Saturday, June 07, 2008

Eight Miles High

The recent crane collapse in New York has caused some talk on the job lately. Unfortunately, cranes falling are not that uncommon even here, away from the real high rises. I mean, it doesn't happen all the time but I know of several incidences in my short career. These photos are from my one time in a tower crane several years back. We were building onto a hospital in Anniston, AL. This crane was only at about 200 feet but to me it was pretty high. They sway so much that I actually felt motion sick as I reached the top. Another thing that is about as common is to have the crane operator die in the crane of natural causes. I guess since most operators are usually older men and the cabs of the cranes get very hot, several of them have had heart attacks. By the time anyone knows what is going on and can get to them (it takes about 15-20 minutes to climb to the cab) they are already dead. One we know of died during a concrete pour. A lot of the high rise floors here are poured with a crane and buckets that holds 2-3 yards of concrete. The operator had enough wits about him when he realized what was happening to hit the emergency stop on the crane but he unfortunately, passed away.
I took this photo while I was sitting in the operator's seat. The floor of the cab is Plexiglas so you can see straight down. I gave me a really uneasy feeling at first. Another thing the surprises a lot of the guys is when they find out that often times in the summer, the tower crane operators will be nude. It gets so hot in the cabs, as they are essentially glass boxes, many of the operators will take all their clothes off. This was the case with another one that died in the crane and when our guys got up there to him they were quite surprised with what they found.
There was another young man killed on a site this week not far from here. In fact, it was on a job that my company was supposed to have gotten as general contractor. Two construction workers in less than a year is a little unusual. From the reports it sounded like he was electrocuted. You know, when I see some of you out there working on construction projects of your own and I say, please be careful etc., I don't think that you all are stupid or don't know what you are doing, it's just that we see so many bad things, it makes you constantly aware of what can happen. We have safety crammed down our throats and stuff still happens every day on jobs and it happens in the blink of an eye. I mean, I know of 2 incidences where I was just 3 or 4 inches from buying the farm myself. You maybe don't really find out how close you came until later and it is very sobering. So, please be careful anytime you are climbing on something, working with electrical or gas or working under an object that is not completely secure.
I haven't felt like posting much lately even though I have several things going on at the house. My mood is still kinda flat and I just don't feel like I have much to say that would be of any interest to anyone out there. I learn so much from all the other blogs out there and hope I provide some new ideas maybe, to someone, but I guess I feel like I don't have anything new to share. Anyway, maybe I won't be away too long. Ya'll be safe.


*The Byrds

9 comments:

molly said...

ER, sorry you aren't feeling up to par lately, I hope you are feeling better soon. Maybe take a walk around that beautiful home of yours, walk in the trees on your property, take in the simple beauty you have around you and give yourself some rest time girl.

Blessings:)

Rurality said...

Dang, I got dizzy just looking at that second picture. I could never go up in one of those things!

I hope you get your groove back soon... this hot weather probably isn't helping.

hillbilly2be said...

Oh, man, Annie! That picture from the cab of the crane is insane. I have motion sickness just from looking at it. :)

You are such a wonderful person! Life is so short, being careful is just recognizing that. You have so much to share, including the extremely unique perspective you have as a woman working in heavy construction, and as a person wanting to build her own house in a manner that is true to her philosophy on life. You inspire me all the time.

I know you know this, deep down: next year, things will be wonderful. The house will be further along. You will have more time for the garden. You'll decide to stick with what you are doing, or chuck it in favor of the unknown.

Regardless, a funk never lasts forever. If you are like me - and I think you are :) - you'll be out of it before you know it.

Take care, pal.
Ron

Robbyn said...

Annie, are you making any pottery lately? I'd love to see some of your work. I'm glad you wrote about reinforcing safety. I've seen a lot of chances being taken in other areas such as chainsaw use and with drilling and saw equipment and it gives me the heebiejeebies to see how close those blades have some to exposed arms and legs...whew!

I understand taking a break. And I'll be loving it whenever other posts come along :)

pablo said...

Every post you make is to notch. You should write when you feel like it an not to any "obligation" to your peeps. Look at my blog. I make a post every day, but I'm not sure all of them are as great as every one of yours is consistently.

Floridacracker said...

That's right, just chill, and don't worry about the posting until it's fun again.
We'll be here.

edifice rex said...

Hey guys! Thanks so much all of you for your kind words. I'm not discouraged with the house or anything, I think my heart is just a little low if you know what I mean.

Hey Molly! I have been taking some walks and such and have been trying to rest some on the weekends. I am very lucky to have what I do.

Hey Karen! Well, I got up about 2/3's of the way and thought, "I can't do this" but then remembered that the guys would never let me live that down so I went on. It was fun really! the hot weather is not helping but it will get better.

Hey Ron! You are very sweet! Thank you. I am enjoying what I am doing, I guess I just have some personal stuff getting me down little but it will pass!

Hey Robbyn! I need to make some pottery this week actually. I have a few orders. You can go here, http://edificerex.blogspot.com/2007/09/since-you-asked.html to see some of my stuff. Not some of my best in my opinion but it's OK. YEah, everybody needs to be careful. We had a good carpenter cut his thumb off this past year with a circular saw. It can happen to anybody.

Hey Pablo, you sweet cake! Your posts are excellent. I'll be back soon; I just don't want to sound like a whiny thing right now or appear ungrateful for what I have.

Hey FC! Thanks! I wish I had your consistantly good attitude and outlook.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

There is not reason a tower crane cab cannot be air conditioned. Workers here have aright to refuse to do dangerous work. Surely temperatures 40C plus would be considered dangerous.

Safety on a job is everyone's responsibility.

Whne you are young and fit you think you are invincible. I remember walking along the top of an 8 inch block wall instead of going down a ladder and moving it to reach another spot.

I hope you shake your low mood soon. Mine has been pretty flat lately also, in spite of summer finally arriving here.

edifice rex said...

Hey Mr. Philip! Actually, the tower cranes are air-conditioned, it's just that the units are small and when in the sun so much they don't get really cool. It's not so hot in them that an average healthy person would stroke out. Many of the operators are older, have smoked for years, eat poorly etc. You know, and they sit for 8-10 hours a day. they don't get a lot of aerobic activity. I don't mean they are slugs but sometimes some of them are not too healthy to begin with. We have the right to refuse work that we believe to be unreasonably dangerous also without penalty. Or to stop work if we become so overheated as to believe we are in danger. they treat us well but sometimes stuff happens.
I'm sorry to hear that your mood has not improved much. Hopefully you will be up to par again soon. I'm not too down just kinda not feeling too sure of myself right now. We will feel better soon though!