A Tale of Two…Cherry Pickers

Cambs Farms Growers
Cole Ambrose Ltd
May 15, 2019

A tale of two farms…and two cherry pickers (well, a cherry picker and a scissor lift to be precise)

This is a date that incorporates two cleaning projects, on different farms, for different customers.

Yet shows that faced when faced with adversity, Helios approach problems with safety first in mind – and a desire to complete the job properly.

Helios were approached by Cambs Farms Growers in April 2019 about cleaning a variety of their premises. On a site visit, Helios contacted another farm close by, Cole Ambrose Ltd, who requested that Helios clean their 250 kWp array during the same week.

On the 15th May 2019, the truck mounted cherry picker that Helios had ordered arrived on site at 7.30 a.m. with Helios’ operatives arriving at 7.45 a.m. to commence work at 8.00 a.m.

250kWp over five roofs at Cole Ambrose to be followed by 150 kWp on one roof for Cambs Farm Growers. Easy.

Or maybe not.

After cleaning the first two roofs at Cole Ambrose, as our operative had just started to descend to ground level in the cherry picker – the cherry picker’s hydraulics failed, leaving our operative several metres in the air in the basket of the cherry picker.

Due to the cherry picker’s safety features, we were able to safely complete the descent to ground level using the manual controls.

Which left us with a bit of a problem. We had another project to do, but no cherry picker to access the roof. It was 11.00 a.m.

Many phone calls ensued. To the cherry picker hire company and to the Manager of the 150kWp site we had to attend. Fortune was with us that day (?!) as the Manager confirmed that they had a scissor lift that we could use to access the roof.

So we made the 25 minute drive to the new site, revised our RAMS to reflect the use of the new scissor lift and the location we were accessing the roof from, had the RAMS amendments signed off by the Manager and proceeded to take all the necessary equipment up to the roof level and start to set up.

And on the way down in the scissor lift, it broke down. Two faulty powered access platforms in one day. Grrrr….

Leaving all the equipment on the roof.

After a discussion between the Helios operatives, our Health & Safety Consultant and the Manager, we decided that we had to get back on the roof to get the equipment and the only way we could this was by using a ladder that we kept with us. Whilst we were on the roof, our operative was trained to use ropes and harnesses to be able to work safely so it made sense to do the work then bring the equipment down.

So we amended the RAMS again, had them agreed and signed by all present, and then started to walk to the area of work.

When we were approached by a gentleman who had been quietly sitting in a corner, working away on his laptop, minding his own business. He asked us what we were doing, why were we doing it that way, could he see what we had done…

Of course we were happy to oblige the gentleman.

Who introduced himself as the Assistant Group Health & Safety Manager.

He checked our RAMS, both of them, then exclaimed “It’s nice to see a company do things correctly and to happily change their RAMS not once, but twice. This is the first time I have experienced a company do this. Normally a company might change it once and then not bother the second time. You have done this in exactly the way that it should be done. Thank you”.

Which was nice.

So Helios completed the job and descended from the roof safely.

Meanwhile, the hydraulics had been fixed on the truck mounted cherry picker at Cole Ambrose, so we returned to site to complete the last three roofs – at 5.00 p.m.

These were duly completed and we left site at 7.30 p.m., happy, tired and very pleased with our achievements for that day.

Contact us today on 01525 632238 and see for yourself how Helios can safely and competently clean your solar panels.

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