Ladders and Scaffolding Used to Help Contain Anti-Fracking Protesters

Fracking is a highly controversial and topical subject
just now, but it seems that Greater Manchester Police are well
versed in the working at height regulations, having used ladders
and scaffolding recently to remove anti-fracking
protesters.

The protests took place on the 14th January at Barton Moss, near
Manchester, which has been singled out as a potential fracking
site. Three men climbed stationery lorries which were delivering to
the site, and refused to come down for more than an hour. Greater
Manchester Police brought in their specialist Protester Removal
Team, who assembled the ladders and temporary scaffolding in a bid
to persuade the protesters to come down safely. Eventually, all
three men did, assisted by the police and all three were promptly
arrested for obstruction.

Fracking is the
process of forcing fissures into shale rock, which are then filled
with liquid at high pressure in order to extract oil or gas. While
the concept has many supporters, it is also suspected of causing
mini earthquakes and of contaminating groundwater supplies, hence
the controversy.

Interestingly, many police forces, and British Transport Police,
do have specialist working at height
units,
all of whom of course will have been trained to a very
high standard in the appropriate regulations and rules. Their role
is very varied, encompassing anything where it’s necessary to work
safely and securely above ground – anything from counter-terrorism
surveillance to public order and major event security work.

At Sterk, we’re passionate
about ladder and
scaffolding safety
, and we were relieved to see that the Barton
Moss protesters came to no harm during the events a fortnight ago.
Whatever your views on fracking, personal safety should always be a
top priority. If you work at height professionally, proper training
is essential; if you use ladders or scaffolding recreationally or
at home, you should still take the time to observe basic common
sense and simple safety guidance.