The system utilises a Harness On link between the platform anchor point and the lanyard which senses when a lanyard is attached - or not. It is wired into the platform’s controls so that anyone planning to operate the platform must first attach their lanyard to the device, which then enables the machine to be operated. An indicator light allows operators to see when the device is working or, if the light fails to illuminate, a fault. See: Nationwide starts installing harness device.
The company statement says: “Willmott Dixon has teamed up with Nationwide Platforms, who have developed a system called Harness On. This system works by requiring anyone operating a ‘3b’ boom lift to wear a full body harness with a lanyard that connects to a specific intelligent anchor point within the platform’s basket.”
“Harness On is now mandatory, meaning that only 3b boom type lifts with the new system installed can operate on a Willmott Dixon project. This is to reduce to zero the chance that an operator using a platform could fall to the ground because they have not connected their harness correctly. Importantly, this device doesn’t affect any ground or emergency lowering controls.”
The company cites the latest IPAF Global Safety Report statistics for helping arrive at its decision. Chief health, safety & environment officer Mark French added: “The annual IPAF Global Safety Report continues to show the significant numbers of incidents involving people working at height using mobile platforms, mostly caused by falls. We strive to take a zero-tolerance approach to the risk of this happening and were delighted to work with Nationwide Platforms in getting its new Harness On system in use across all our projects.”
“I think we are the first Tier One contractor to mandate this system across our business and supply chain. Safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our supply chain team on our construction sites is paramount and this is an excellent new way for those who use mobile work platforms to carry out their work.”
Family owned Willmott Dixon is celebrated its 175th anniversary last year with revenues of just over £1 billion. The chief executive is a Willmott - Rick Willmott.
This decision will, of course, require more platforms to be retrofitted with the device. Willmott Dixon is a key Nationwide Platforms client which makes it easier, but one wonders what happens when an extra machine is urgently needed and no units with the device installed are readily available?
One also wonders if the company will, in some circumstances, accept alternative systems, such as Haulotte’s ‘Fastn’ device with also detects a stricken operator who remains in the platform and according to Haulotte can be installed on any platform that has a foot pedal in around 10 minutes, and doesn't need to be wired into the control box.
It is always tough and brave to be the first to take a step such as this , it will be interesting to see how the roll out goes on site.