My dogman iceman!!!
The dogman (For all people not in Australia a dogman is the equivalent of a crane chaser or signal man) on a tower crane crew is a high responsibility job, they not only have to sling up the load safely but must direct the crane operator often when visibility is limited or non existent to ensure the landing, lifting and safe travel of the load occur without incident. There is a saying in the industry that "a bad dogman can make a good crane driver look bad" whilst true it is also true a great dogman can make an average crane driver look good. I have had bad dogmen, god dogmen and really awesome dogmen throughout the years. In this post I am going to discuss the two worst dogmen i have ever had 'frootloop' and 'iceman!'
I got Frootloop as my dogman on my first job, how this came to be was the tower crane operator was leaving, I got trained up as the crane operator on a remote control crane, got licensed and then he left and we needed a dogman. I was working for a labor hire agency and they dont really seem to have any idea. They sent me a guy in his 30s, he obviously had very little if any experience and a really bad attitue... oh and was bat s**t crazy! On his first day after i just met him, on the concrete slab he did a headstand, for no reason, just started to stand on his head for a few minutes. I should of just told him to leave the site then and there but I was too nice I guess. For months I had to endure Frootloop and his stupid ways, he would instead of slinging up formwork frames stick a piece of timber through the frames and hook up the timber, of course I would not lift it and he would try for five minutes to argue it was fine to lift due to the breaking strain of timber. Another time he hooked up a brickcage, and gave me the all clear (I had no visibility on this lift) I did not trust this guy one bit so just hooked up slowly, the cage was on a balcony and got caught on the roof directly above, eventually it came clear and shook the hell out of the crane making it shake back and forth for minutes. I went off my head at him but he didnt seem to care. He got beat up at a night club (he was really argumentative and unlikable) but told us he fell off his bike, so he had to take a week off, I got a replacement dogman that was bad, got rid of him and eventually got a pretty good dogman. Frootloop still works in the industry here and there, and is still a mediocre worker thanks to his bad attitude and apathy towards the job.
Iceman was my dogman on a site down at Wollongong (about an hour south of Sydney) This guy had an awesome work ethic, and was tough as nails. Previously he was a steel fixer (and no he wasn't an islander unlike 95% of steel fixers around here) his family were farmers and he worked on the farm as a kid and he just was a hard worker. He would hook up a load, then run up 4 flights of stairs and unload it, then go down the stairs and to the next building and climb up 4 flights again and do the next lift. Doing this all day. He was also a top bloke, good to have a chat too. Only problem was that Iceman had a hell of a temper, not always but just on random days. I couldnt put my finger on what the issue was but yeah he was angry, he would want to fight a lot of people and the bad thing was he was pretty strong, he had functional strength. One time he went off his head saying he would throw me off the building, he was serious so I told the builder he has to go, there was only a month or so left of the job so we had the leading hand take over as dogman. I wondered the cause of Icemans anger, until a really rough looking brickys labour who looked obviously like a hard drug user told us that Iceman had a serious Ice (methamphetamine) habit. His angry days were a drug induced psychosis filled with rage. I felt bad for getting rid of Iceman, he was a good guy generally. I guess he was the affect of drugs and their negative results.
Oh and the name Iceman we tried to give it to him while he was working there, we had no idea of his drug use but we all had names from Topgun. I was Mavrik, the leading hand dogman was Goose and we gave Iceman well... Iceman, even wrote it on the radios. Iceman didnt want a part of this and didn't like the name, I guess I now know why.
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