Have you thought of… February 2010

12 February 2010

... putting an 89-year-old at the controls of a high-reach excavator fitted with a concrete cracker?

Well, specialist demolition contractor John F Hunt Demolition has given it a try. During the demolition of several tower blocks in Canning Town, east London, the contractor invited lifelong resident Alice Lashmar to inaugurate the demolition of Swanscombe Point.

The milestone marked the beginning of the huge £600m Canning Town and Custom House regeneration programme, Health and safety laws prevented Alice from delivering any real mass destruction and she instead posed for photographers in the machine’s cab, commenting: “I have seen Canning Town go through many changes over the years and it is about time the area was spruced up a bit.”

.... how many uses there are for a multi-purpose lubricant on a construction site?

The marketing team at WD-40 sent us a press release with the following construction-related suggestions: a regular squirt keeps tools rust and corrosion free; you can spray it on hands to prevent heavy adhesives from sticking; clean sticky residues from saw blades; or you can spray it on welds to detect cracks.

Our competitive spirit fired, we thought you might like to try spraying it on your feet to speed the removal of boots without untying laces. Got some interesting ideas of your own? Let us know at

...wearing protective gloves and goggles to eat your Christmas dinner?

A team from contractor Morgan Ashurst did just that during construction of The Point, a conference and events development at Lancashire County Cricket Club. The club’s management served up a surprise feast to workers as thanks for their hard work.

We appreciate the need for precautions on a live site, but some might say this is ’elf and safety gone mad. We don’t want to detract from the need for robust health and safety policies, but isn’t there a risk that extreme precautions make it easier for people to tune the real messages out?

If you’ve come across any overzealous H&S measures, email

… giving it all up to become a cloud controller?

This is one of the jobs we might be doing by 2020, according to The Guardian. Cloud controllers would increase the ability of clouds to reflect solar radiation to buy the planet time in the fight against climate change. Or how about a uranium recycler, responsible for converting bomb-grade uranium from warheads into low-enriched uranium for use in nuclear power plants?

If you can’t take these jobs seriously, be warned: The Guardian lists construction worker as one job that could be at risk by 2020. Apparently “3D printing”, allowing buildings to be built automatically from computer models, could spell the end of sites as we know them. Scary stuff.

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