Initiative would see role of ‘smart’ helmets expanded beyond current pandemic and into general site safety
HS2 is planning to keep workers out of harm’s way by using helmets which bleep when the wearer gets too close to dangers on site.
The helmets are currently being used to maintain social distancing on the project’s sites but the railway is planning on using them after the pandemic to keep workers safe from plant machinery, cranes, vehicles and other potential hazards.
An HS2 spokesperson told Building: “What we are exploring is if you have big cranes or forklift trucks or big plant machinery that’s on site, you could have that same distancing relationship between plant equipment and people as well.”
She added: “That’s something that we’re trialling at the moment as to actually how can we advance this and really bring in a full safety alert system.”
The devices are designed to be attached to a safety helmet or wrist band and have been used for several months by HS2 main contractors including Align JV, a team consisting of Bouygues, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick which is carrying out the main civils work around the Chiltern tunnels and Colne valley viaduct.
They have also been used over the past three months by HS2 contractor Mace Dragados – a JV between Mace and Dragados which is working on the Euston station – to alert wearers when they come within 2m of another colleague as part of covid-secure site operating procedures.
Mace Dragados site operations and logistics lead John Brooks said one of the models being trialled, the ZoneRanger device supplied by UK firm OnSite Support, had helped on-site teams maintain social distancing.
He added: “This has been important for the wellbeing of our people, allowing them to carry out their work with the confidence that they are doing so safely.”
Another model of the devices, supplied by construction tech firm Plinx, is being trialled by HS2 contractor EKFB, a JV between Eiffage, Kier, Ferrovial and Bam.