#21 – Safety First!

Workman spraying beams. [Alamy image ref. B7FW5Y]

Under the pseudonym “Fabricate”, one of several I categorize my various Alamy stock subjects under, I have a growing number of building construction work images on sale. Obviously, to show progress in various stages of construction one has to be on hand or fairly near to a location to show present in any meaningful coverage when a building project may span six months to five years or more.

That, however, has proven to be the least of my problems in this category which, I increasingly suspect, is supplied free by PR agencies and the contractors themselves – especially when working on a large scale project. My main problem has been to capture activity on sites where those engaged in work or inspection have been wearing any of the recognized safety equipment such as helmets, reflective jackets or overalls, protective footwear, goggles or other eye protection, ear defender, respiratory equipment or masks for protection against breathing-in dust, sprays or fumes.

Added to that basic personal list – which most people should usually be wearing at least one item of – there is the on-site protection including ladders, hoists and lifts, handrails and edge barriers, safety nets and protective covering against falling debris!

Even on single single house building projects some of the above should always be worn and used as fixtures. But I suspect that to be true only in inner-city projects where inspection visits are more common, unannounced or lax through repeated casualness.

As a result, I have curtailed my normal “on-spec” coverage of building work and tend to seek out sites where full adherence to the safety rules and regulations are being complied with. Why? Because I find (although I have no sales proof) that trade magazines and journals only use images which have the correct procedures being seen to be employed. After all, there must be inspectors who check on these things and seek out contractors flaunting safety regulations. To borrow an analogy from the aircraft industry… “If you think the price of servicing is expensive… to should see the cost of an accident!”

Whenever I had had the opportunity, whilst renovating houses in years gone by, I frequently set-up a few posed shots of simple “D-I-Y” tasks which could be found on the regular “wants-lists” – from part-work publishers such as Marshall-Cavendish and Eaglemoss Publications – sent out on a monthly basis when they had major 104-part series under way.

The example above (a self-portrait) was one of many taken whilst restoring a Devizes house once occupied by General Wolfe… and from which numerous images were used for single reproductions as well as a 9-page feature in the specialist “Traditional Homes” magazine.

After several uses over the past 25 years, the original 35mm transparency was not in the best condition, but careful scanning using a Nikon 5000 CoolScan I brought out enough faithful detail and color to be acceptable by Alamy where it has more recently sold as 1/4 page size image on secondary page of USA-based website for 1-month under my “Fabricate” pseudonym.

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