In the past week, nearly a million people have seen James Kingston's YouTube video of him climbing a 92m-high tower crane in Southampton and swinging with one hand from the top, high above the docks.
Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) has issued a warning that the industry must take action to reduce the chances of some idiot killing themselves on a construction site in a bid for glory.
CPA chief executive Colin Wood said: “Principal contractors must take responsibility for site security, and make sure that unauthorised people cannot get in, whatever the time of day or night. Construction sites and construction plant can be hazardous places for the untrained, and it goes without saying that climbing a tower crane without proper protective measures is just foolhardy and dangerous.
“These irresponsible publicity seekers just do not consider the unnecessary stress and upset this stunt would have caused for innocent people if it had gone wrong. They also do not consider the impact on the emergency services who may have to put themselves at risk to rescue trespassers who get into trouble. There are many controlled opportunities for thrill seekers which do not involve trespassing or risking a detrimental impact on construction personnel or the general public.”
There is a general duty under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 Section 3 for contractors to safeguard members of the public, as well as a clear duty under Regulation 13(6) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 for the contractor to take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site.
Mr Wood added: “The long summer evenings and good weather may act as an extra incentive for the thrill-seeker, but safety and security are year-round issues. The whole industry has a role to play here.”
However, he recognised that his warning could itself add fuel to the fire. “The CPA thinks that care must be taken to avoid adding further publicity to a dangerous practice. This can only increase the reward for the publicity seekers and encourage copycats.”