Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association :: View topic - Ladder to remove wasp nest 'too dangerous', says council

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M.Wait
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Joined: Mar 22, 2011
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:24 pm Reply with quote Back to top
A pensioner who contacted her local council for help with a nest of angry wasps outside her bathroom window was told nothing could be done, because the job required climbing a ladder. Pendle council in Lancashire claimed that using ladders was too dangerous when environmental health staff were required to wear protective clothing and carry poison.

Judith Hackett CBE, Chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) response:
    "Dealing with wasps' nests requires the application of common sense by everyone involved - to decide how to do the job as quickly and safely as possible, whether on the ground floor or up in the eaves.

    One the reasons we need common sense is that there are no prescriptive rules on how the job can be done. All options are open, including ladders and extendable poles.

    It's the 'can do' attitude which enables common problems to be dealt with - and missions to the moon. Health and safety doesn't get in the way: the stinging criticism should be directed at the jobsworths not us!"


See full version on our news page:
HSE responds to The Telegraph article – “Using ladder to remove wasp nest R...

And the original article:
"Using ladder to remove wasp nest 'too dangerous', says council" - The Telegraph, 23 May 2011
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M.Wait
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:40 pm Reply with quote Back to top
I picked the above topic off our front page headlines and it made me smile. I always try to look at suitability of equipment rule

That's why I'm so glad that our next speaker on the 12th July is Martin Brooke - Vice Chairman of the Ladder Association who hopefully will answer some questions and hopefully dispel the myth

Why not come along and lets get some dialogue going. You may agree or disagree with what is said

Tapton Masonic Lodge, Shore Lane, Sheffield
1.30 for 2.00 start
12th July

many thanks

Mark
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C.Jerman
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:50 pm Reply with quote Back to top
Just taking a different tack, we only get to see the juicy bits form the story, but can I see a reason why tackling a wasp's nest from a ladder could be unsafe?

Yes I can. three point contact, insufficient room to foot the ladder, Uneven or soft ground etc. Not least to mention being stung by a swarm of wasps whilst up a ladder. Carrying the equipment, chemicals etc. Too high to use a ladder, nothing safe to rest it against. It's a long list. So if the response had been 'following an assessment it was felt that a ladder was not suitable in this instance and therefore we could not tackle the nest on this occasion' there might have been a different outcome.

I'm just playing devils advocate. I wouldn't want people to think that we should thumb our noses at people who say 'no' and crack on regardless in the face of obvious hazards.

However, given the history of this sort of thing, the story is probably built on a foundation of jobsworth safety and myth!! Just worth reflecting the tiny possibility that someone might actually have considered the situation and acted properly for once.

Nah, I'll get my coat shall I Smile


Chris
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M.Wait
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:01 pm Reply with quote Back to top
I'm hoping that you'll be at the meeting with questions at the ready. In reality it's about approaching the problem and coming up with a solution to carry out the task

I know that the Working at Height Regs is probably one of the most Controversial regulations we have, but in fairness some quite nifty gadgets have come out into the marketplace as a result.

Regards

Mark
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P.Marsh
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PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 1:29 pm Reply with quote Back to top
The truth is that "nothing could be done, because the job required climbing a ladder" is wrong in all senses:
    1. Climbing a ladder is not required, thought it may be the first thought
    2. Ladders are NOT banned
    3. What was the finding of the risk assessment? Was there a risk assessment?
    4. Have alternatives been looked at? There are a WIDE range of alternatives to ladders and as Mark indicates there are now many innovative solutions coming to market as a result of the myth's and lies perpetrated by some people following the revised WAH regs.


Chris, you're completely right - it may be inappropriate to use the ladder in this case - but the article omits too much information (sorry another opinion warning...) - as with much of the popular media when discussing safety.

Re-reading the article (very poorly written and biased) the council have put in place a safe method - using a pole instead of a two-man job and ladders.

However a quick suggestion - it was out of the reach of the pole, but located above her window (could this not have been done from inside further reducing manual handling risks of handling the pole).
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M.Wait
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 8:07 am Reply with quote Back to top
Now that's working at height

Like the harness

M

http://news.uk.msn.com/photos/week-in-pictures/photos.aspx?cp-documentid=158183698&page=3
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