Stephen Kennett explains why the contenders for Best Safety Product or Equipment at next month’s Health and Safety Awards are worth taking notice of

Trojan Horse messaging

The issue The age-old problem of conveying health and safety messages to site workers.

The solution Trojan Horse messaging is such a simple idea that you wonder why it hasn’t been done before. Developed by SCI, it takes a high-impact approach where safety information is conveyed by applying messages at the point of use on the construction equipment or component. This means the operative sees the message just as they are about to carry out the task.

The messages are applied to the products at the factory, avoiding interference with site operation and saving time and money. Pictorial rather than written messages are used to overcome literacy and language issues, with illustrations clearly showing safe and unsafe operation.

Combisafe fall protection system
Combisafe fall protection system

Combisafe fall protection system

The issue Seven out of 10 injuries caused by falls from vehicles occur during the loading or unloading of deliveries.

The solution Combisafe has developed a fall protection system designed for the loading and unloading of materials from flatbed vehicles (above).

The mobile and demountable system comprises two 6m-high frames that are placed next to the lorry bed and can swivel to provide a working radius of 3.5m. The operative is simultaneously connected to the frames via an intertia reel, which allows them to move across the entire loading area and to work up to 5m in height.

The system can be disassembled into components weighing less than a tonne for ease of transport.

Click-On anti-tamper device
Click-On anti-tamper device

Click-On anti-tamper device

The issue More than half of all deaths in the UK workplace are the result of falls from height. One potential danger area for construction workers is when scaffolding systems are altered once the structure has been signed off.

The solution Following a fall from height when a handrail had been removed and left resting in position, BM Solutions began developing the Click-On, an anti-tamper device ( above). Highly visible, it simply slips over the nut on the scaffolding clamp or other fixing device, preventing access to it and providing a visual check that it hasn’t been tampered with. The only way to remove the Click-On is to break it off. It also makes auditing simpler and reinforces the message of site safety.

Click-On is aimed at ties and other critical areas such as loading bays, handrails and stairways. A 40m handrail fitted to five lifts would require around 200 devices.

Oktopus suction lifting devices
Oktopus suction lifting devices

Oktopus suction lifting devices

The issue The trend for increased use and larger sizes of insulated wall and cladding panels has given many contractors the headache of how to position and handle the products on site.

The solution One answer to transporting the systems by crane or other means is to use suction lifting devices. Oktopus has developed a range of suction lifting devices and vacuum lifting machines specifically for these tasks (above).

The devices incorporate dual systems for the suction operation – as required by law – that are sized to hold a load at least two times the working load limit at all intended angles of tilt. This is essential as the safety strap that would secure the load in the event of suction failure is often removed when the panel is being positioned. The company claims the systems can handle every profile of panel up to 30m in length.

Peoplesafe mobile panic solution

The issue With the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter Act, employers may be exposed to prosecution if they do not ensure the safety of their workers.

For construction companies with workers who operate alone, such as maintenance staff spread out over the country, this could be an issue.

The solution Rocksure Systems’ Peoplesafe is a service that aims to overcome this. The worker wears an Identicom device, designed to look like an ID card holder, but which contains mobile phone technology.

If an employee is entering a potentially hazardous situation such as an unknown location or disused site, they press the “checking in” button on the device. They can then record a message detailing where they are and who they are meeting. This process starts a pre-set timer that, if the employee fails to confirm their safety at the end of the task, actions a red alert. A remote monitoring station then listens in to what is happening and co-ordinates the appropriate emergency response.

The device can also be used with GSM/LBS technology to pinpoint a workers’ location.

CDM e-learning portal

The issue The launch of the new CDM regulations in 2007 and the creation of the CDM co-ordinator role meant that all dutyholders had to prove their competence in the 12 months following introduction.

The solution The London Borough of Bromley developed an e-learning portal. The portal provides accredited, modular online training for all local authority and public services staff undertaking the statutory duty of the CDM co-ordinator.

The course is completely online and the users determine how they manage their training programme. It is entirely down to them to complete the course and get accredited.

There are 30 modules in the course, each taking around an hour to complete, and all the material is agreed by the HSE. Users are tested as they go through the coursework and the results recorded.

After successful completion of the course, users will be included on the Accredited Register of Municipal Coordinators.

The service is delivered through a single annual payment based on staffing levels.

Health and Safety Awards

The winners of the health and Safety Awards will be announced on 17 June at the Park Lane Hilton in London.

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