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Case 154 - Access to a public pontoon was blocked due to health and safety grounds

Issue

Access to a public pontoon was blocked by the erection of a steel barrier weighed down with heavy sandbags during a period of calm weather. When questioned why access had been blocked the assistant harbour master replied that access had been blocked on the grounds of 'health and safety'.

Panel decision

HSE has made enquiries with the pontoon operator who has stated that the pontoon is only closed in adverse weather conditions. The temporary barrier has now been replaced with gates as used in other locations by the Highland Council. It is for the owner and operator of the pontoon to assess the risk to users arising from the weather conditions, but it would be helpful if they could clearly explain the reasons to pontoon users rather than simply citing "health and safety".

2013-04-05