November 2011 - Posts
The last blog talked, in part, about winter jobs, well here is one example. Last week our Health and Safety consultant visited for the annual audit. We employ an independent and external H&S expert to check over our systems, working procedures and safety checks and make sure everything is to standard. As some readers will remember, I completed the NEBOSH general certificate in health and safety partly on the recommendation of our last inspection - as my track record with exams is poor I’m going to take the opportunity to boast that I passed with a credit!
Every year our consultant comes up with a ‘to do list’ and we then set about sorting out the issues raised. These are often paperwork jobs, such as writing or improving a risk assessment, formulating a policy upon an issue such as smoking or mobile phone use. Sometimes they are more practical, last year we built and fixed a waist height (removable) chain fence around the loading ramp to stop any idiot falling off. Pleasingly we had ticked off most of last year’s list - leaving only a couple of very minor items, which to be frank we forgot to sort out. Overall I guess we will receive an eight out of ten for the inspection, pretty good, but not perfect.
We have done this for a good few years now, and my question is: will it ever stop? Will we get to the point where the consultant can find nothing more to correct? The cynic in me suspects not, as if we did why would we need to employ a consult again, however it is also true that the standards we are asked to meet improve every year. It is impossible to eliminate risk from our work, but at least we can adopt the right attitude and try as hard as we can to be as safe as possible.
I know I drone on about the weather and the seasons an awful a lot, it seems that when I sit in front of the computer and see the blank page ahead of me, whatever subject I was thinking about writing about morphs into words about the weather. Clearly being a drainage contractor is effected by the weather, if it’s raining I get wet, if it’s boiling hot, I sweat, but it goes further than that. In wet conditions our heavy plant and equipment can’t work without leaving deep ruts, something best to be avoided. On wet summer days jobs are delayed and our guys remain in the yard, tidying, repairing and preparing. In the winter we try to schedule contracts that are less weather dependant and we take on larger in-house jobs such as painting our kit. The job changes with the weather and the seasons.
At the moment these misty, dank November days are the start of the seasonal change. So far we have managed to continue working without the weather affecting us too much and at the moment we have a large job which is not that affected by ground condition which should keep us busy until Christmas. Even so I had the time to file away the large stack of papers, pushed to the back corner of my office, which had been growing since spring. I have a winter jobs list, consisting of various tasks which need to be done but are not pressing, it’s time to pick it up and start to think about how to do these jobs. Before long Christmas will be upon us......
Just a quick post to mention that the Farming Futures Blog has published an article I wrote for them, I'll never guess but its about drainage. The link is below
I started this blog, in part, because it seemed to me that land drainage was missing out on its fair share of publicity and conversation in the farming world. Drainage seemed absent from the farming press and from discussion groups, despite the fact that most farms have schemes installed and most farms would benefit from installing new schemes. At times during this year I have felt like a lone voice and one which was making only minor progress, however there are others....
I attended a meeting at Stoneleigh Park last week in the offices of the RASE (Royal Agricultural Society of England). They are keen to host and promote a conference on soil and water management, part of which will focus on land drainage. Obviously, I think that this is a great idea and tying in drainage to the bigger picture makes sense as well. Its early days but the hope is to have a conference next autumn followed by some practical demonstrations in the following spring. I’m fully behind this initiative and I hope to keep you updated on progress though out the year.
PS, sorry for the lack of posts of late, I’m moving house, so I have had some time off work....
Glancing at the recent blog entries, I realised that I have not posted many pictures of late, so I thought I would share these snaps of some drainage machines. As I look out of the window the rain pours down and the forecast suggests that there is plenty more on its way for the next couple of days. These photos with our plant baking in the sun over the summer seem to have taken a long time ago!