Picture of the day: unprotected steeplejack

March 18, 2011Jing Gao3 Comments, , , , , ,

A migrant worker from China’s hinterland stands on a scaffold of a high rise without any protection. Behind him is Shanghai’s important financial district Lujiazui. The photo was taken by a Sina microblog user who goes by the name 熊貓元気. Most employers, who are city slickers that take advantage of rural migrants’ lack of information or knowledge of labor rights, do not insure these workers against accidents or compensate them when job-related illnesses do occur.

A similar photo below makes the same point: Chinese rural migrants who move to the city to get jobs, work in hazardous conditions where their labor is exploited, their interests are not protected, and, their lives are placed in danger.


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3 comments to “Picture of the day: unprotected steeplejack”

  1. GarryC | March 18, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Not surprising, even here in the US (Bay area), Chinese employers often hire illegal Mexican and Chinese workers and exploit them. The government agencies that should be enforcing the labor laws seen to ignore this unless you bring it to their attention and even then they don't seem too interested in doing anything about it.

  2. Tom Jones | May 18, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    If you look very closely you'll see a bamboo platform about 2 feet below him.

  3. hardmanb | March 18, 2012 | Permalink Reply

    My grandfather was a high steel worker in New York back in the 50′s and 60′s. He once took me, as a child, up to a work area in an elevator to show me him and his crew at work. The steelworkers, most of whom were indians, were proud that they used no safety belts, and indeed took their breaks, ate their lunches and even napped at lunchtime lying across bare i-beams without any nets or harnesses.

    Many skyscrapers in China and Asia, exceeding 20 stories are still built today with bamboo scaffolding around the building. I know it sounds strange, but while scary to me, it didn’t seem to faze the steelworkers I saw, and they laughed and cavorted as if it was nothing to them.

    I doubt since OSHA and such other current regulations, that such unprotected work would be allowed in New York, but work safety and compensation rules are “trailing” in progressing to meet needs in all countries. I hope that China and other countries are at least steadily improving standards. As urgent as the human need is, such legal and bureaucratic change is slow.

    Are there any steelworkers out there? Do these conditions still exist in the USA?

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