In the past 48 hours a statue of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protester, Jen Reid, has been installed and then removed from the plinth that was previously home to the statue of slave trader/ investor Edward Colston.
The installation was carried out just after dawn on Wednesday. Understandably there were very few photographs taken of the crane, a large tractor mounted PM loader crane, however the few we have seen indicate a well planned lift safely carried out with the statue well slung.
24 hours later however it was a different story when the statue was removed by Bristol City Council, which is incidentally responsible for local health and safety issues. You might have thought that a lift organised by the local authority would have been at least as professional and safe as the ‘rebel’ installation lift. Sadly the polar opposite was the case. A skip company which owns a grab type ‘muck away’ loader crane was called in to remove the statue and transport it to a council museum. It certainly does not appear to meet the standards expected for any type of suspended lift, particularly a high profile one in a public area. A single very dodgy web sling was used attached to a hook welded to the side of the loader crane boom.
This in a city that is home to one of the largest and most professional crane rental companies in the country - King Lifting - which would probably have been more than happy to have carried out such a high profile lift? The following video shows the removal lift taking place
Whatever you may feel about the mob removal of the original statue, its unauthorised replacement and whether the council was right to remove it so quickly, we all expect national or local government will work to a standard at least has high as those demanded from privately owned businesses, let alone rebel statue installers. They should set the best example possible, especially when they know that the operation will be recorded and carried on national and even international news services.
You cannot place all of the blame on the skip company, although it might want to look at its web sling inventory?, and it could have warned the council that contract lifts are not it area of expertise... Perhaps it did and was told... “this is just a scrap collection job, a grab and a dumpster will be just fine”?!