CPB Contractors has been trialling new technologies to improve safety for people working on scissor-type mobile elevated working platforms (MEWPs).

The trials, undertaken on the Griffith University Upgrade project in Queensland, are examining new technologies that design out the possibility of crush and entrapment injuries when operating a MEWP.

The trials are important because all scissor-type MEWPs used on Group projects must be fitted with approved secondary guarding by the end of June 2020.

David Burton, CPB Contractors Queensland & Papua New Guinea Safety Manager, is overseeing the trials in cooperation with the Griffith University Upgrade project: “I’m really proud that CPB Contractors is leading the Australian construction industry in this area. The trials show that these technologies can facilitate the safe use of MEWPs on our projects.”

One of the new technologies being trialled is called Lift Guard. This is an anti-crush and anti-collision device that attaches spring loaded aerials to each corner of the mobile elevated work platform. When the aerials contact a solid surface they bend, breaking the contact between two electrodes, setting off alarms and stopping the platform’s movement.

The operator must then reset the safety system and the MEWP only returns to its normal operating speeds, (both drive and elevating), when the aerials are straight, and the electrodes are in contact again.

The trials have found that Lift Guard is an effective form of anti-crush and anti-collision technology. The feedback from MEWP operators participating in the trial has been very positive about Lift Guard’s value as a secondary safety system.

Another technology being trialled uses ultrasonic sensors that detect an approaching object, then set off alarms and slow the speed of the MEWP. When the sensors detect that an object is close it stops the MEWP and the operator must use an override function, that only allows a manoeuvre to a safer position, before restarting.

An approved list of secondary safety systems will be issued within CPB Contractors shortly as additional technologies and products are released to market for commercial use.

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