Sunday, June 27, 2010
Three guys and a ladder
Let's say you're driving down a street in Boston that is lined with old, overhanging trees, Melville Avenue in Dorchester for instance, and the branches need pruning. This requires the following equipment: A cherry picker to get into the high branches, a dump truck to collect the refuse, a pickup truck with lights to block off traffic, cones and signs to demarcate the work zone. Each worker will be assigned cups of Dunkin' Donuts coffee.
Besides a man with a saw in the cherry picker, there would be a couple of extra personnel, let's say three but more probably five, to staff the operation on the ground when the branches come down. One man would do the actual work while the others monitor the coffee supply. There would be one supervisor at all times to make sure everything goes according to plan and one additional supervisor to stop in and monitor progress. Of course there would also be a police officer, officially there to direct traffic but his or her time will mostly be spent on a cell phone or just enjoying the shade while watching the progress.
We were driving down Prytania Street this morning in front of Touro Infirmary where such a pruning operation was going on the New Orleans way. The whole outfit consisted of three guys and two ladders. One ladder was 24 feet tall and the other was a 12 foot model. One guy was the saw man, climbing up and down the ladders. One guy collected the branches as they fell and stacked them on the sidewalk. The last guy directed traffic while holding the ladders.
We passed again after an hour and the crew had moved a little further down the street. There was no evidence of any accidents and work was proceeding apace.