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Santa Barbara was celebrated at Åsland

05 Dec 2018

Employees in Acciona Ghella Joint Venture, the client Bane NOR and subcontractors celebrated Santa Barbara at Åsland site the 4th of December.

The employees met in the tunnel for a mass with the benediction of the Santa Barbara statue, and later there was a traditional long lunch at site.

Statues of Santa Barbara were placed in the tunnel cavern, and the atmosphere was very different from a regular production day in the tunnel. The choir KOSAK were singing and over 600 attendees enjoyed the celebration. The production at site and in the tunnel was stopped the 4th of December.

As a long-standing tradition, one of the first tasks for each new tunneling projects is to establish a small shrine to Santa Barbara at the tunnel portal or at the underground junction into long tunnel headings. This is often followed with a dedication and an invocation to Santa Barbara for protection of all who work on the project during the construction period.

Santa Barbara is protecting the tunnel workers because they normally are working in underground conditions and this kind of jobs every day requires a special attention. The situations are changing for different reasons and it’s sometimes hard with dust, water, darkness, movements with big loads, use of explosives, etc. Safety routines and measures are essential in tunnel production and all the underground jobs requires special attention because it is risky and sometimes uncomfortable and physically demanding.

Because the tunnel industry differs from other normal jobs and generates a special culture, all these things make the tunnel society believe that someone has to protect the workers, on the top of the safety routines. It is also a form of superstition that you are afraid something wrong will happen in the project if Santa Barbara does not have a central place and monitors the work. Basically a mix of tradition, cultural Catholic background, and good safety routines

Santa Barbara is the patron saint for people working in tunnels, and is celebrated around the world the 4th of December.