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October 7, 2014

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Vehicle edge protection system

By Alastair Brown

If you saw someone working on a 6’ high platform without any guardrails, you’d know it was wrong, wouldn’t you? The risk is foreseeable, isn’t it?

So when I saw a joiner on the roof of his van loading timber, I thought, “Well, that’s not right, is it?” We’ve all looked at accidents, incidents or ‘near misses’, which leave us thinking about how they could be prevented.

As well as being a former HM inspector with HSE’s construction division, my background is in product design and development. My next thought was, “What am I going to do about it?”

My initial research focused on the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and PUWER, as well as relevant case law.

It was in his verdict at the fatal accident enquiry into Mr Graeme Duthie’s death in 2007, that Sheriff Alan D Miller summed up my own opinion when he said: “It is within judicial knowledge – or, indeed, the knowledge of any road user – that trades persons and small businesses frequently use a roof rack mounted on a transit-type van to carry materials…

 “But the simple circumstances of Mr Duthie’s fatal accident exemplify all too clearly the apparent need… for more detailed regulation and guidance on safe loading and unloading practice, and on the design and installation of roof racks… The development of such a strategy would produce at least some lasting benefit from Mr Duthie’s early demise.”

It seemed obvious that some form of ‘pop up’ edge protection to provide a safe working platform would be a practical solution. After a lengthy development programme, our patent has recently been granted, and the development prototype has clearly demonstrated the principle is sound, while digital modelling and rapid prototyping of the production version is ongoing.

We’re now looking to bring on-board a partner with a background in volume production of work at height equipment, or in the automotive sector to take the project forward to commercial success.

Alastair Brown is principal/designer/innovator at Vehicle Edge Protection System

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9 years ago

I really like the prevention system, or as you call it the ‘pop up’ edge protection

Grant Harper
Grant Harper
8 years ago

I definitely think it is a good idea to have good edge protection, even for a vehicle. The best thing to do is to have good design so that the guard rails will hopefully prevent any falls and injuries. Since there are so many businesses that do projects that are high up, it would be good for them to look into these protections to help ensure that their employees are not injured.