The SkySiren, an innovative safety solution designed by BlueSky to reduce the risk of injury through entrapment when operating a boom type MEWP, has been unveiled by the UK’s market leaders in access platform hire, Nationwide Platforms.
Entrapment can occur when an operator is pinned between an object (from behind or above) and the MEWP’s control panel. Since 2003, eight people have been killed and many injured when trapped or operating a MEWP.
The two most likely causes of injury in these 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.
The SkySiren, which has been developed by Nationwide Platforms over the past three years will form part of the company’s BlueSky innovative attachments range, and can be retro-fitted to most boom lifts in a matter of minutes.
Designed to stop the powered access platform immediately when its operator becomes trapped, the device is also designed to alert colleagues to the incident, enabling them to carry out an emergency rescue procedure and administer first aid. The system is also designed to be as un-obstructive as possible, with Nationwide Platforms modifying the prototype based on the feedback received over the course of years of trials.
Nationwide Platforms' SkySiren is the product of three years of development and can be fitted to many boom lifts in minutes.
SkySiren works by reacting to pressure on a sensitive rubber strip placed between the operator and the MEWP control panel. The pressure is converted into a signal to stop the MEWP immediately and sound the alarm. The Operator can re-set SkySiren and rescue themselves if able to do so.
Several major Contractors in the UK have been undertaking extensive trials with the SkySiren system in recent years and contributing to its development. Following these successful trials, Skanska UK are satisfied that SkySiren meets its anti-entrapment criteria which states that any such device should “stop the MEWP in combination with audible and visual warnings” and will now be mandating that all boom-type MEWPs (IPAF Category 3b) hired by the company will have additional trapping protection fitted by January 3rd 2012, in line with their Injury Free Environment (IFE) commitment.
Skanska will also be introducing the mandate that all boom type MEWPs operated on their sites will also need to be fitted with added protection from April 2nd 2012.
Mick Ledden, Business Development Director – Nationwide Platforms, 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.”