30/03/2012 - 04:00 am

SkySiren Saves Aerial Lift Operators from Entrapment

The award-winning SkySiren anti-entrapment solution presents a unique opportunity to improve safety in the access market, according to Nationwide Platforms' Executive Director- Business Development and Key Accounts, Mick Ledden. The SkySiren, a retro-fit solution capable of being fitted to most European and American boom lifts, was unveiled in the UK at the end of 2011. Ledden will speak on entrapment at the National Construction Safety Executives Spring Meeting in Charleston, S.C., in April. The organization we will be taking steps to help make this anti-entrapment device available in North America.

As the cause of at least eight deaths between 2003 and the summer of 2009, entrapment is one of the aerial lift industry’s most troubling safety issues. Entrapment incidents, also known as trapping or crushing, can occur when an operator is pinned between an object (from above or behind) and the access platform’s control panel.

In these situations, the two most likely causes of injury are the initial entrapment crush forces and asphyxiation. In cases where the initial crush force is not critical; an operator could be pinned between an overhead obstruction and the control panel, unable to breathe.

In response to this, the SkySiren was launched in partnership between Nationwide Platforms and BlueSky Access, who were acquired by Lavendon Group plc in 2011. This system is recognised as a comprehensive safeguard against the risk of death or injury being caused by entrapment in a boom type Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP).

The 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 trigger an alarm and flashing beacon. The Operator can re-set the SkySiren and rescue themselves if able to do so.

The launch of the retro-fit solution in November 2011 prompted Skanksa UK to mandate anti-entrapment systems, with further contractors expected to follow in 2012. The safeguard has already been used on more than 30 sites across the UK, including some of the country’s most prestigious projects, such as Heathrow Airport, Crossrail, and the Scottish Hydro Arena. Since its introduction, it has received the prestigious Construction Health and Safety Group Beaumont Trophy.

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