London Workers Recreate Famous New York Photo From The Depression

The famous Depression-era photo taken by Charles C. Ebbets in 1932, which features construction workers sitting on a steel girder high above the Manhattan skyline, has been recreated -- only this time using London as a backdrop.

Photographer Michael Crompton took the photo last year, while he was working on Heron Tower in central London, the Daily Mail of London reports. The 46-floor building is the third highest in the U.K. capital.

In both photos, 11 men are pictured while on their lunch hour, eating, reading and drinking. But while the one shot in New York in the '30s shows some men shirtless and in short sleeves, the comparable London photo was shot with the men in heavy winter coats -- and for good reason: It was about 15 degrees.


The London workers are also wearing hardhats and other safety gear, items that workers in the original photo weren't required -- or felt the need, it seems -- to wear.

The Mail notes, however, that the group in London didn't get permission to have the photo taken, which was shot at nearly 800 feet above the ground.

In the 1970s, both U.S. and U.K. governments adopted laws to protect workers in all kinds of workplaces. Those laws mandated, among other things, equipment and training that would reduce injuries and fatalities.

Although accurate statistics aren't available, it is estimated that some 14,000 workers were killed on the job in 1970, before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

By 2009, that number had fallen to about 4,340.

(For more information about U.S. worker safety through the decades, see this interactive timeline of OSHA's 40 Year History.)


Next: Are You Smart Enough To Be A Construction Worker



Stories from AARP


Filed under: Employment News

David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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