Lavendon launches anti-crush device for booms

By Murray Pollok10 November 2011

Lavendon's SkySiren will stop platform movements and send out an audio alarm in the event of the ope

Lavendon's SkySiren will stop platform movements and send out an audio alarm in the event of the operator being crushed.

Lavendon Access Services has launched an anti-crush safety device for boom platforms. At the same time, a major UK contractor has said that all booms used on its sites from 3 January 2012 onwards will need to be fitted with crushing protection.

The Lavendon SkySiren device comprises a sensitive rubber strip placed between the operator and the control box which, when pressurised, stops the platform and triggers an alarm.

Lavendon said the safety device - which is the fruit of a three year development project - can be retrofitted to booms "in a matter of minutes".

Contractor Skanska UK, in an announcement issued on the same day that Lavendon launched the SkySiren, said that all booms hired in by the company by 3 January 2012 will need to be fitted with crushing protection devices.

Since 2003, eight people have been killed and many injured when trapped or operating a MEWP. One of these fatalities occurred on a Skanska UK site in 2008.

Dylan Roberts, director of health & safety for Skanska UK, said; "Following the tragedy in 2008, we felt it imperative to make a step change in the training and competence of users of MEWPs and the introduction of additional safety measures. I am very pleased that we have finally been able to take this step. We encourage the UK construction industry to follow suit."

Mick Ledden, business development director at Lavendon Access Services, said; "We felt it was critically important to provide a solution that could not be ‘worked around' and create more danger, or cause frustration or obstruction for the operator.

"The feedback and interviews with operators regarding the SkySiren during ‘User Acceptance Trials' with Skanska for example, convinced us we had the right solution. We would like to thank Skanska and all the other participants in the six-month trial project for their collaboration, input and support."

Lavendon and Skanska UK are not alone in responding to the crushing risk. In early 2010 UK manufacturer Niftylift introduced its SiOPS system for use with its platforms. This detects a sustained load on the controls or console and shuts the machine down.

In addition to stopping the powered access platform immediately when the operator becomes trapped, Lavendon's SkySiren is also designed to alert colleagues to the incident, enabling them to carry out an emergency rescue procedure and administer first aid.

Lavendon said the two most likely causes of injury in crushing situations are the initial entrapment crush forces, which can be considerable, and asphyxiation. "It is quite possible that, in cases where the initial crush force is not ‘critical', an operator could be ‘pinned' between an overhead obstruction and the MEWP control box unable to breathe. In these situations, it is vital that the operator is freed quickly (in a matter of minutes) and first aid is administered", said Lavendon.

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