Personal Protective Equipment on Himalayan Balsam Work Parties

Himalayan Balsam work party on the Caldon Canal
Created on 18/07/2014

IWA's Branch Campaign Team has been busy raising awareness and organising work parties as part of IWA's 2014 Himalayan Balsam Campaign. To support the work parties, it has been necessary to secure funding to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for participating volunteers.

IWA branches have been working to clear Himalayan Balsam from waterways across the UK this spring and summer. Highlights so far have included the first of two Himalayan Balsam focus weeks, which ran from 21st – 29th June and was filled with successful work parties and efforts to raise awareness. Volunteers have continued to tackle the invasive plant throughout July with their efforts culminating in IWA’s second focus week, which starts today.

Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant that crowds out native plants along river and canal banks, but dies back in the winter leaving the banks bare, and vulnerable to erosion.

Photo of Himalayan Balsam at Falling Sands by Alison Smedley

Himalayan Balsam Work Parties

Himalayan Balsam work parties involve volunteers working from the banks of waterways or from craft on the water to pull out plants by hand. As with many practical tasks, PPE is often worn to ensure the health and safety of volunteers.

High-Visibility Vests
Wearing a high-visibility vest is advisable if you need to be seen clearly, either by members of the public or by other volunteers, and makes you identifiable as part of the volunteer team. This is important on towpaths for a number of reasons, including highlighting that work is taking place to members of the public.

There are many types of gloves to suit different situations. Rigger gloves are hardwearing and offer good protection against cuts, grazes and stings to the hands. Nitrile palm coated gloves provide better grip and flexibility whilst protecting the palm of the hand. Both types are used on Himalayan Balsam pulls.

Life Jackets
If the Himalayan Balsam pull is taking place on or close to water participants may require a life jacket. This will provide essential buoyancy if a participant falls into the water.

Photo of high-vis vest and rigger gloves in action on a Himalayan Balsam work party

Funding and Sponsorship

To help buy this equipment for IWA’s 2014 Himalayan Balsam Campaign, grant funding was secured from The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and The Robert Clutterbuck Charitable Trust who both awarded IWA £2,300.

In addition to PPE, IWA has used the funding received for banners, posters and leaflets to promote the event.

Protec Direct, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of PPE & workwear in the UK, also supported the campaign through a contribution of 90 pairs of rigger gloves, and 120 pairs of nitrile palm coated gloves.

IWA would like to thank The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Robert Clutterbuck Charitable Trust and Protec Direct for the contribution of funds and equipment in support of the Association’s work.

Tags: IWA Work Parties, Fundraising