ENVIRONMENT Agency bosses have been looking into the issue of safety at locks along the River Thames.
The agency’s lock house study group has been comparing locks which are manned by a resident lock-keeper and those which are not.
Data compiled as part of the study suggests there are more health and safety incidents at locks which are manned, with an average of 6.75 incidents between April 2013 and March 2014 compared with just 2.75 at locks without a lock-keeper.
However, a survey carried out on visitors to locks shows they feel manned locks “look and feel” better.
At manned Benson lock last year six boats were stuck in the lock and one got stuck on a sandbank.
One EA worker was bitten by a tick and caught Lyme disease at the lock while clearing “vegetation” in June last year.
And in April last year at Goring lock, a pleasure boat crashed into the lock, and a woman was catapulted from the boat and suffered a bump on the head.
EA spokesman Ash Dobson said: “Through the Lock House Study Group we are working with boating representatives to ensure the look and feel of our lock sites and the services we provide are the very best possible given reducing budgets and austerity. Our discussions are very positive indeed.”