A bizarre tragedy has struck at a construction site in New Jersey where Gary Anderson, 58, was hit and killed by a falling tape measure from 50 stories above. The one-pound tape measure came off a construction worker and hit Anderson who had just stopped to speak with another worker in a pick up truck.
The implausibility of the accident was magnified by the fact that the tape measure first dislodged from the belt of the worker and then hit construction equipment some 10 feet off the ground — only to ricochet and hit Gary Anderson.
There were so many factors in the chain of events that had to occur precisely to produce this result from a brief chat to the angle of the ricochet.
Obviously, there was negligence in the loss of the tape measure but the danger of falling objects is a long-standing danger for construction sites. Moreover, Anderson was not wearing a hard hat — a basic safety requirement at all such sites. Anderson worked for an independent trucking company delivering product for Charlotte, N.C. based National Gypsum. He was delivering sheet rock.
The absence of the hard hat would make a lawsuit difficult, though there can be recovery under worker’s compensation for the family.