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Thread: New NAN form with requirement for written risk assessment

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Please, get a chainsaw licence, and have someone else there when you do it. Please? For me?
    And herein lies the thing. Will a license make me any safer? Almost certainly not. Admittedly having someone else present would make it easier to get help in the event of an accident.

    But round here plenty of people have them, none have licenses (not a requirement to use it in your own property), most don't even have proper ppe. But all use them for turning dead tree branches into firewood.

    Does a piece of paper actually make the job safer?

    Remember the culture in a little village is different. To drive a forklift or telehandler on an urban building site an appropriate ticket is generally required. Most farmers never bother with such things (or banksmen for that matter). If working at height is needed in a building site a cherry picker or scaffolding is hired. It's not unusual on the farm here to see a couple of scaffold planks lashed across the forks of the telehandler. Is it any less safe? Maybe slightly. But the difference is farm workers tend to be thinking about getting the job done rather than about litigation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    And herein lies the thing. Will a license make me any safer? Almost certainly not. Admittedly having someone else present would make it easier to get help in the event of an accident.

    But round here plenty of people have them, none have licenses (not a requirement to use it in your own property), most don't even have proper ppe. But all use them for turning dead tree branches into firewood.

    Does a piece of paper actually make the job safer?

    Remember the culture in a little village is different. To drive a forklift or telehandler on an urban building site an appropriate ticket is generally required. Most farmers never bother with such things (or banksmen for that matter). If working at height is needed in a building site a cherry picker or scaffolding is hired. It's not unusual on the farm here to see a couple of scaffold planks lashed across the forks of the telehandler. Is it any less safe? Maybe slightly. But the difference is farm workers tend to be thinking about getting the job done rather than about litigation.
    Or there own safety or well-being!

    Compare the work-related fatalities and injuries between Construction and Agriculture (with Forestry and Fisheries, admittedly) here.
    Peter

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    And herein lies the thing. Will a license make me any safer? Almost certainly not. Admittedly having someone else present would make it easier to get help in the event of an accident.

    But round here plenty of people have them, none have licenses (not a requirement to use it in your own property), most don't even have proper ppe. But all use them for turning dead tree branches into firewood.

    Does a piece of paper actually make the job safer?
    But if you're doing it at work..? No, it might not make you safer, but it might. Okay, whatever, I don't really know. I figured it was a training course about chainsaw safety.

    I'll change my statement to be...

    Please use full PPE when doing chainsaw work, and have someone else there so if you do have an oops they can call the ambo instead of you having to stay conscious + have fingers.

    If you want I'll ask my brother if he has any pics of his leg after his little oops. And he came off lightly. The scar is horrendous.
    Ian Wilkins
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    OK - so the next camp planned for the Troop is a basics camp - they asked for it. They want to plan the menu, do their own cooking and generally get on with it without leaders being too close - great!
    We have a local site which is basically an area of wooded land with quite a few lumps and bumps. There are basic toilets and running water but no electricity. It is ideal for them to set up a camp, play whatever games they invent, chill around the fire, perhaps make mud ovens, etc.
    Since the camp will be totally youth led, I cannot predict everything they will decide to do - somethings are obvious, but others depend in the imagination of a group of 10-14 year olds.
    What would I put in the NAN for the risk assessments - activities not decided yet so we will be doing it dynamically on the day - and for the menu - Scouts haven't told me yet.
    Someone has not really thought it all through.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    I have decades of experience. It has not been accident free. A couple of incidents still give me the cold sweats and a sick feeling. I still consider myself a safe leader. In fact, sometimes I wonder if I've lost my bottle.
    Most memorable accident - air rifle shooting. We had gone through keeping everything clear when closing the breech. The rifles had tape on them either side of the breech - keep everything out of this area we told them. We made them practice with us watching very closely and we continue to monitor through the several sessions of shooting that they each had. It was in the safety reminder at the start of each session.
    Last session and one of them who had behaved really sensibly the whole time with fingers well clear, for some reason closed the breech and took a neat little notch out of the end of his thumb. We saw him do it but too late to stop him. We had done everything to manage the risk but accidents still happen.
    John Alexander,
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    But if you're doing it at work..? No, it might not make you safer, but it might. Okay, whatever, I don't really know. I figured it was a training course about chainsaw safety.

    I'll change my statement to be...

    Please use full PPE when doing chainsaw work, and have someone else there so if you do have an oops they can call the ambo instead of you having to stay conscious + have fingers.

    If you want I'll ask my brother if he has any pics of his leg after his little oops. And he came off lightly. The scar is horrendous.
    What I didn't say is that I've undertaken informal chainsaw training, and only use it to cut wood that's secured in a saw horse, not to fell trees. Therefore a 3 day course to get a license would be over the top.

    The point I'm trying to make is formal qualifications don't necessarily lead to improved safety.

    As an aside, I've had more near misses using the circular saw, because with a chainsaw I'm always very aware if the risk. The circular saw / chop saw are everyday tools.

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    As an aside, I've had more near misses using the circular saw, because with a chainsaw I'm always very aware if the risk. The circular saw / chop saw are everyday tools.
    I do use a circular saw for DIY but treat it with a LOT of respect, it's not quite as dangerous as a chainsaw but it's not far off.

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    As far as i know the Great orme incident has still not been fully resolved- wasnt there supposed to be a follow up in June or July??
    If there has been an incident /accident then without knowing all the details its impossible to figure out what happened, and how or if it will affect how you operate in the future.

    A couple of years ago i had an unusual phone call from the local authority regarding a serious incident where a gas stove exploded and caused some injuries, I told them that it wasnt us, or anything to do with us - as no Scouting activities, or anything else involving equipment from the HQ was taking place at that location on that date. We've sometimes provided tents and equipment at this location as well as run coffee/tea/refreshments from a mess tent at similar events, but this time round we werent there.
    It transpired that a local (youth) sports club had set up a refreshment stand using those briefcase stoves to heat water and a large jam pan of soup and it was one of these stoves that exploded.
    Out of the back i did a bit of investigating as we had two of those stoves in the stores, and it was decided to dispose of them as their usage history was unknown and as a result we couldn't be sure that the had been used properly in the past.
    for those that dont know if you put a large pan on top it can cause the stove to become warped and some of the gas fittings can then start to leak, as the base is enclosed gas can pool in the base - boom.


    Witten risk assessments can be done, but depending upon who you talk to depends upon the expectations usually based upon their own experience which in turn depends upon where they work, the HSE have a few guides starting with a HSE MYth " Myth: Risk assessments must always be long and complex" https://www.hse.gov.uk/myth/may.htm
    On its own, paperwork never saved anyone. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself - action is what protects people. So risk assessments should be fit for purpose and acted upon.

    OK, if you're running an oil refinery you're going to need a fair amount of paperwork. But for most, bullet points work very well indeed.
    Another big issue with a written RA is that it can fail to take into account any changes, it may look fancy, you could have gone to the nth degree and worked out a risk score for each part of an activity to give it an overall score, with fancy coloured graphics and so on, print it off, put it in a folder and impress the DC - or you could just have an effective bullet point list ( standard operating procedure) which is easier to read, easier to comunicate, easier to act on, and easyier to change on the fly as and when situations change .
    Overly complex pre written RAs that just sit in a folder, or as a file on a PC slowly going stale as time passes - which people then rely on to say "look we've got a Risk assessment" and then use that as an excuse not to bother with a dynamic RA presents a greater danger

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard T View Post
    for those that dont know if you put a large pan on top it can cause the stove to become warped and some of the gas fittings can then start to leak, as the base is enclosed gas can pool in the base - boom.
    That's not the only reason. A large pan extending over the gas canister can redirect heat down and cause it to overheat with the same "bang".

    They really are garbage. The only thing they are suitable for is boiling a kettle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    That's not the only reason. A large pan extending over the gas canister can redirect heat down and cause it to overheat with the same "bang".

    They really are garbage. The only thing they are suitable for is boiling a kettle.
    It could have been the same people, but at another even we were doing breakfast cobs ( rolls ) and they were doing teas/coffees we had our rough and ready "ugly looking" fokker cast iron stoves hooked up to a "heavy ungainly" cylinder of propane, they were showing off their nice and neat briefcase stoves which were clean looking light weight and easy to move and handle even had piezo ignition, while we were using "dangerous" matches

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragonhhjh View Post
    So you do actually do risk assessments. You just don't write them down.
    Of course.

    It's a wee bit like Ian said up thread there. I'm more cautious now than I've ever been. I might not take much of the scout program very seriously (I'm really not up to speed on badges etc), but I take the Be Prepared idea seriously. More than that, I'm not feart of taking advice from other leaders if they know more about a thing than I do.

    But, you have to have some confidence in what you're doing, or you'll never do anything. That's not hubris, it's just years of dogged experience.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    And herein lies the thing. Will a license make me any safer? Almost certainly not. Admittedly having someone else present would make it easier to get help in the event of an accident.

    But round here plenty of people have them, none have licenses (not a requirement to use it in your own property), most don't even have proper ppe. But all use them for turning dead tree branches into firewood.

    Does a piece of paper actually make the job safer?

    Remember the culture in a little village is different. To drive a forklift or telehandler on an urban building site an appropriate ticket is generally required. Most farmers never bother with such things (or banksmen for that matter). If working at height is needed in a building site a cherry picker or scaffolding is hired. It's not unusual on the farm here to see a couple of scaffold planks lashed across the forks of the telehandler. Is it any less safe? Maybe slightly. But the difference is farm workers tend to be thinking about getting the job done rather than about litigation.
    I also have a chainsaw, it can be a daunting prospect, but if you know what you're doing, it's okay. As you say, if someone isn't in the know, then it would be easy to be intimidated by it - they are dangerous and if you do make a proper mistake, it's not likely to be mild in nature.

    That said, we all drive our cars most days. It's all relative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    That's not the only reason. A large pan extending over the gas canister can redirect heat down and cause it to overheat with the same "bang".

    They really are garbage. The only thing they are suitable for is boiling a kettle.
    They're fine for one or two people cooking with normal sized pans when on a camping holiday. If I go for a night or two, i take a couple of them rather than taking the big gas stove.

    What they're not in any way suitable for is cooking for large groups, whether it be a patrol of scouts, a troop, etc, using large commercial-catering type pans. We did have one in our kit store... we used it for leaders to make tea and coffee with a small camping kettle if we were out supervising an expedition, or whilst setting up for an event - although even then we would more often than not use a trangia.

    Like anything else, theres a right tool for the job and a wrong tool.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    + have fingers.
    If my fingers are anywhere near the blade of a chainsaw, then i deserve to lose them, as both hands should be on the handles of the chainsaw. One handed chainsaw use, and particularly holding the work piece with a hand whilst cutting it, are ways of asking for accidents.

    I'm sure they use chainsaws one handed down on the farm though

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    If my fingers are anywhere near the blade of a chainsaw, then i deserve to lose them, as both hands should be on the handles of the chainsaw. One handed chainsaw use, and particularly holding the work piece with a hand whilst cutting it, are ways of asking for accidents.
    I did a bit of a "naughty" bit of drilling the other day holding the workpiece in one hand and drilling with the other (don't worry, not in a Scouting context). And cut my hand open.

    While putting the drill bit back in the case.


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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Of course.

    I also have a chainsaw, it can be a daunting prospect, but if you know what you're doing, it's okay. As you say, if someone isn't in the know, then it would be easy to be intimidated by it - they are dangerous and if you do make a proper mistake, it's not likely to be mild in nature.

    That said, we all drive our cars most days. It's all relative.
    My process for using a chainsaw (i dont use it daily) is:

    - Get the necessary safety kit etc out.
    - Check the saw over, put fuel in it.
    - Plan what i'm going to cut, how i'm going to secure it, etc
    - Do the job
    - Pack the saw and equipment away

    I have a respect for the tool, and for what it is capable of doing. A healthy respect, but not fear. If someone is nervous with a chainsaw thats when they're likely to make the silliest of mistakes (e.g. concentrating so much on the saw that they dont notice the workpiece isn't safely secured.

    If chainsaw work needs to be done at height, or something needs felling, i'm getting someone in. But for cutting logs down to length for firewood, or cutting gateposts to length, there's no better tool.

    Remember risk assessment is about severity and likelihood. The severity with a chainsaw is very high. The likelihood, because i'm careful with the saw, is low.

    It's like with the angle grinder. The likelihood that i'm going to do myself any serious harm with the blade is low... the likelihood that i'm going to burn myself mildly by touching the freshly cut hot metal without thinking... that's pretty high.

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    On the subject of chainsaws, a few years back we attended a large camp in Denmark (SL'17) and within the usual pre-camp and on site instructions handbooks were plenty of mentions of chainsaws- who cna use them where they can and can not be used and other such notices.
    If you've been on one of these camps, they provide a large quantity of pioneering poles where there is usually the option to pre book how many you want and at what length prior to the camp, groups then have a couple of days to fetch their reserved poles and build their structures ( one group near us built a multi-story tower with tents on each level) after the reservation period is up, poles are for whoever wants them
    From what i could gather, in the past people ( youth members and adults) were using chainsaws at their own camp in the open, and even climbing up half built pioneering structures armed with a chainsaw to trim the ends up/cut notches etc
    pioneering poles were also the main source of firewood - cut and split and used for cooking as gas stoves werent used

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    Quote Originally Posted by campwarden View Post
    What they're not in any way suitable for is cooking for large groups, whether it be a patrol of scouts, a troop, etc, using large commercial-catering type pans.
    We had to use them for patrol cooking one week on our best summer camp ever, when we turned up to the field and it was like the Serengeti, the grass was straw, you couldn't dig a wet pit, and the NT had just lost 4 acres of grass down the road from a work party camping stove that was making tea and set the grass on fire. NT banned all open fires the day we got there. So there goes our plan of cooking on fires all week. Luckily someone was coming down the next day and after a ring around and collecting up all the stored ones from two or three stores, we had enough for two per patrol. Not ideal, and boy did we get through a fair few of those canisters, but no alternative at the time. Pots weren't that big so safe enough.
    Ian Wilkins
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