The workers behind our cranes

Our crane operators on the new hospital building construction site.

Recently we went out on-site to have a chat with the boys behind the lifts. Meet Craig, Sebastian, Ruben, Brendan and Ken, our very own Westmead Redevelopment project crane drivers.

Which cranes do they each operate?

  • Craig and Ruben operate The Iron Maiden, which is located in the new main plaza entry construction zone.
  • Brendan and Sebastian operate Cranye West, the largest of all three cranes which sits in the middle of the site.
  • Ken operates Sir-lift-a-lot, which is the crane closest to Redbank Road.

What are they working on?

Ruben: The Iron Maiden is currently busy working on the construction taking place for the new main plaza entry to the central acute services building. This includes moving kibble, steel reinforcement and concrete from one zone to another as we prepare the foundations of the site.


The on-site cranes as seen from Hawkesbury Road.

What does your average day look like?

Brendan: We usually start climbing up to the controls at around 6:45 in the morning. From that point onwards, we are usually in the cranes until around 5:30pm when we come down. We usually stop for morning tea and lunch. Some of the guys will come down for that and others will stay up at the controls.

Sebastian: I would say every day is different. We lift so many different types of construction material including formwork, steel reinforcement, construction equipment, skip bins full of rubbish; later down the line we'll be even be lifting window panels into place, which will be a very different type of lift. Some days we get high wind alerts through the on-board computer up at the controls - this connects to an alarm to let us know that operations are unsafe. So sometimes we may go up only for part of the day, or sometimes not at all, depending on weather issues.

Left to right: Crane drivers Craig Downes, Ruben Bastias, Sebastian Duarte, Brendan McGuinness and Ken Greaves.

How does it take each of you to get to the top?

Ruben: It usually takes Craig and I around five minutes or so to get to the top of The Iron Maiden

Sebastian: Brendan and I usually take about 10 minutes to get to the top of Cranye West

Ken: I'm a bit older than these guys, so I usually take around 15 minutes to get to the top of Sir Lift-a-lot!

What do you bring with you when you go up for a day?

Ken: Usually fruit, lunch and lots of water.

What do you like most about working in your specific role?

Craig: I definitely enjoy the solitude and being able to work in relative peace and quiet

Ken: For me, it's great to get out of the house and away from my family!

Brendan: It's hard to argue with the view sitting 78 metres above the ground, so that's a pretty big bonus.

How many lifts do the cranes do in day?

Ruben: The bigger cranes (Cranye West and Sir Lift-a-lot) can do anywhere between 100 to 150 lifts in a day. Working on The Iron Maiden, which is a bit smaller, we generally lift a bit less than this amount. However, with the rapid rise of the structure over the course of the year we'll definitely lifting more and more.

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