Michael Richard Injured in Workplace Fall/Impalement Accident in Nederland, TX
Nederland, TX — July 20, 2022, Michael Richard was seriously injured when he fell off a roof and a metal bar pierced his neck and head in Nederland.
According to reports the incident happened Wednesday as Richard was painting the roof of a Nederland home. Preliminary investigation suggests he lost his footing and fell from the roof, then landed on a 24-inch metal rebar sticking out of the ground. The bar passed through his neck and head.
Emergency responders cut the rebar free from the ground and then transported Richard, with a significant portion of the rod still in place, to an area hospital. He was rushed to surgery and within an hour was in recovery. Reports say the rebar missed a number of vital areas as it passed through him.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Michael Richard Accident in Nederland
While the specifics of this accident are somewhat unique (and seem to involve a medical miracle of sorts) at its heart it seems to be a work accident. During the course of his duties as a painter the victim fell off the roof and landed on what can best be described as a steel spike in the ground.
Hugely relieved as I am to see the damage was not worse (again, miraculous), the details of the accident raise some troubling questions about working conditions at the job site. Many painters don't typically wear harnesses or anchor themselves when working on home roofs, yet many of them fall in similar ways and suffer a variety of injuries. It seems to me that with so much precedent that companies should be taking more serious steps to ensure their people stay put on roofs; if they know falls are possible and do nothing, that may raise some questions of negligence.
I think the more serious question about site conditions is why there was a long rebar jutting out of the ground anywhere near people who could fall on it. Was it the only one? Why was it there? Who put it there? How far away from the house was it? Even if it was somehow necessary, could it realistically have been put somewhere else to lessen the danger it posed?
Here's what I'm getting at: A fall from a roof is already bad enough and many companies do the bare minimum or less to prevent their people from getting hurt that way. Instead of landing on a lawn, though, the Nederland victim got impaled. Does that seem right? Would anyone argue that a workplace with potential for impalement is making worker safety a top priority? I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but now that man is out of work when all he did was show up and do his best. That doesn't seem right, and if someone should be held accountable for what happened to him I hope they will.