Is Chelsea pod flying in face of safety?

By Maria Hadlow24 May 2011

While the general public enjoy the spectacle of the world renowned Chelsea Flower Show, one of Access international's sharp eyed readers has alerted us to the health and safety concerns of the suspended pod, which is part of Diarmuid Gavin's Gold medal winning "Flying Garden."

The bright pink pod, which was specially designed for the show, can be raised to 25m (82 ft) for a unique view of his Ireland inspired garden. Although fully insured and tested and not intended for the general public - just a few brave VIPs - the pod could be said to contravene the latest position adopted by the FEM (Fédération Européenne De La Manutention)

Only last week the FEM Product Group Cranes and Lifting Equipment - Sub-Group Mobile Cranes issued a paper regarding "Lifting Persons with Mobile Cranes"

The paper states that, "Mobile cranes shall never be used for entertainment purposes, e.g. lifting of persons for shows, bungee jumping, dinner-in-the-sky or lifting of other structures with people on the structure or underneath (e.g. lifting of tents)!

"Mobile cranes are not intended to lift persons; they may be used to hoist and suspend personnel in man baskets only in unique work situations when it is the least hazardous way to do the job. Platforms fixed to crane booms for lifting of persons are not included herewith, as they are covered by international standards for mobile elevated work platforms."

The paper goes on to stipulate where in exceptional circumstances mobile cranes might be used to lift people. In truth the flying pink pod might be said to fall into this category - one of the criteria being that an appropriate emergency rescue device be provided and we know that an access platform has been provided for this contingency.

Access International is awaiting comment from the Health and Safety Officer who covers the London Borough of Kensington where the Chelsea Flower Show is held.

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