The clip, filmed in an oil yard in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, has been posted on the internet site YouTube.
It shows a workman laughing and whooping as he is spun through the air by the arm of the machine, narrowly missing stacks of industrial crates.
The incident took place at the premises of the firm Scomi Oiltools last May but the video was posted earlier this month.
One employee was dismissed and two others left the company following an investigation into the stunt.
The Health and Safety Executive branded the prank "irresponsible" while police said it was "reckless".
An HSE spokesman said: "HSE condemns the irresponsible and dangerous behaviour being shown on these YouTube videos.
"Working in the construction industry is a high risk occupation. Last year 59 construction workers were killed and many thousands more injured or suffered ill-health.
"These videos show and encourage irresponsible behaviour that could have gone seriously wrong and led to the death or serious injury of their friends and co-workers."
He added: "HSE encourages all in the construction industry to condemn such videos and help stamp out this type of unsafe behaviour."
Grampian Police inspector Roddy MacInnes said: "This is an extremely foolhardy and reckless act that could easily have ended in tragedy.
"Clearly the people involved have given no thought to the potential impact on themselves or their families let alone the emergency services who would be expected to pick up the pieces.
"Over and above the stupidity involving the actions of these people could be construed as a criminally reckless act."
Scomi Oiltools confirmed that the incident took place at its Peterhead premises on May 15 last year.
A company spokeswoman said: "As a result of an internal investigation one employee was dismissed for gross misconduct. Two others involved have also left the company.
"The company has a stringent safety policy and will not condone irresponsible behaviour of any nature."
Since the clip was posted on YouTube on March 14 it has been viewed more than 1,200 times.