Downsizing does have its risky side




“Safety is something that happens between your ears, not something you hold in your hands.” – Jeff Cooper

The outdoor railing to my suite hangs precariously in the air three stories above ground level. My balcony door was locked with a special bolt from the outside. Hopefully I will not have to use that as part of an emergency exit plan.

Y O U  C A N N O T  C U T  B A C K  O N  S A F E T Y

This week’s Wednesday Challenge on partner Susan and my alternate site, WEEKLY PROMPTS, was DOWNSIZING. This article is written with that general theme in mind. 

The COVID 19 virus has forced many smaller “mom-and-pop” construction and repair companies to cut back on staff and attempt to ensure their existence by doing work on a piecemeal basis using whatever manpower and skill  their motley crews might bring to the site.

This past Monday was the day that residents on the third and fourth floor of Block A were scheduled to have their balconies repaired. The building is over thirty years old and the site construction manager felt it was time for the over haul and facelift. Last summer the suite balconies were inspected and , pending availability of funds, the work for this block was scheduled for this summer season.

Tuesday morning at seven a.m. the ladders appeared outside my living room balcony window and a four man crew began the demolition of the weather worn, wooden planks.. The suite above mine was also scheduled for the proverbial chopping block. The temperature was forecasted to climbed to a balmy 31 degrees Celsius later that day.

It was laundry day for me and as I left the main floor laundry area I noticed a hand written note on the inner entrance door  advising tenants to “be careful ..falling debris in the area.” The time was 7:45 am.

When I returned to the laundry room 45 minutes later to place the clothes in the dryer the note now advised ” please use the back door”. A yellow power cord was connected to a second flor electrical outlet and a wooden block was used to keep the entrance door open.  The door was not blocked off to foot traffic and no yellow “do not use” safety tape placed at the entrance.

The young workers climbing up and down the ladders and hanging like spiders from the window ledges were not wearing safety harnesses. They were three stories above ground and when I asked one of them about that I was told that they only wear the gear for fourth story work

The “guts” of the old balcony were sawed and drilled and hacked at and the debris feel to the ground below unfettered . The main floor resident’s patio was covered in broken lumber, boards and other debris. The crew allegedly used a special magnetic covering to keep nails from flowing freely in the air.

The crew worked until five p.m. that day. When they left the scene they did not clean up the “on ground” debris and my balcony railing was left dangling three stories above ground. They also placed a special door lock screw on my balcony door for safety reasons. I question that motive. What do I do if a fire occurs and I cannot open the balcony door?

Today I chatted with the tenant whose suite is above my own. . He told me he chatted with the crew chief who told him they might get around to doing his suite today.

I think that was a bit of an over blown promise. It is now 5″20 p.m. and the way they worked on my suite yesterday it is highly likely they will get to repairing his balcony today.

I should mention that the work crew did not thoroughly examine the wooden strut supports on a suite they “repaired” last week. The wood was rotted out and not all that safe. That was the reason they started on that shift early this morning.

I wrote an email of complaint to the company managing this property and included the photo you see above. 

The project is scheduled to be completed by this Friday July 31. 

I ‘ll be glad when I can unlock my balcony door and turn on my portable air conditioner again. The unit attaches to the internal patio door. But since the door is presently locked I am out of luck and sitting near the open refrigerator door to keep cool. 

Friday just might be the day this happens.

I do not know how this crew will handle the repair of the suite atop mine. It will be interesting to witness and see if they do secure themselves to the roof via safety harnesses. 



Wednesday Challenge – Downsizing





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