Posted by: sharemore1 | October 14, 2011

Rear Window Redux

I’m in my own reality show, a live action remake of Hitchcock’s Rear Window.  Here’s the synopsis:

Amateur photographer and blogger Sharon Morris, retired from a career in workplace safety and health, writes in her apartment in Hanoi.  Her rear window overlooks a narrow street and several other apartments, one under construction.  Everyday she is forced to watch workers exposed to serious safety hazards.

Last week I photographed a utility worker falling from the electrical wires he was working on (See Falling from the High Wire).

Working at Heights

This Monday a crew of young men started bricking in and patching holes in the building directly across the alley.  They were about four stories up, in sneakers, standing on crude scaffolding made by nailing a few boards together.   They had no hard hats or safety harnesses and were working much higher up than the utility worker.

“Platform for executions,” it turns out, is another definition for scaffold.  I could hardly bear to watch, but I couldn’t stop myself.

Friendly Wave

The next day, as if divining my distress, one of the men showed up in a hard hat. They knew I was watching them, which also made me nervous.  I didn’t want to become a distraction.  Every now and then one would wave at me.

Moving the Scaffolding

They worked their way down the wall, moving the scaffolding each time they descended.  They pried off the few boards nailed to supports stuck in the wall, picked up the loose boards and moved down to the next level, patching the holes as they went.

Yesterday the construction workers finished their job without incident, removed the scaffolding and disappeared to the other side of the building.  It’s lonely today, staring at the empty wall.  I worry about them.  Somehow I convinced myself that watching over them kept them safe.

Breaking news:  As I was working on this blog, I glanced up to see another utility worker standing on the same clump of wires where the man fell Saturday.  But this time it was different.  He was wearing a hard hat with a chinstrap and a leather belt to tie off to the utility pole.  I looked down to see a ladder against the wall.  Not OSHA-approved of course, but a ladder just the same.  The man clipped the wires, untied his safety belt and climbed safely down.  (Do you suppose someone in the government is reading my blog?)

Cutting the Wires

Climbing Down the Ladder

Stay tuned.  I sit at my desk, camera ready, like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window.  You’ll be the first to hear if there’s another installment of my reality show.


  1. Whether or not the government is reading your blog, you appear to be making a difference! Keep up the good work, these men can’t help but feel your concern and interest in their welfare. It’s a wonderful life, Jimmy.

  2. Wow! Quite different from construction here. I think much of our worker safety regulations came from unions.

  3. You’re perfect.

  4. Great reporting and writing!

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