I shot this from the sixth floor of a hotel in Cochin. The man is working on a mall coming up on M.G. Road. He’s perched on narrow iron bars without a safety harness. Naturally, one cannot work at these sites without a head for heights, but surely nobody, however sure-footed, should be asked to do this. It flouts laws that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
As I watched, fascinated, the man crouched, and holding on to a bar with one hand, began hammering away with his free hand at something on the wall. His demeanor out there was casual, even insouciant, exchanging banter with his colleagues at the window and carrying himself as though he were at ground level.
Then a thought struck me: how on earth was he going to get back into the building?? He was well below the window he climbed out of.
Oh, he just hoisted himself up onto the next level; here he is, returning to the safety of the building via the window he clambered out of.
How much does it cost these builders to invest in some basic safety equipment? I’ve read in the newspapers about workers like him falling to their deaths. The largest mall in India, Lulu Mall, has just opened in Cochin with great fanfare.
I have a simple question: how many workers died building it?