Better Than a Stick in the Eye

One day in the summer of 2018, I was working in the Bay Area of Northern California. I was the only ground guy working with three climbers who were spread out throughout a large apartment complex. Between bathroom and eating breaks at the chip truck and tarping the brush they were all dropping, I was rushing through my chipping process. I was so frustrated and exhausted when I left my safety glasses in the cab of the truck, I said to myself, “To heck with going back and getting them. I’m a Florida boy and will violate the safety policies and standards.”

At one point, as I began reaching for brush staged near the chipper to feed into it, there was a branch intertwined with another. When I pulled a branch, one of the intertwined branches relinquished its tension and sprung straight into the corner of my eye. From there, it became lodged. I had to pull it out, and it was painful.

I was so scared when removing the branch from my eye that there was going to be blood and blindness! I was so lucky. Fortunately, no long-term damage occurred, nor did the branch do enough damage to make me need to go to the emergency room.

When I went back to where one of the climbers was, I mentioned to him what had happened. He said, “Where were your safety glasses?”

I said, “I left them in the truck.”

He replied, “You should have left your eyes there, too.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle with a guilty smile and recognize the point this 30-plus-year industry veteran was making. He was letting me know this is a dangerous job, and if I’m working, then I’d better be prepared with my safety gear!

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