Staffs & Worcs Canal Lock tail footbridges: Health & Safety assessments

John Slee made this Freedom of Information request to British Waterways Board

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear British Waterways Board,

Having seen the temporary scaffolding structures on many of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal's lock tail footbridges, I have sent in a formal complaint to Jim Stirling, BW Technical Director, because I believe the structures, in many cases, threaten the Health & Safety of Boaters and other Canal Users. They also spoil the visual amenity of the locks.

In order to clarify the reasons for these structures, please let me have the following information through the Whatdotheyknow.com website:

1) A copy of any recommendations or correspondence with/from the Coroner, Geraint Williams, regarding the inquest on Robert Fidoe's death, including, if you have access to it, the Coroner's report.

2) A copy of each of the full risk assessments undertaken for each lock on the Staffs & Worcs Canal: for each lock, the last assessment before June 2011 and any prepared since.

3) A copy of all recommendations or reports produced as a result of the above risk assessments.

4) The name/job title of the person who authorised the installation of the temporary scaffolding structures and the budget that the expenditure was taken from.

5) The cost of the work to date, including any fees and professional fees.

Yours faithfully,

John Slee

Information Request,

Dear Mr Slee,

Thank you for your e-mail which I received today.

I am pleased to inform you that once we have confirmed the extent to which the regulations permit the release of the information which you have requested a response will be sent to you on or before 29th April 2012, being 20 working days of receipt of your request.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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John Slee left an annotation ()

The first level complaint has now been sent to Dean Davies, BW West Midlands Manager.
The BW Director responsible for Health and Safety is Vince Moran, who has had the email with the details of the complaint forwarded to him for information.

Information Request,

12 Attachments

Dear Mr Slee,

I am writing further to my acknowledgement of 29th March and your request for information. I am now in a position to respond to your request and have set out our reply below:

1) A copy of any recommendations or correspondence with/from the Coroner, Geraint Williams, regarding the inquest on Robert Fidoe's death, including, if you have access to it, the Coroner's report.
Please find attached a copy of the Witness Statements made by Tony Stammers, BW Head of Health & Safety, and Nick Worthington, BW Waterway Manager - South Wales & Severn. British Waterways does not hold any further information or documentation relating to the inquest into Robert Fidoe's death.

2) A copy of each of the full risk assessments undertaken for each lock on the Staffs & Worcs Canal: for each lock, the last assessment before June 2011 and any prepared since.
Please find attached copies of all visitor risk assessments undertaken along the Staffs and Worcester Canal. Please note that only document 'Staffs & Worcs VRA (SW-021 to SW042) (1)' refers to bridge handrails under reference number 10685344.

3) A copy of all recommendations or reports produced as a result of the above risk assessments.
A copy A copy of the notification 10685344 attached for your reference. No further documentation was produced as a result of the visitor risk assessments undertaken at lock sites on the Staffs & Worcs Canal.

4) The name/job title of the person who authorised the installation of the temporary scaffolding structures and the budget that the expenditure was taken from.
Vince Moran, Operations Director.

5) The cost of the work to date, including any fees and professional fees.
The contract cost so far are £32K. This figure includes scaffolding, fabrication & installation. There have been no professional fees to date.

If we haven’t reasonably met your expectations in relation to a request for information or you believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you should write in the first instance to Kelly Radley Head of Customer Relations, 64 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts WD17 1DA outlining your concerns and asking for a review to be undertaken. Your correspondence will be acknowledged and a review of your case will be undertaken by one of British Waterways’ directors.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Yours sincerely,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 | This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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Dear Sarina,

Thank you for your reply. With regard to the Inquest, (point 1) can you please confirm that British Waterways did not receive a Rule 43 Report from the Coroner advising you what action he thinks you should take?
Thank you.
Yours sincerely,

John Slee

Information Request,

Dear Mr Slee,

Thank you for your e-mail.

I can confirm that British Waterways did not receive a Rule 43 Report from the coroner.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
British Waterways  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB  | Tel:  01636 675740 | Mob:  07785 295 274 | Fax:  01636 705584 |
This summer the canals and rivers that British Waterways cares for and maintains in England and Wales will become part of a new charity called the Canal & River Trust.
Want to know more? Go to - www. waterscape.com/findoutmore
Follow the BW Customer Service team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/BWCustServ 

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David Struckett left an annotation ()

1. the bridge in question IS used by boaters approaching the dry-dock and moorings behind, and NOT so much when locking. (lock gates can be crossed easily here). A single handrail HERE would actually be a GOOD THING. Why is it taking so long? (if I had been in charge, I would have completed it a week after the accident - meanwhile debating any corrections or other applications to involve all parties. This would have reduced criticism, enabled sensible consultation, and reduced subsequent expenditure, especially on needless scaffolding).
2. BW's identification of OTHER BRIDGES to be SIMILAR is incorrect - this bridge is unique, in that it crosses a lock-chamber, and hence a concrete cill and deep water - all the others identified cross the canal, and are therefore inherantly safer.
3. Drawings submitted to date of new handrails to be fitted suggest BW are ignoring all aspects of heritage or conservation principles - they are not round in section like every other handrail on locks anywhere or around the Stourport Basins in particular (at least six designs). Initially they also ignored BOATER's safety - but fortunately these issues have been addressed - we hope.
It would appear that BW's advice form the top is at fault, rather than engineering staff, however, we now have an urgent job to ensure that the new Canal and River Trust, taking over from BW this year, do not inherit the same structure.
David W Struckett, Stourport.

Allan Richards left an annotation ()

The following extract from BW's annual H&S report produced in January this year may be of interest in the context of this request -

4.2.4 The accidental death of a 12 year old male who drowned at Stourport Basin when he fell into the lock from his cycle when crossing a lock tail bridge with very low parapets is still under investigation by the Health & Safety Executive although the verdict of accidental death has been recorded. As a result of investigations following this tragic accident, 26 other lock crossings with similar risks were identified across the network. Work to install appropriate handrails is scheduled to be complete by April
2012. It is unfortunate that some boating groups have criticised our actions following this tragedy, claiming that our reaction is excessive. Such accusations have been robustly rejected.

The full document can be found on whatdotheyknow.com at

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/10...