This is why all workers at construction sites must wear hard hats.
A tape measure slipped off the belt of a construction worker at the top of a tower, hit a piece of metal equipment on the way down, and then struck another worker on the head, knocking him unconscious. The worker was taken to a hospital where he died a short time later.
The man who died, Gary Anderson, had arrived at the construction site in Jersey City, NJ, to deliver some wallboard. He had just parked his truck and stepped out of the vehicle when the tape measure, which had fallen 400 feet, struck him. Anderson wasn’t wearing a hard hat.
The company working at the site, AJD Construction, told investigators its policy was that all people on the property wear hard hats and that it wasn’t clear why Anderson didn’t have one on.
The tape measure weighed one pound.
Another construction worker was quoted as saying:
“A tape measure is like a gun at a construction site. Like a police officer, you don’t pull it out unless you’re going to use it.”
The science of falling objects
True or false: A penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building would kill someone if it struck them in the head.
According to Scientific American, it wouldn’t kill you and wouldn’t seriously injure you either.
According to the publication, a penny is too small and flat to become a dangerous projectile.
If a penny were dropped from a tall building, it would flutter to the ground like a leaf, according to Louis Bloomfield, a physicist at the University of Virginia. Bloomfield actually ran experiments and when a penny struck him, it didn’t hurt. “I think one bounced off of my face,” Bloomfield said.
Collisions with air molecules slow down falling pennies. The faster the penny falls, the greater the air resistance. So at a certain maximum velocity, the force of the fall and the air resistance cancel each other out.
Now, a falling ballpoint pen could be an entirely different matter. If one of those fell from the top of the Empire State Building, it could kill. It all depends on the pen’s design. Some would spin and flutter. Others would shoot down like an arrow and might achieve speeds of 200 mph. According to Bloomfield, “You wouldn’t want it to hit your head.”
Want more proof? Check out this video from the TV show MythBusters: