Crane climbers are a serious problem for construction companies. And the problem is growing, thanks to "rooftopping.". This latest social media trend is driving thrill-seekers to climb cranes, dangle from scaffolding, and creep along skyscraper rooftops. They then post photos of their daring exploits. This week, a dramatic rescue in downtown Toronto drew attention to rooftoppers and their copycats.
Early on Wednesday morning, April 26, 23-year-old Marisa Lazo climbed a construction crane, slid down a cable and was trapped on a pulley for at least four hours. The national headlines drew groans from project managers across Canada.
One Toronto crane operator estimates that trespassers climbed his crane more than 200 times in the 4 ½ years he worked at Toronto’s L Tower construction site. These rooftoppers would meddle with crane switches, empty fire extinguishers and generally cause mischief. At Radius Security, our Redhanded™ remote guarding cameras continually catch intruders trying to climb cranes and scaffolding.
Aside from vandalism, incidents like the one in Toronto can significantly disrupt work. During Lazo’s rescue, police cordoned off nearby streets during rush hour. Curious bystanders gathered to watch. Needless to say, productivity plummeted at the job site.
Under occupier’s liability legislation, although owners and occupiers do not have to protect trespassers from danger as they would for legitimate visitors, they cannot create a danger or act with reckless disregard to safety. (See, e.g., section 4(3) of the Ontario Occupiers' Liability Act and section 3(3) of B.C.’s Occupiers Liability Act ). It is not difficult to imagine a hazardous scenario where a trespasser is killed or injured, leading to a law suit against the owner and contractor. Even if the suit does not succeed, public relations could suffer and insurance rates may rise.
With the attention surrounding the Toronto crane rescue, copycat incidents are bound to rise. Project managers are asking how they can secure their sites and ensure the safety of workers and even rooftoppers.
What we’ve found at Radius is that the key is to stop crane climbing and other crimes in progress. There is no point showing up in the morning to find someone is dangling from your crane or has broken all your locks. Even CCTV and other video surveillance systems relying on a live guard monitoring cameras can miss these incidents. However, with Redhanded™ remote video monitoring, our Human Detection Technology™ continuously scans, detects and tracks suspicious activity throughout your site. If an intruder is heading for the cranes on a job site, the software immediately alerts security professionals. They can then assess and monitor any criminal activity and notify police—who catch the trespassers redhanded.
Here are some videos of crane climbers our Redhanded™ security cameras have caught in the act:
Climbing Cranes – May 14, 2016
Monkey Business I – May 23, 2016
Up, Down, In, Out – July 12, 2016
See Thieves Run – July 17 2016
Twin Capers – September 18, 2016
Monkey Business II – October 21, 2016
Woman rescued from crane by Toronto firefighter faces 6 mischief charges. (CBC News, April 27, 2017) 
Rooftopping gone wrong? Toronto woman charged with mischief after crane rescue (Global News, April 27, 2017) 
High drama as firefighters rescue woman stuck on crane in downtown Toronto (Canadian Manufacturing, April 26, 2017)
Toronto crane operator says trespassers causing safety, security problems (CBC News, April 27, 2017) 
Note: This blog discusses general safety and security topics. It is not intended to provide comprehensive advice or guidance. In all matters of personal safety and security, we encourage readers to research topics in depth and consult a security professional about specific concerns.
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