Show the Reality

The comments in the recent letters column on safety are very interesting and right on target, except that the comments are misdirected (ENR 1/31 p. 4 ). The individuals should not be chastising ENR for showing construction activities the way they really are. The comments should be directed to the contractors, owners, unions, subcontractors, insurance companies and OSHA personnel who continue to condone such inappropriate work methods.

I appreciate that ENR shows the reality of the construction industry’s attitude toward safety. By showing the lack of safety, especially on major projects, ENR is doing us a favor by letting us know that although we have come a ways in safety, we still have a long way to go.

Messrs. Moore, McCoole and Levensailor should be applauded for pointing out the safety concerns shown in the photo contest. Their concerns and criticisms should be directed at the companies that allow the unsafe practices.

If ENR changes its policy and only shows "safe" work sites, the industry will be deluded into the "Emperor’s New Clothes" syndrome. Should jobsites with good safety practices be shown in ENR? Yes. And, ENR has done that in numerous editions. Thank you for being the true "Reality Program."

My initial reaction to "Too Many Violations" in the letters section was one of dismay. How could a photo showing a multitude of safety violations appear on the cover of a magazine such as ENR? But after reading your editor’s note and then realizing the cover garnered such strong reactions from people in the industry, my dismay turned into something much more positive.

The letters you printed about the cover photo indicate to me that there are many in the industry who do care deeply about safety and are able to identify and react to safety hazards that they encounter. Bravo to all of you! (Safety issues aside, the cover made for a dramatic image.)

Another View

Your editorial, "Smart Workers Won’t Work for Stone Age Firms," was very insightful but missed the mark by claiming that the construction industry was born when "people first crawled out of their cave looking for a better life" (ENR 12/27/04 p. 84). According to the Bible, the first construction project in history occurred when Cain built a city "east of Eden" after God forced everyone out of the Garden of Eden. So, the construction industry was born because gardening God’s way was no longer an option.