Did construction workers ever sit on metal beams to eat lunch? If so, why?

Time for a Straight Dope classic: Why do so many Native Americans work on skyscrapers?


Why do so many Native Americans work on skyscrapers?

Lord, what happened to that other post?

Fixed link: Why do so many Native Americans work on skyscrapers?

Ummmm, I think I broke the boards…

Waitaminute!!! They’ve got a freakin’ crane!!! Capable of lifting heavy I-beams to, well, wherever they are. Why no use the crane to take you down for a nice safe lunch?
Alternatively, they could leave their lunch on the ground, and use the crane to bring it up at lunchtime.

Is anyone seeing what I’m seeing? All the posts after my second post are nested inside my post (including the forum selection thing and the quick reply box). The reply page does the same thing in reverse. I’ve logged out and back in again. Is it just me or a board thing?

Uh, what the hell? :smiley: What’d you do!? It’s like ball lightning! One o’ them there nesters, ay-yup…

Weren’t fallen tools a hazrd? Certainly there must have been a provision to catch wayward tools, apparatus, lunchpails, gimcracks, etc.?

I’m seeing it. Firefox 1.0.2 on Linux.

I didn’t think it was possible to fuck up this badly. You should be proud of yourself.

I can see it too. Spooky! :eek:


Cranes are not made to transport people, just loads.

You must die!

My God, don’t do it again or this thread will dwindle away to nothing . . .

I think I’ve fixed the craziness, but I’m not sure what/why the heck it went like that. I’ll push it over to the Powers and see what they say…

I alone am best!

Uh… sorry.

Anyway, kudos to C K Dexter Haven. I guess I won’t be punching him after all. :wink:

Huh is that why I was never afraid of heights? I am a smidgen teeny bit Mohawk.

FWIW the Golden Gate Bridge was one of the first major construction projects to ban “stunting” and to enforce safety rules by firing workers who disobeyed. The book “Spanning The Gate” has some hair-raising stories from the ironworkers including some of the stuff that they used to do on previous jobs. A lot of it sounds like it was bravado, show the other guys that you had the Right Stuff.

Compared to some of those stories (walking out on a lone beam high above the street to retrieve a sheet of building material, in high winds, with no safety rope) eating lunch while sitting on a beam sounds like it would have been pretty simple.

[QUOTE=Duke of Rat]
A few more pics Here
On the pictures in that link show some workers having lunch on a completed section of floor.


I’m sure they didn’t always eat on a solitary beam, but if that was the only place to eat it wouldn’t phase them.

The Golden Gate bridge was also the first to use safety nets. Those whose lives were saved by the net formed a club.

I recently saw a documentary on the steelworkers from Kahnawake. One of the guys currently walking the girders in NY is a descendant of one of the guys in the photo, an indian who came from Montreal to build the Empire State Building. These guys are amazingly comfortable working many, many stories above the ground.

They all carry this spike that they use to join the beams while they’re riveting. I don’t remember seeing anyone riding on a beam while it was carried by a crane, but they would grab the beam and direct it into place, jab in the spike, and jump up on top of the new beam, pretty much all in one motion. After watching this guy hopping around, sitting down for lunch seems pretty tame.