Category Archives: Christians in Construction

Crane Collapse fine

UK crane company Falcon Crane Hire Ltd has been fined 750k UKP (about 1.1m USD) because of a crane collapse that killed 2 people.

What I find noteworthy in this is that the deaths occurred in 2006, the fine was just announced in 2016. The accident was  technically complicated because it involved bolts shearing because of metal fatigue and factors such as bolts previously shearing and what systems had been used to investigate things. So this case is a good example of the awful long drawn out consequences of a serious accident.

Ten years in court. Can you even imagine the legal costs to the company that had the accident? They also had to pay 100k UKP in legal costs for the other side. Maybe the company is insured – that’s highly likely – but do the insurance company pay all the costs or is there a limit reached after which…? It dragged on for TEN YEARS. And maybe they will appeal, maybe it might even not be over yet!

Then there is damage to their business, big customers that maybe say let’s go somewhere else, less embarrassing. People like me, who in their professional roles influence purchasing of services like cranes might just say play it safe, go somewhere else just in case. Then maybe there is compensation to the victims’ families, which could also involve more legal fees. That part for all I know may not even have started yet. The ten years of management time occupied by the case = what did that cost. Future insurance premium fees – will they go up?

People use a phrase very readily when they say “The true cost of an accident.” This particular tragedy looks set to be one of the court cases that enters the safety training textbooks.

Notable also is that the accident was prosecuted under sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974. It was apparently not prosecuted under the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations which are subsidiary Regulations to the 1974 Act. As a senior UK Health and Safety Inspector (HSE) told me, he doesn’t worry too much about detailed subsidiary Regulations (so-called in the UK Statutory Instruments), he just goes the for nice wide general 1974 Act, a law that basically says just make everything safe as far as is reasonably practicable. It’s a wide net, so it leaves little opportunity for fancy lawyers to wriggle out. “The law says it must be safe and there was an accident so clearly it was not safe,” is the crudely stated but essentially correct, perfect hindsight starting point that means health and safety prosecutions in the UK usually succeed.

Link to the full report at Safety and Health Practitioner website <– click

In all this technical interest and professional analysis, let’s remember that for everyone involved in the human and technical failings that led to a tragedy, it was not anyone’s intention for people to die in a terrible accident that would damage the company and leave people grieving. Whatever the human factors and motives that led the people and organisation to this terrible situation, people did not on that day believe there would be an accident. The problem is that neither did they on that day believe there was a reasonable chance there could be an accident. Nobody set out to cause harm, but inadequacies led to it anyway.

None of us are perfect except through Christ.  …he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone… (extract from John 8:7 KJV)

Prayer:
Jesus please help us to do our best very day to be safe and keep everyone else safe in their work too. Amen.

Christians in Construction

Construction is a rough and tumble industry. On a building site you will hear plenty of bad language, you will encounter primitive working conditions, poor education and illiteracy

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Construction is a rough and tumble industry. On a building site you will hear plenty of bad language, you will encounter primitive working conditions, poor education and illiteracy, occasionally appalling health and safety (seldom great health and safety), racism, sexism and every other kind of unpleasant ism – by no means from all people or everywhere, but nonetheless frequently and in varying degrees that adds up to an awful lot. You will also find believers of all the false religions, modern occult and paganism, vague don’t-knows, and hardline atheists. Preacher, expect a rough ride.

Construction, lets be honest, has a terrible image. There have been many campaigns such as in the UK the Considerate Constructors Scheme to try and fix that. It is improving, but it is still painfully slow.

And yet, construction employs millions of (mostly) men who at the less skilled end might struggle to find work. Also, because of construction’s image, some people who are highly skilled in construction get looked down upon as if they have low skills a – bricklayer who can build a vault, a carpenter who can make beautiful roofs doors and gates, and an electrician who understands the voltages Z-values, phases etc. There are also many highly qualified roles in and around construction – architects, structural engineers. Despite its image construction is not for dummies. And we need it – look around you – someone built the structure you are in (unless you live in a cave!). The roads, shops, schools, homes, hospitals, offices, factories. It was all constructed.

There is loads of construction in the Bible, including detailed descriptions and specifications – the temple, the ark etc.

I know, after 9 years in the construction industry, and as a Christian working most days in the construction industry with a different two or three of over 50 companies each day, visiting two or three construction sites each week, that the environment can usually feel very intimidating to revealing anything about one’s Christian beliefs, let alone spreading the gospel.

However, do you think it was more or less easy to talk about the truth about God to builders 2000 years ago? Do you not think that back then construction was a dirty hard brutish endeavour that nevertheless employed all sorts of people – that it would not have been perhaps even a lot harder back then to talk about souls and heaven and angels and miracles to the men on a construction site?

Jesus Christ Himself had a background as a carpenter.

Jesus collected followers from every walk of life. Manual workers from hard dangerous industries like fishing, and educated people such as tax collectors. Jesus walked and talked and helped diseased and outcast people. He helped hated Roman soldiers, he loved convicted criminals even as He was dying with them on the cross.

So if you are a Christian in Construction, don’t be too shy. Sure it will be a rough ride sometimes. Being mocked for Jesus sake. However, I’d chalk that one up as a victory and a signal that maybe you are onto something with that person, you obviously said something that touched a nerve enough that it wasn’t just ignored.

Most important. As you set out each day, pray.

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Brest – Own work The Millennium Cross on Mt. Vodno in Skopje CC BY 3.0 File:Милениумски крст на Водно крај Скопје.JPG Uploaded: 31 October 2008

There is an interesting group of Christians working in construction in the UK. They are called the Corinthian Network. I don’t know much about them (yet?) so cannot recommend, but here is a link to them. Corinthian Network <– click