Our November 2010 Photo of the Month features the Rev Keith Hadfield (at left) ably demonstrating the hazards inherent in Industrial Chaplaincy work!

Taken in 1966 at the new BNZ building site on the south side of Cathedral Square in Christchurch, a jovial looking Rev Hadfield stands precariously on a steel girder projecting from the building. One notes that there is nothing under him except airspace. It now seems quite incredible that such a nonchalantly posed image could be taken – and with the express intention of publishing in the Presbyterian journal of the day.

This image vividly demonstrates differing work practices and safety laws compared to today and a raft of contravened safety laws and work practices can be listed. One strongly assumes that Rev Hadfield did not have a signed permit from the site foreman before entering the workplace, had never watched a safer workplaces presentation, did not read and sign the site hazards register (did it even exist?), no hard hat is in evidence (the workman is holding his), “hazard” warnings signs or tape are not in evidence, and safety harnesses are very conspicuous by their absence. We do note however that Rev Hadfield has wisely chosen to wear chunky rubber soled shoes instead of slippery leather soled shoes!

A Presbyterian Chaplain’s duties could include visits to offices, industrial workplaces, construction sites, hospitals and mental health care facilities, aged care facilities, the Military, the Air Force and the Navy. Although obviously posed for the camera one has to admire the Rev Hadfield’s desire – with the willing assistance of an unknown workman – to vividly portray that Chaplaincy was indeed “No Work for Weaklings”.

By Donald Cochrane
Curator of Photographs

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