Style Positioning/Climbing Harness for that: "It's one of the best harnesses I've ever seen." In fact, when his supervisor asked Rex how they could keep his team safe, his first response was, "Give all my guys DBI-SALA harnesses!" And they did just that.
As a thank-you to Rex and his team for their dedication and commitment to fall protection, we were happy to send suspension trauma straps for his entire team. And Rex assured us that, after the whole incident was over and he was reunited with his wife, he managed to get that beer he wanted, too.
More importantly, though, Rex recounted to us his newfound respect for the importance of having comprehensive safety protocols, training and fall protection equipment in place— helping to ensure that anyone on his team can be rescued in the event of a fall. Before this experience, he used to watch safety videos and think, "That will never happen to me." But now their team holds a safety meeting every other day where they review their fall rescue plan and watch general safety videos.
If you could find yourself in a similar situation, learn more about our Competent Industrial Rescuer and Wind Energy Competent Rescuer Fall Protection Training classes.
For more information about Rex and his fall, read the original news story and watch the video.