NINA Blog: Get out of there!

“Being a Sandfill master comes naturally to me: as a little boy I was often out with my father, who was also a Sandfill master. After 33 years I still love working all over the world, with people from different cultures. It can be really great, but it also has its problems, such as when it comes to assessing dangerous situations."

"Our work comes with a lot of risk. I’m happy to have all the tools at my disposal to make it safer: using Dynema, screening off the snap-back zone (see Qatar article, ed.), more work consultations, which is what we have been doing since NINA. This has definitely made everyone more alert.

Yet, in practice, I still find myself yelling ‘Be careful!’ or ‘Get out of there!’ on a regular basis. Like a CD that’s stuck on repeat. A large part of the problem is that, on every project, you work mostly with new people, who sometimes don’t know the first thing about the work. So you keep explaining why certain behavior is dangerous. In long-term projects this repeating of information really pays off and you genuinely end up building something, but when you have a lot of short-term projects one after the other, you get worn down. Because you are the one responsible for the safety of those men. And I do feel responsible. Which is why I’m glad there is a training pool for foremen. Working with experienced people, who know the risks and are able to set the right example, makes the work a lot safer.”

By Gijs Speelman, Sandfill master