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Pictures - Unsafe Work

What are They Thinking?

How would you describe this perimeter scaffold:

  • Cheap and nasty?
  • Downright deadly?
  • An obvious case of reckless endangerment?
  • All of the above?

Ladder bracket scaffolds are not suitable for general construction work.

They should only be considered for very light tasks, such as sign-writing.

Even then, they should only be used where there is no practicable alternative.

At first glance, the photo on the left seems to be an example of good work practice.

Certainly the use of elevating work platforms, such as this truck-mounted travel tower,

is an appropriate choice for a wide range of light, short duration work tasks.

But choosing appropriate equipment for the job is only half the story.

It is just as important to ensure that the equipment can be set up in accordance with the

supplier’s documented safe use instructions in a manner that safeguards both workers and the general public.


“Riding the hook” by sitting in a sling and being lifted by a crane is a highly dangerous work practice

that has been illegal for decades, as any certificated crane operator should know.

But as this week’s Absolute Shocker proves, there are still people in the construction industry that either

don’t know or don’t care about the most basic rules for site safety.

Small wonder the industry is still plagued by unacceptably high fatality and serious injury rates.


Yes , you are seeing this correctly;

the crane truck IS driving along a road with the boom raised;

and YES, that is a load of roof trusses swinging on the hook!

The contributor that sent us the photo wrote:

“I spotted this crane truck coming towards me and couldn't believe my eyes.

It was swaying all over the place and the driver was watching his rear view mirror more

than watching the road. I did a U-turn and managed to snap this picture.

I actually caught up with him as he reached his destination.”

We can only hope there was some friendly discussion, highlighting the error of his ways!

Apart from the obvious risk of contacting overhead powerlines, and the risk of the swinging

load striking a passing vehicle or pedestrian, there is the also the instability of the truck.

The raised centre of gravity greatly increases the risk of the crane truck overturning,

especially when cornering.




Clearly the strategic positioning of the rubbish skip will ensure that if this thrill seeker were to fall,

he won’t injure anyone other than himself, and keep the laneway looking neat and tidy too !


When this week’s Absolute Shocker was first spotted by a subscriber in down-town Tripoli,

he could have been excused for thinking he was witnessing a last-minute training session for Libya’s

diving team before it set off for the Athens Olympics.

But as the close-up photo on the right shows, it was nothing of the sort. Rather than a deep diving pool

below, there was a busy street.

Twelve stories above the heads of the unsuspecting pedestrians, seconds before these photos were snapped,

this man was standing on the cantilevered planks feeding a four metre pipe through the hole in the wall.


For all that is wrong in this photo, we simply had to award a ‘Gold Star’,

for the appropriate wearing of high-visibility clothing.

Just think how easy it will be for the rescue crews to see him bobbing

up and down ‘like a cork in the ocean’, as he is swept down this fast-flowing river.


Question: How do you safely excavate to lay foundations for transmission tower?

Answer: Not like this! Battering back or using a trench shield are two safe methods.

A couple of sticks propping a huge boulder is not trench shoring!

For all the personal protective equipment this worker is wearing,

it would hardly save him from death by sudden engulfment.


This death trap scaffold ‘on stilts’ was discovered by an inspector,

who not only ordered the renderer off it immediately,

but he also ordered it be dismantled whilst he was still on site.

This prime candidate for Bodgey Scaffold of the Year has a number of features w

e were less than impressed with, especially the use of garden rocks to anchor the rakers.

But, the nylon rope used to lash the aluminium work platform to the 2” by 4” timber ‘standards’

more than takes the cake.


Heavy duty frame trestles are a quick and convenient way of providing scaffolds for bricklayers and block layers.

But most types of bricklayers’ trestles are not designed to incorporate guardrailing and toeboards.

Therefore, they are only suitable for low- height work. This week’s Award winner shows the danger of using

a scaffolding system in the wrong circumstances.

A straight drop from the unprotected edge of the working platform into a void is blatantly tempting fate –

a fate that could so easily cause yet another premature funeral for a construction worker.

Supporting a trestle at the mid-span of a couple of planks over the void is also an obviously unsafe practice that

could result in the structural collapse of the loaded scaffold.


This daredevil has placed his life in the hands of:

(a) Four reinforcing bars protruding from a slab, as his excuse for an anchor point.

(b) Some rope he probably found lying around somewhere on site, hooked to an ordinary belt, not a safety harness.

(c) The notorious “pendulum effect” that would kick in if the flimsy structure collapsed under his weight.


Here's a safety tip for heavy equipment operators:

make sure you have enough clearance if you attempt to drive under an overpass.

This operator either forgot about what he was driving or seriously misjudged the clearance.


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