Hangovers Helped Create Safety Measures For the Golden Gate Bridge



If there’s one construction job that set the modern standards for work site safety precautions, it's the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. When construction began in 1933, one in four Americans was unemployed, so getting a job working on the bridge was like winning the lottery. Unfortunately, statistics at the time concluded that one man would die during construction for every million dollars spent. Since the bridge cost $35 million, Joseph Strauss, chief engineer for the bridge, demanded extensive safety precautions. Because the workers had money to hit the bars after work, hangovers and resulting dizziness became a big problem at the start of the day. Strauss came up with the idea to hand out free sauerkraut juice to all the workers as a “cure” for their hangovers. Even with the juice and other safety measures, 11 men died during construction, with 10 of them losing their lives when a section of scaffolding fell through the safety net. The Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic on May 27, 1937, and since then approximately 112,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily.