Crane driver takes napping to new heights

by Iain Hopkins22 Feb 2013

It conjures up imagery akin to that famous photo of Empire State Building construction workers taking their lunch break on a beam high in the sky – of course, sans safety harnesses.

Risky? Legal nightmare? You bet. But that was the 1920s. Cut to 2013, one would think things would be different.

Yet earlier this week a Melbourne office worker couldn’t believe his eyes when he looked outside the window to see a crane driver taking a nap on a ledge 25 metres off the ground right in the CBD.

“I saw a crane driver get out of his cabin, walk around the top of the crane and decide to take a power nap for 10 or 15 minutes on the edge of the cabin,” ‘Sam’ told ABC Local Radio.

"We were just gobsmacked at how someone could do that."

Sam told the ABC he was worried about the man's safety because the ledge he was sleeping on was no more than 30 centimetres wide. "It was pretty dangerous when you consider what he was doing and he had no harness as well, which is even more concerning," he said. "I found it really concerning when you consider the length that some of the union members go to trying to push safety on the worksite. They've obviously got a union member not practising what they preach."

Yet according to Chris Brett, the CFMEU delegate on the worksite where the photo was taken, the man was not asleep. Instead, he said the driver was still in the crane and the man pictured was a mechanic who was operating a lever to “climb” the crane.  "It's not the actual driver that it's been alleged to be sleeping, which is just absolutely ludicrous," Brett said.

“It's all good and well to say something through a window when the person's got absolutely no knowledge of the activity. That's the truth of the matter. Everything's documented.”

Picture: User submitted, ABC


  • by vertigo 25/02/2013 10:48:03 AM

    On a similar note, I work in offices in Martin Place Sydney and last thursday was watching some workmen, who are currently renovating No 5 Martin Place, balancing precariously on scaffolding with no harnesses, whilst installing the saftey mesh. Watching them holding on with one hand and balancing on one foot made my life flash before my eyes. A simple slip would have ended in tragedy. I don't understand why people take such risks. Surely there are working at heights requirements that were being ignored in this instance?