I’ll take the bag

Spotted by an eagle eyed reader in the UK, a man riding a tower crane to the top of a building in a bulk material sack. See the video below.

It barely requires any comment, apart from to say that for this to have happened others on site, including the operator, must have thought that it was a good idea.

The incident apparently occurred last week at the site of a high rise residential unit being developed by Watkins Jones on Sherlock Street, Birmingham. Definitely one for our Death Wish series.


Good Morning Editor.

Lifting Operations are inherently dangerous as it ALWAYS involves the Defeat of Gravity and Vertikal readers may know that I have Researched and Recorded 1455 Crane and Lifting Incidents worldwide which has already Killed 832 Men & Women since Monday 7th May 2007.

Therefore close Analysis of 2023 Lifting Incident reports worldwide reveals
121 Incidents in total involving a variety of Machines as follows….

15 x Crawler Crane Incidents in 2023.
42 x Tower Crane Incidents in 2023.
47 x Mobile Crane Incidents in 2023.

The other 17 incidents were improvised Lifting Operations using Telehandlers, Aerial Work Platforms or what the UK Parliament mistakenly described as ‘Lorry Loaders’ instead of Truck mounted Hydraulic Cranes.

Close analysis of this research of Lifting Operations Worldwide during 2023 data reveals that…

67 x Persons Killed during 121 x Lifting Incidents worldwide during 2023.
No (None) Fatal Incidents in UK during Lifting Operations reported 2023.

Therefore may I take this opportunity to reflect on the most appalling example of a negligent act in 2023. When this particular Luffing Tower Crane depicted above was seen to Lift a Man sitting in a Fabric Bag up from Street level on Sherlock St, Birmingham to the top of this High Rise development without Incident in Oct 2023.

To summarise, with No Fatalities despite 8 Lifting Incidents in the UK plus 1 x Drink Driving Charge while in control of a 100t WLL Mobile Crane in Paignton on Monday 1st May 2023. It is interesting to reflect that overall this is a significant Crane Safety improvement over previous years and the very first time in 16yrs that No Fatal Lifting Incidents occured in the UK. So well done to all Directors, Managers, General Foremen, Supervisors, Crane Operators, Banksman, Riggers and Appointed Persons.

As Worker Safety is important, very Important and much too important to leave it to chance.

Kindest Regards and Happy New Year to all in 2024.
Mike Ponsonby

Jan 1, 2024

They abound
A 'ton-bag' is trusted to lift, well..., a ton. Over the heads of people below, traffic, HSE Inspectors and random photographers. Why would the whole thing fall apart and the crane fall over with, I dunno, 80-120 Kgs, just because he's not meant to be doing it? Unless my missus has thrown them out, I'm still meant to have a couple of bungee jump club T-shirts (you had to join the club to do it) which I don't recall ever killing anyone. The back of one of them says "You can't beat a B-J". It was very popular at the time.

Oct 23, 2023