By: Kelly Holdaway On: December 05, 2014 In: Blog Comments: 0

Now that these festive fools have been caught on camera flouting health and safety rules left, right and centre, they definitely won’t be on Father Christmas’ present list this year.

We’ve taken these unbelievable stories from who publish a regular Death Wish feature on their website, highlighting stupidity from around the world when it comes to lifting and working at height.

Here’s five things to remember to stay safe this festive period. Don’t forget that elf and safety is not just for Christmas it’s for the whole year!

#1 – Acrobatics belong in the circus

Riding the crane hookIt is always best to leave below-the-hook acrobatics to the professionals, remember you are on a construction site not in the Cirque du Soleil!

These thrillseeking workers are performing their own stunts, riding the hooks of cranes to try and cut corners on a job and pretty much breaking every rule in the book when it comes to working at height. For example this daring worker and his ladder were carried by a mobile crane using just lifting chains in Potsdam, Germany.

More crane acrobaticsIt doesn’t take a genius to work out that riding crane hooks or loads, let along without any harnesses or PPE, is asking for trouble. Some of these amateur stuntmen even risk it in cold, wet and windy weather when it would be even easier to slip and fall. Read more about these workers with a death wish riding crane hooks in South Africa, Sochi, Russia and the UK.

#2 – A Christmas tree is not worth risking life and limb for

Christmas tree installations

A Christmas tree is perfect for bringing holiday cheer to those around you, but a beautifully decorated tree definitely isn’t worth breaking bones over.

The poor chap clinging on for dear life on the left is working on the mezzanine floor of a Hilton hotel in Shanghai. He’s used wood to create a make shift seat so he can place the Christmas tree at a six metre height above a hard marble floor.

The man on the right is using a wooden pallet and telehander to add lights to this Christmas tree at his home in Tuxford, Nottinghamshire. We can barely look!

#3 – A crane is a crane, not an access platform

Riding on the crane boom

This one gives us vertigo just looking at it! This crazy individual is performing a death-defying balancing act, standing on the nose of a crane’s boom to clean or coat the underside of this building’s roof using a long handled brush. He even has his bucket hanging from the auxiliary hoist hook!

He must have climbed onto the boom when it was nearly horizontal and close to the ground then ridden on it as the boom was lifted up and telescoping. We don’t think that hard hat would have done much good if he lost his footing!

#4 – Two lifters are not always better than one

Incorrect tandem lift with glass vacuum liftersAlways make sure that you’re using the right machine for the size and weight of your glass. On this job in the Czech Republic, two different vacuum lifters are being used for a tandem lift and this can be very risky.

Ideally, one higher capacity vacuum lifter would be used here. To choose the correct machine for your job you can calculate the weight of your glass and the minimum pad spread dimensions required to safely lift it by using the formulas in our Glass Lifting Safety Guide.

To conduct a proper tandem lift with two vacuum lifters, we would recommend using two of the same machine so the load weight is equally distributed between the lifters. The smaller lifter on the left looks like it wouldn’t be able to lift as much as the 1000kg capacity Hydraulica 1000-A machine on the right. If the smaller lifter is covering half of the load’s surface, it needs to be able to handle half the load’s weight to avoid the risk of the machine failing, rather than letting the higher capacity lifter on one side take most of the weight.

We would also use a spreader beam to make the lifting points vertical, suspending the machines from a central point puts more strain on the glass as the lifters are being pulled sideways and up

GGR has the largest range of glass vacuum lifters in the UK available for hire and our technical team are on hand to help you choose the correct machine for your lifting project. We also provide accredited training courses to make sure you don’t commit a vacuum lifter crime!

#5 – Leave equipment design to the professionals!

Working at height health and safety failsIf you don’t have the lifting or access equipment that you need to complete a job safely, don’t attempt to improvise with your own crazy creations!

This chimney repair job in Kent was attempted using a ladder standing in the bucket of a telehandler (left) and multiple ladders were also by this amateur tree surgeon (right), balancing them on the tree’s branches. All wearing zero PPE of course.

Using a car as mobile access platformThese three inventive gents made their own one of a kind mobile work platform using a car, two drums (one on the bonnet and one on the roof rack) and a wooden plank for them to stand on. What makes this health and safety nightmare even more strange is that the workmen are using long handled rollers so surely could have painted to building’s facade from the ground?!


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