Contractors World UK & Ireland
|2011 Volume 1 Issue 7|
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• GT Access Takes UK’s First 15 m Hinowa Booms
• Snorkel UK Appoints PLP Lift Trucks As Regional Dealer
• A-Plant to Merge Lion Trackhire and Eve under New Name
• Lendlease have renewed their framework agreement with Human Recognition Systems.
• RPS Appointed for GWR Exeter Depot Expansion
AFI-Uplift launches two major construction site-safety initiatives - Page 3 of 3
Austin Baker, Director of AFI’s Health, Safety and Environmental Quality (HSEQ) Department, said: “AFI is delighted with the positive feedback we have received about the Smart Zone system. Everyone from the operator through to the main contractor has recognised the important safety and security benefits that the system brings.”
Giles Councell, IPAF Director of Operations, said: “IPAF is testing and developing the smart PAL Card, focusing on the technology behind the system and on the safety aspect as a tool to control access to machines. We appreciate the support our members are giving to trial this innovative project and look forward to further testing. The PAL Card is going smart and we are looking at integrating future functions such as tracking familiarisation and logging operator experience.”
Preventing crushing at height
The Sanctuary Zone comprises steel frames that project above the MEWP platform, stopping any overhead obstruction from crushing the operator.
The Sanctuary Zone fitted to a Terex-Genie powered access platform
AFI worked closely with machine manufacturers Haulotte and Terex-Genie to produce the first prototypes. AFI is also in discussions with several other manufacturers about designs for their machines.
Whilst the initial designs are for boom lifts, AFI is also working with manufacturers to adapt this and other safety devices for fitting onto scissor lifts.
Austin Baker, Director of AFI’s HSEQ Department, said: “If we accept that operators are placing their upper torso into areas that allow entrapment in the first instance then it is our duty to redesign that equipment in order that this risk is removed or minimised. There should be no reason why an operator needs to lift access into a position whereby he is forced to work in a hunched or bent over position.”
“We believe that the Sanctuary Zone is the most important safety development in the powered access sector for many years. We are so convinced that it will save lives that we want to make it available to everyone, including our competitors,” he added.
“Whilst some companies have looked at reverse engineering devices that interact with the safety systems we felt that those systems were secondary in the hierarchy of safety. The Sanctuary Zone prevents operator injuries through crushing rather than reacting to the crushing once it has happened.
“It is interesting to note that it seems accepted within the industry that the cages of powered access equipment are often placed into areas that directly impinge upon the area that is designed for the operatives to stand. We routinely see operatives working crouched up to pass under beams or close to the undersides of overhead structures. This process must be stopped and these rails force operatives to respect their own safety. Once an operator is trapped we only have minutes to react and rescue them and we know that even if released quickly the likelihood is that they will have severe injuries. Obviously it is far better to prevent the incident from happening.”
AFI has carried out field trials which have shown that the system does not impair the operators’ work in any way. The trials have, however, led to a refinement of the design. Initially the steelwork had a 90° angle on the leading edge which caught on safety netting.
The Sanctuary Zone fitted to a Haulotte powered access platform.
“We changed this to a gradual curve and this has further improved safety because the curved rails keep the netting away from the operator and prevents snagging,” said Mr Baker.
“At present the Sanctuary Zone frames are attached to the machine but we hope that in the future they will become an integral part of the machine’s design.”
Joy Jones, Principal Construction Inspector of the Health and Safety Executive, said: “The HSE is fully supportive of AFI’s work with the machine manufacturers to develop this important safety initiative for operators of mobile elevating work platforms. The collaboration between hirers, manufacturers and users, including machine operators, has been essential in developing potential solutions to a difficult problem.”
Contractors World Magazines are published by VVV Limited
Publisher: Roger Lindley
Page updated: November, 2011
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