A safe bet

14 November 2011

SiOPS is an important development in preventing crushing injuries to operators working at height.

SiOPS is an important development in preventing crushing injuries to operators working at height.

Niftylift was demonstrating the new SiOPS (sustainable involuntary operation prevention system) which had just become a surprise winner of the best new product award from Australia's Hire & Rental Industry Association.

Tim Ward said that they were only just in time to get the machine featuring SiOPS on to their exhibition stand at the Australian Hire & Rental Industry show so had no time to enter the device for the awards. Apparently the Association had been so impressed with SiOPS that they entered it themselves. The award for the company's Tough Cage and SiOPS safety system was presented at the Association's annual convention gala dinner on Friday evening.

SiOPS is designed to prevent an operator from inadvertently crushing themselves between the machine and say the roof of a building or other overhead obstruction.

The operator activates the platform motion via a foot pedal and manoeuveres it via the control panel. Should he become trapped between an overhead obstruction and the control panel he may not be able to deactivate the foot panel and his body is obstructing the control panel. In the best case scenario he is trapped until someone notices in the worse case he might be fatally injured.

The development of SiOPS became a top priority for Niftylift after one of the company's machines was involved in a fatal crushing incident. "It was an emotive decision," said Tim Ward, "something we absolutely had to do."

If someone becomes trapped while using a machine with SiOPS his body pressure on the control panel activates a switch, which shuts of machine movement to prevent further injury and sets off a blue warning light and verbal alarm alerting people on the ground that a colleague is trapped. He can then be bought safely down using the ground controls.

The switching device which activates SIOPS has been carefully designed to deploy only in the case of an accident - it cannot be set off accidentally by the operator knocking against or just leaning on the panel.

SiOPS was also the winner of Access International and IPAF's IAPA award for Manufacturer's Contribution to Safety in April this year.

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