10 bright ideas for safer sites get £1m backing

Aaron Morby 7 years ago

A device to prevent back injuries and a new detector of hand arm vibrations are among the first wave of ideas to win backing from Berkeley Group’s innovation fund.

After more than 50 initial submissions, over £1m has been dished out to the first 10 pioneering ideas.

They will go from drawing board to building site within months, many tested on Berkeley sites.

It is hoped the innovations will take-off and change thinking and approaches to improving safety and well being throughout the industry.

10 projects receiving grants of £10k-£250k

    • A flexible back brace that can be fitted to high visibility jackets to minimise back injuries. This has been designed by a former soldier and bricklaying boss collaborating with a leading Harley Street spinal clinic.

  • An advanced intelligent collision avoidance system for site plant to avoid incidents with operatives and pedestrians being developed by Safety Shield Systems.
  • A novel approach to detect hand arm vibrations, which have harmed 300,000 workers at present and led to 60,000 claims for damages in 2013 alone.
  • A national 24/7 helpline run by the Lighthouse Charity Club specifically aimed at SMEs to help them report near misses and share good practice.
  • A joint initiative with the Road Haulage Association to reduce the number of on-site traffic incidents, through the development of a Code of Practice and an approved drivers training course.
  • A dust extractor, which catches loose particles – a product that could transform the way carpenters work on site and reduce exposure to harmful wood dust.
  • An online portal to provide small construction businesses with free online access to occupational health provision. The hub is the brainchild of Constructing Better Health.
  • Research led by Glasgow Caledonian University to examine how workers and management communicate on site and develop better models for engagement.
  • A revolutionary product that allows cables to be temporarily fixed to a ceiling, preventing individuals tripping over trailing cables during the later stage construction.
  • The development of a safety inspection device for scaffolds and temporary works. It offers a new intuitive approach to inspections on site, reducing the paperwork and the scope for human error.

Since launch, the Innovation Fund has received over 60 expressions of interests, of which 34 progressed to the next stage. The chosen 10 went through a rigorous selection process involving face-to-face interviews and presenting the idea to a cross-industry panel.

Rob Perrins, managing director of the Berkeley Group, said: “I have been really struck by the quality of ideas and how the industry has engaged with the Fund.

“The breadth of thought and ingenuity has been a real eye opener. We have had bids from contractors, academics, individuals and industry bodies.”

Further applications for suitable innovations are welcomed until April 2016. For more information visit www.berkeleyinnovationfund.co.uk or Send email to army khaira.

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