Sunday, 24 June 2018

Health and Safety

Monday 19th June 1854 must have started out as a normal working day for John Hudson. On reaching the Shire Hall at Stafford he climbed the scaffolding as usual and was returning to where he had finished work two days earlier. He failed.

Moments later, having slipped through an opening in the scaffolding, he was falling back toward the ground. Such a fall would have been unlikely to have killed him, for this was no great height. Furthermore, his fall was broken by the window sill of the floor below. Hudson bounced off the sill, which threw him away from the building and he landed on the iron railings surrounding the building.

Unfortunately the decorative iron railings were topped by spikes and he landed on one. The spike entered one side of his face through the upper jaw and exited on the other side, just below his eye. Taken to Stafford Infirmary he survived to tell the tale and return to work.

In October 1968, almost fifty years ago, a damp and misty autumnal morning at Yardley Grammar School in Birmingham saw one pupil looking out for his best chum whose late appearance was highly unusual. By stepping up and standing on the low wall, this highly intelligent 12-year-old could peer over the top of the school railings and look along the street for his absent friend. He slipped. A railing impacted his face and he was concerned that there was a rather bad scratch across his most handsome face. He was mistaken.

The spike had actually entered the fleshy part of his face below the jawline and as he attempted to lower himself to the ground, had only succeeded in pushing it further into his face and exiting through the cheek. Luckily he managed to pull himself back up to where he had been standing on the wall and effectively lift his face back off the spike. Thinking now might be a good time to seek medical treatment, he sauntered off to the medical room where a mirror revealed two holes in the righthand side of his face and shortly afterwards an ambulance raced him to hospital. Doctors sewed him back together with, what he then thought, an impressive 39 stitches and then reported back to his parents how the railing had missed the artery by just a fifth of an inch (5mm to we youngsters).

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