Weaving a web across Leeds..
Five Ransomes Spiders for progressive City Council
Leeds City Council has purchased a fleet of five Ransomes Spider mowers for maintaining steep banks around the city. The unique, remotely controlled rotary mowers were delivered recently following a 30-week trial period with a machine hired in from Swan Plant.
Chris Simpson, Transport and Fleet Manager at Leeds City Council, was stopped in his tracks by a demonstration on the Ransomes Jacobsen stand at SALTEX in 2004. He immediately recognised its potential and how it could benefit his Parks & Countryside team.
A demonstration was duly arranged by Palmers Groundcare, Ransomes Jacobsen's local dealer at Selby, which took place on a particularly difficult site in Leeds. It confirmed that the Spider could do what was being claimed and that it had other benefits too, especially with regard to Health and Safety.
"This was relatively new technology and we wanted to test the water, so to speak", Chris Simpson said. "I contacted David Curwell at Swan and he agreed to purchase the machine, which we then hired for a 30 week contract period. We used it throughout the winter on steeper embankments where we had carried out site specific risk assessments. Four operators were trained to use it at the various locations. The 30-week hire was a really good way to understand how the machine operated; its numerous plus points, its limitations and the benefits that it offers. As responsible employers we have a duty to pursue all avenues with regard to the health and safety of our operators. Hand and arm vibration is a particularly important issue and the Spider, being remotely operated, alleviates this at a stroke. Also, it removes any issues of operators sitting on ride-on machines at acute angles and also removes the stress on hips, knees, ankles and spine associated with strimming operations."
Photo: Jim Whitton, Ransomes Jacobsen; Chris Simpson, Leeds City Council and Theo Wilson of Palmers Groundcare at the handover of the Spider fleet.