Integrating safety

By Steve Skinner04 December 2008

Combisafe's safety centre in Northampton, UK

Combisafe's safety centre in Northampton, UK

Combisafe is to launch its new filigree mark II attachment for its barrier protection systems in 2009. Steve Skinner reports from the company’s safety centre in Northampton, UK.

Combisafe is to launch a new EN 13374-A European standard Filigree Mark II for its barrier systems early in 2009. The new sacrificial device is a direction free attachment that is easy and safe to cast and use.

“The new cast-in filigree attachment offers a cheap, reliable and safe method for placing foot anchors for our barrier systems,” said Barney Green, business development manager at Combisafe. “Placed independently of concrete reinforcement and without the need to fix in the rebar, the Filigree Mark II offers improved stability over the Mark I version so that barrier posts can be erected more simply, accurately and safely.”

“This cast-in filigree attachment should be adopted universally,” said Mr Green. “It’s a fantastic system that wholly integrates safety with the construction process, and with the addition of a simple plastic pipe it’s fully adjustable to operate with any slab height.”


In August 2008 France’s Sperian Group - the owner of Miller fall protection - bought Combisafe for € 63 million. The acquisition followed a +30% year-on-year growth, over the past three years, for Combisafe with revenues in 2007 exceeding € 32 million.

Combisafe, which prior to the takeover had conducted its own acquisition in the shape of Advanced Scaffold Products (ASP), is a familiar name among the big formwork companies as it has been working alongside them for years developing safety systems for working at height.

“Peri, Meva, Ischebeck Titan… all of the main formwork companies have turned to us for safety system development,” said Mr Green.

Combisafe operates a four-pronged approach to the safety business in the shape of prevention, protection, services and access.

Prevention is in the form of the company’s EN 13374 European standard steel mesh barrier systems and EN 13374 and EN 1263 standard net barrier systems. Protection includes the EN 1263 European standard safety net fan, the EN 795 Alsipercha fall restraint and Combisafe loading system as well as personal fall protective equipment.

Services include technical support, training, rigging, special solutions, consulting and test laboratories, while access centres on Combisafe hanging platforms, site stairways and Combisafe Advanced Scaffold products.

Safety designed in

“The UK’s construction, design and management (CDM) regulations re-launched in 2008 have had a real impact on construction at height,” said Mr Green.

“The regulations now stipulate that a designer is responsible for how a building is constructed as well as what that building is. This has meant that safety has now become part of the methodology and planning,” continued Mr Green.

“Through the incorporation of safety systems on big projects and with main contractors we are convinced that safety levels at height throughout the construction industry will be tugged upwards. We cannot guarantee that every construction company will adopt safe practices, but we’re optimistic that good safety values will trickle down,” said Mr Green.


“One of the surprising issues in the safety and productivity sectors is the lack of communication that currently exists between the various contractors involved on a site,” said Mr Green. “It’s not unusual for individual contractors at different stages of a build to employ different safety systems. This means that alternate safety systems are being installed and dismantled several times on one job.

“Surely, the most efficient, safe and cost effective solution would be for the safety systems to be integrated in and throughout the build so that one system covered the whole process,” said Mr Green.

“In Spain, many sites have a supervisor who co-ordinates this through a job, so it is possible and we would welcome a wider adoption of this process to improve both safety and productivity.”
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