Bluffer Medal Review.

This article was the first I came across and I loved it as it was just a quick, easy read on the pro’s and con’s of gamekeeping and the old gamekeeper vs. modern gamekeeper. It is a broad view of everything rolled into one, an interesting, capturing and light view at that.

The main change that has happened is the fact that gamekeeping is not a bureaucracy anymore, gamekeepers are not their own small government anymore, everything they do has to be assessed and certified. This is apparently due to times changing. It is no secret that as times are changing, health and safety rules are increasing and everything has to be done a certain way and this article, the writer looks at this as a positive.

One change that did shock me was nowadays, you have to go to college to become a gamekeeper, whereas years ago, not even that long ago, knowledge would be passed down from older generations. Nowadays, you need qualifications for modern skills to become a gamekeeper and everything is being processed through computers, ‘There are few gamekeepers today who don’t rely heavily on computers and email for the running of their shoot.’ Although this is a good thing, going to college to become a gamekeeper, learning everything you need to know, including health & safety regulations, it also adds extra money, cost and hassle – Is college really as good as learning from the people who have been doing it for years and years? Also technology cannot always be relied on, it does have it’s slip ups, and when that happens, ‘the system fails.’.

Technology is a quickly becoming a larger part in the job as well, ‘sophisticated websites which are their primary means of marketing’, this statement puts emphasis on the impact technology is having worldwide. For gamekeepers in this day and age, radios are used for contacting others, GPS systems are very popular and mobile phones, well everyone has a mobile phone. Which is in complete contrast to how it used to be as when there was no technology, gamekeepers had to make a plan for the day and stick to that plan as there was no way of contacting one another. Technology is very beneficial as it increases the safety on shoots – for example, if an accident happens to someone, they can either be contacted or can contact others via mobile phone, therefore, for safety purposes, technology is a plus.

Gamekeeping has changed tremendously in the last 50 years, back in the early to mid 1900’s – gamekeeping was seen as a way of life, rather than a profession to earn money – nowadays it’s polar opposites, gamekeeping is seen as just another way to put food on the table. Not only has the purpose of the profession changed but the whole premise of gamekeeping has also developed, gone are the days when the sole objective of a gamekeeper was to ‘present(ing) birds for the guns to shoot’ – gamekeepers in the 21st century are expected to deal with a lot more – Public relations, health & safety, marketing, the list goes on. Gamekeeping it seems has moved on from it’s traditional British roots and has morphed to fit in with 21st century thinking – with the advances in technology and stricter regulations on health & safety. The pressure on prospective employers is also much greater, thus demanding the need for gamekeepers to attend college and obtain a degree, rather than just having experience handed down from their relatives, that just doesn’t cut it to progress anywhere in this day and age.

This article focuses on all outdoor jobs as a whole and their hazards all rolled into one, getting straight to the point, it gives the reader information very quickly, outlining and listing the key factors and points – physical, biological and poisonous. It points out that outdoor workers should be trained properly about hazards and what they should know as after all, it is a key part in their job and anything could happen.

Physical factors in this article are very extreme and it explains these factors can lead onto other problems which can lead on to other problems for outdoor workers. The main physical factors seem to be due to the weather – heat, cold, UV light and lightening – which could lead onto very damaging illnesses such as heat stroke, hypothermia, hearing damage in workers ears, skin cancer and even death. ‘Lightning kills about 80 people in the United States each year and injures hundreds’, this fact alone is enough to alarm anyone and what this article does have, is solutions to help prevent these problems. It has health and safety rules and regulations and information on the proper training that is mandatory for workers that work outdoors in the USA which could be life changing to them.

One crucial factor that affects outdoor workers is biological factors which covers living things in the outdoors such as vector-borne diseases – diseases that are transmitted to humans by insects or anthropoids -, insects and poisonous plants. Insects can give workers ticks for example, which can cause Lime disease and workers therefor, have to take off work. Even though this article is based on the United States, and their outdoor workers are exposed to many harmful creatures – insects, snakes etc -, it still applies to any country and worker outdoors, some obviously more harmful then others, but there is always a risk. One specific animal that this article concentrates on is venomous mammals and insects which can cause outdoor workers emergency health care is their body goes into ‘Anaphylactic shock’ after a bite or sting from these venomous creatures. Even though there is training, rules and regulations for these outdoor workers dealing with these venomous creatures, ‘Thousands of people are stung each year, and as many as 40–50 people in the United States die each year from severe allergic reactions’ and therefor, it is still an ongoing issue that may not ever be able to be kept under full control.

Poisonous plants also come under the category of ‘Biological factors’ and can be just as harmful to the outdoor workers as the venomous creatures lurking in the outdoors. These harmful plants can cause skin problems such as skin rashes if brushed against or touched, and also can release harmful toxins which the US’ outdoor workers inhale and harm their lungs, ‘Nearly one-third of forestry workers and firefighters who battle forest fires in California, Oregon, and Washington develop rashes or lung irritations from contact with poison oak’. What this article is lacking, from what I can see is anything to prevent these plant problems and the plants are also ‘dangerous if they are burned’ as there unhealthy chemicals and toxins will be inhaled by the workers.

Overall, this american article is very informative and straight to the point about the issues surrounding outdoor workers and the specific rules and regulations about how to help the problem and to make sure workers have the knowledge to deal with a problem if it arises. In saying that, there are still some clear problems that are difficult to solve but with health and safety rules increasing, maybe in the future, these problems will be able to be solved.

These two article’s are both completely different angles taken on outdoor jobs but both have great relevance on health and safety. One picking out all of the differences and changes on Gamekeeping over the years and the strong contrast of old Gamekeeper vs. modern day Gamekeeper and the other, highlighting the hazardous issues that outdoor workers tackle in the United States of America.

The first article, on Gamekeeping states clearly the changes of the outdoor job through the years and compares the old to the new terms and conditions, such as how technology has evolved and greatly helped the safety of Gamekeepers which is considered to be a very positive thing, Whereas the second article points out physical factors that are hazardous to outdoor workers in the US and are difficult to solve as they are mainly due to the weather, but has a guide and certain training that the workers should know so they now what to do if any physical factors occur. In saying this, they both have both found ways to try and help the situations and problems as best as possible to help their workers.

Gamekeeping has changed dramatically as a job as nowadays you have to go to College to become a gamekeepers, where as before, the noble knowledge was passed down to you by very experienced Gamekeepers and everything has to be certified and graded, once again putting emphasis on the changing times of society, as well as this, health and safety rules are always being increased being heavily enforced upon. Whereas in the USA, even though there are lots of hazards outside, that could potentially need emergency medical assistance, they still send them out to work but with knowledge on what to do, they get on with it.

All in all, these two articles emphasis how times are changing, rules and restrictions, terms and conditions and hazards effect the outdoor worker on a day to day basis. They have to know about their job and what to do in certain situations otherwise it could potentially be life threatening. Due to all the risks, this cold be the reason why Health and Safety rules and regulations are always increasing, the list is always getting larger and more and more laws come into place. Due to certain factors, this is possibly a good reason but as years go by, the world is evolving for the better, and as we get to be more knowledgable about our planet, we should maybe put more trust in our outdoor employees than putting increasing restrictions on them.

Anonymous . (19 November 2008). The changing role of the keeper . Available: http://www.shootingtimes.co.uk/features/282666/The_changing_role_of_the_keeper.html. Last accessed 18th Oct 2012.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health . (2011).HAZARDS TO OUTDOOR WORKERS. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/outdoor/. Last accessed 31st Oct 2012.

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