By Eric Triplett
On a big project such as the one we’re covering in this video series, the rocks needed to give the cascades a natural look are quite substantial – some in the 36-inch range or larger, with weights rising to a ton or more in a few cases. Handling these brutes takes reliable equipment as well as distinct skill in working with harnesses and coordinating with people operating the very heavy equipment with which these materials are swung into place.
This is another case where our presentation in this video series on stream/waterfall construction is pitched at such a level that all but the most ambitious super-do-it-yourselfers out there will be intimidated enough to back away: Working with big rocks on sloping, irregular surfaces is dangerous, and we’ve done all we can to make that point clearly enough to chase off the faint of heart.
Along the way, I talk about a finger pinch that didn’t result in permanent damage, but I know it would be easy to find instances where the consequences of putting fingers in harm’s way have been dire. I also relate the story of a guy I know who bonked himself on the head and spent months getting back in the game again. Clearly, it’s easy to find construction-site stories that have unhappy endings.
My point is, it’s difficult enough in a fully professional context to get on-site staff to wear proper protective equipment and follow established safety rules. I can’t imagine tackling a job involving heavy equipment and huge rocks without knowing these stories or having enough experience to know how to work out a system of hand signals to guide the movements of the guy controlling the heavy equipment.
In my book, jobs this big call for lots of well-trained, disciplined workers; if I end up discouraging some would-be do-it-yourselfers and maybe incline them to bring in a pro, I think we’re all the better for it.
For an introduction of our general on-site safety message, click here.
Eric Triplett is founder and chief executive officer at The Pond Digger Waterscape Design & Construction in Yucaipa, Calif. He may be reached at [email protected] ponddigger.com.