Think Scaffolds are Dangerous? Try Working on Hong Kong’s Bamboo Scaffolding.

bambooSome jobs are just naturally scary.  Professional Bull Rider.   Alligator wrestler.  Presidential Election Pollster.  OK, that just seems scary this year.

And then there is construction work in Hong Kong. WOW!  Hong Kong is one of the last major cities to still use bamboo scaffolding on its building  projects.  Half construction workers, half circus performers, builders in Hong Kong hang from a framework of bamboo as they work, always keeping one foot wrapped around a stalk for balance.  They build the scaffold from poles as they go, tying off each piece with nylon strips.   The scaffolding may routinely rise to 50 or 60 stories.   It has been called the most dangerous construction work in the world and one study stated that Hong Kong sees about 36 fatalities a year out of every 100,000 employees, as compared to two fatalities for every 100,000 construction workers in the UK.

It is not known how many fatalities involve the crews who build the bamboo scaffolding and are highly trained, as opposed to the crews who use the scaffolding to work on the buildings.  According to one report, scaffold builders must go through a 100-day course before going out on a job.  Watching the scaffold builders work has been compared to watching a spider balance on a thin web, but see for yourself in this CNN report on the craft:

It is a nice touch that everyone has fall protection in the news report.  However, take a look at this home video someone took from their hotel room in India.   Tie off?   Not so much.

Makes you nervous even if you are working in a one story office.

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