More incidents take place at manned locks

The Oxford Times: Osney Lock in Oxford Osney Lock in Oxford

ENVIRONMENT Agency bosses have been looking into the issue of safety at locks along the River Thames.

The agency’s lock house study group has been comparing locks which are manned by a resident lock-keeper and those which are not.

Data compiled as part of the study suggests there are more health and safety incidents at locks which are manned, with an average of 6.75 incidents between April 2013 and March 2014 compared with just 2.75 at locks without a lock-keeper.

However, a survey carried out on visitors to locks shows they feel manned locks “look and feel” better.

At manned Benson lock last year six boats were stuck in the lock and one got stuck on a sandbank.

One EA worker was bitten by a tick and caught Lyme disease at the lock while clearing “vegetation” in June last year.

And in April last year at Goring lock, a pleasure boat crashed into the lock, and a woman was catapulted from the boat and suffered a bump on the head.

EA spokesman Ash Dobson said: “Through the Lock House Study Group we are working with boating representatives to ensure the look and feel of our lock sites and the services we provide are the very best possible given reducing budgets and austerity. Our discussions are very positive indeed.”

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Comments (6)

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12:56pm Thu 1 May 14

Cityview says...

Surely there is a major flaw in this research? Should its conclusion not be that there were more REPORTED health and safety incidents at manned locks? Unless all river users were surveyed there is little chance of collecting accurate data about incidents at all locks. If a river user has an incident at an unmanned lock are they likely to phone the EA and tell them? The only likely reason would be if the incident resulted in a claim against the EA.

When anyone with no training, knowledge or aptitude can buy or hire a boat to use on the Thames accidents are going to be frequent.

There is a danger this information will be used as evidence to reduce manned locks. The true motivation is asset stripping, the EA wanting to sell off its real estate to make a one off saving. The true cost will be the same number of staff spending more time travelling than doing what they are employed to do.
Surely there is a major flaw in this research? Should its conclusion not be that there were more REPORTED health and safety incidents at manned locks? Unless all river users were surveyed there is little chance of collecting accurate data about incidents at all locks. If a river user has an incident at an unmanned lock are they likely to phone the EA and tell them? The only likely reason would be if the incident resulted in a claim against the EA. When anyone with no training, knowledge or aptitude can buy or hire a boat to use on the Thames accidents are going to be frequent. There is a danger this information will be used as evidence to reduce manned locks. The true motivation is asset stripping, the EA wanting to sell off its real estate to make a one off saving. The true cost will be the same number of staff spending more time travelling than doing what they are employed to do. Cityview
  • Score: 8

3:13pm Thu 1 May 14

A Scroat says...

Cityview wrote:
Surely there is a major flaw in this research? Should its conclusion not be that there were more REPORTED health and safety incidents at manned locks? Unless all river users were surveyed there is little chance of collecting accurate data about incidents at all locks. If a river user has an incident at an unmanned lock are they likely to phone the EA and tell them? The only likely reason would be if the incident resulted in a claim against the EA.

When anyone with no training, knowledge or aptitude can buy or hire a boat to use on the Thames accidents are going to be frequent.

There is a danger this information will be used as evidence to reduce manned locks. The true motivation is asset stripping, the EA wanting to sell off its real estate to make a one off saving. The true cost will be the same number of staff spending more time travelling than doing what they are employed to do.
You are absolutely right. These pathetic box tickers are getting ready to reduce the number of lock keepers. When hire boat companies continue to send out hen and stag parties on large narrowboats with 20 minutes instruction it is a recipe for disaster. If the lock is unmanned there is nobody there to report the accident to. Stand on the Botley Road/Wolvercote/Foll
y Bridges when the river is flowing quickly and watch the carnage. I am sure the suits in Wallingford will get their wish one day and destroy the pleasure for boaters completely by running the river with volunteers. That is, of course, if it hasn't been ruined by these ridiculous hydro units.
[quote][p][bold]Cityview[/bold] wrote: Surely there is a major flaw in this research? Should its conclusion not be that there were more REPORTED health and safety incidents at manned locks? Unless all river users were surveyed there is little chance of collecting accurate data about incidents at all locks. If a river user has an incident at an unmanned lock are they likely to phone the EA and tell them? The only likely reason would be if the incident resulted in a claim against the EA. When anyone with no training, knowledge or aptitude can buy or hire a boat to use on the Thames accidents are going to be frequent. There is a danger this information will be used as evidence to reduce manned locks. The true motivation is asset stripping, the EA wanting to sell off its real estate to make a one off saving. The true cost will be the same number of staff spending more time travelling than doing what they are employed to do.[/p][/quote]You are absolutely right. These pathetic box tickers are getting ready to reduce the number of lock keepers. When hire boat companies continue to send out hen and stag parties on large narrowboats with 20 minutes instruction it is a recipe for disaster. If the lock is unmanned there is nobody there to report the accident to. Stand on the Botley Road/Wolvercote/Foll y Bridges when the river is flowing quickly and watch the carnage. I am sure the suits in Wallingford will get their wish one day and destroy the pleasure for boaters completely by running the river with volunteers. That is, of course, if it hasn't been ruined by these ridiculous hydro units. A Scroat
  • Score: 8

5:38pm Thu 1 May 14

cowleycowconjurer says...

It's pretty obvious that this just shows more incidents get reported when there is a lock keeper on site. Shouldn't a study try and show the number of incidents that are prevented by having lock keeper on site.

How many boats avoid getting stuck on sand banks because the lock keepers tell them where they are? How many people avoid a bump on the head because there is someone there to help out?

Maybe they should leave the river to be run by people who know what they are doing.
It's pretty obvious that this just shows more incidents get reported when there is a lock keeper on site. Shouldn't a study try and show the number of incidents that are prevented by having lock keeper on site. How many boats avoid getting stuck on sand banks because the lock keepers tell them where they are? How many people avoid a bump on the head because there is someone there to help out? Maybe they should leave the river to be run by people who know what they are doing. cowleycowconjurer
  • Score: 7

6:53pm Thu 1 May 14

wayzgooze1 says...

This is just another example of the EA trying to justify their plans to remove Lock keepers from their houses, surely they cannot believe that the public and river users can't see through these ridiculous statistics. For an organisation that boasts about the high number of university graduates it employs they are once again showing a total lack of understanding of basic facts, if there is nobody at a lock to report an incident to it won't be recorded. Whoever compiled these figures should have recognised this basic flaw and frankly doesn't deserve a job, I hope he/she is one selected for redundancy when it comes!!!!!!!
This is just another example of the EA trying to justify their plans to remove Lock keepers from their houses, surely they cannot believe that the public and river users can't see through these ridiculous statistics. For an organisation that boasts about the high number of university graduates it employs they are once again showing a total lack of understanding of basic facts, if there is nobody at a lock to report an incident to it won't be recorded. Whoever compiled these figures should have recognised this basic flaw and frankly doesn't deserve a job, I hope he/she is one selected for redundancy when it comes!!!!!!! wayzgooze1
  • Score: 5

7:57am Fri 2 May 14

stayingafloat says...

This is a pathetic attempt by the pen pushers to discredit everything that lock keepers do. I know quite a few lock keepers and they deal with many emergencies and dangerous situations unlike those sat in cosy offices trying to remove them from their jobs. The EA needs to wake up and treat these front line people with a bit of respect for once. Remember what they do for their local communities in the floods. To try and run a river with volunteers will lead to disaster.
This is a pathetic attempt by the pen pushers to discredit everything that lock keepers do. I know quite a few lock keepers and they deal with many emergencies and dangerous situations unlike those sat in cosy offices trying to remove them from their jobs. The EA needs to wake up and treat these front line people with a bit of respect for once. Remember what they do for their local communities in the floods. To try and run a river with volunteers will lead to disaster. stayingafloat
  • Score: 3

6:46pm Wed 7 May 14

Bob1953 says...

This is another example of the EA twisting facts to suit themselves to justify removing resident lock staff from the river.
Until recently I was the resident at Benson and I have to point out that the six boats "stuck in the lock" all happened outside normal working hours. I know this because it was my door the boaters knocked on for help, they could not have done so if there was not a resident on site.
The "boat stuck on a sand bank" happened at about 8.00 in the morning before I started work. The sand bank has mainly been caused by the EA dumping dredgings above the weir which then gets washed through the weir and deposited in the slack water.
The figures quoted are about as honest as the claim made by a, now redundant, manager that residents are not needed because " we have 400 people on standby". He omitted to mention that none of them were trained to operate weirs!
This is another example of the EA twisting facts to suit themselves to justify removing resident lock staff from the river. Until recently I was the resident at Benson and I have to point out that the six boats "stuck in the lock" all happened outside normal working hours. I know this because it was my door the boaters knocked on for help, they could not have done so if there was not a resident on site. The "boat stuck on a sand bank" happened at about 8.00 in the morning before I started work. The sand bank has mainly been caused by the EA dumping dredgings above the weir which then gets washed through the weir and deposited in the slack water. The figures quoted are about as honest as the claim made by a, now redundant, manager that residents are not needed because " we have 400 people on standby". He omitted to mention that none of them were trained to operate weirs! Bob1953
  • Score: 3

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