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Mission Madness: Skyscraper daredevils push health and safety limits

Daredevils

The London Shard is the tallest building in the European Union (1,016ft), but that’s not stopping Alain Robert aka “spiderman” from setting his sights on climbing it. However, much to his disappointment, notably because of health and safety fears, the Shards’ owners were granted an injunction which prevents Mr Robert from putting one foot on its glassy exterior. Previous landmarks Mr Robert has conquered include the Empire State building and the Eiffel Tower. He has been arrested several times in the past for attempting unorthodox climbs but has also got permission several times to scale many landmarks. Mr Robert does not use any harnesses, only his bare hands and suffers from vertigo, but has managed to climb skyscrapers all over the world.

Many other illegal and risky challenges of the same calibre are done all over the world. One such episode included russian dardevils scaling the Mercury City Tower in Russia where the top of the building has a permanent temperature of below zero. They meticulously planned the whole escapade, sneaking past guards to facilitate their amazing conquest.

A group of Londoners have successfully and illegally climbed the Shard and now may be subject to legal action from the authorities. The group managed to bypass the buildings high security level. Three members of the group climbed nearly 80 stories and took breath taking pictures 40 miles across London. The Shard’s developer, denied the £435million building was a security risk.

The UK law on climbing buildings without permission would most likely result in the guilty party being charged with “tresspassing”. Also one may be charged with endangering the lives of others, ie “reckless behaviour” . The owner of a building that was “trespassed” would want to distance themselves from any liability connected to the person climbing it. It is not trespassing if the owner of the building has allowed permission to climb. One could get around the “reckless endangerment” accusation by climbing with full safety gear, but most daredevils don’t climb with health and safety in mind…

 

Not quite so exciting but one incident that does stop you in your tracks was where a person wanted to clean his windows so risked health and safety protocol by climbing out onto the balcony, which, was witnessed by shocked on-lookers. This  incident is being investigated by Bath & North East Somerset Council. He seemed to look perfectly safe (as caught on camera below) and this dosn’t seem to have been a stunt of any kind.

However, health and safety guidelines for cleaning windows include risk assessing the area and HSE advise “where external cleaning from height is the chosen method, using the safest equipment is the best approach to reducing risk.” but there isn’t a great lot of literature on cleaning the outside of windows. Some kind of mobile scaffolding is what is most ofden used.

The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has strict regulations on the use of scaffolds to ensure they are safe to use. Whenever scaffolds are in use (be it for window cleaning or some other outside maintenance work), fall protection such as guardrails and safety nets must be provided on scaffolds more than six feet high. Hardhats and footgear are standard. Rolling scaffolds for window cleaning must be securely locked in place before use.

 

 Watch it and cringe..

Sources:  sky news,  daily mail,  hse,  live leak,  cleanlink,  telegraph

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