CPB Contractors supported the development of new safety systems and then made them compulsory.
Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (known as MEWPs) can assist in making working at heights safer, however, they can introduce serious additional workplace hazards.
In 2014, CPB Contractors, together with EIC Activities, another member of the CIMIC Group, began conducting research and development into safety systems to prevent injuries to occupants of scissor-type MEWPs. This involved collaborating with the CSIRO, UTS and Premier Rock Machinery. It also included collaborating with industry associations like the Elevating Work Platform Association of Australia and the International Powered Access Federation to encourage suppliers to develop secondary safety systems.
According to Graeme Silvester, CPB Contractors General Manager for Safety, Health, Environment and Quality, the motivation for this research and development was to keep everyone safe by setting high standards when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of our people and those who work with us.
“The risks associated with MEWPs are real. People can be seriously injured or killed. We wanted the scissor-type MEWPs used on our sites as safe as we can make them.”
CPB Contractors commenced trialling a new proximity detection system using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology which determines the proximity of objects using a laser to calculate distance. The trial involved using LiDAR sensors to create a curtain around the MEWPs’ basket to detect hazards and then alarm, slow or stop the MEWP according to their proximity.
Throughout 2018 and 2019, trials occurred across CPB Contractors construction sites. In total, the system was tested for over 2,400 hours in different operational environments to ensure all ‘bugs’ were exposed and resolved. Ultimately, the trials were successful and found that LiDAR can adequately perform as a proximity detection technology on scissor-type MEWPs.
As the trials concluded, new secondary safety systems began to enter the market and CPB Contractors set a company-wide mandate requiring all scissor-type MEWPs operating on its sites to be fitted with a secondary safety system from 1 December 2020.
James Oxenham, CEO of the Elevating Work Platform Association, said:
“CPB Contractors were pivotal in this development and their work with OEMs, suppliers and rental companies has driven this outcome. CPB Contractors displayed leadership and demonstrated their commitment to a safety-first approach by requiring scissor lifts on their sites to be fitted with secondary safety systems.”