Home » BAM trials safety innovation for crane lifts at King’s Cross

BAM trials safety innovation for crane lifts at King’s Cross

by Sion Geschwindt

BAM and property developer Related Argent have joined forces to develop a new safety system to tackle one of construction’s highest risk activities: crane lifts.

Every day, thousands of workers operate in close proximity to millions of tonnes of material being lifted by tower cranes. Objects falling from these cranes are one of the greatest risks facing the industry, says BAM.

As part of Related Argent’s 2022 Innovation Challenge, which was won by BAM, the construction firm has developed a new system that uses remote-controlled LED lights and an exclusion zone audio alarm, both fitted to a lifting cage and linked to ground-level exclusion zone alarms.

These measures warn ground-level operatives of loads above and at ground level, when traditionally a slinger signaller, who also operates this system, uses a whistle.

A remote key fob operates the LED lights, loudspeaker and ground-based alarm system. Testing and engineering of the system found that the fob can activate the alarm from up to 70m. The unit can also be activated by a ground base unit from up to 260m.

The new safety innovation has been trialled on a commercial building currently under construction on the King’s Cross estate, along with an improved lifting cage to advance those in use across the industry. 

Related Argent is funding an additional four months of research and development of the new system, enabling trials of different lights, alarms, fobs and electrical systems. At the end of the R&D phase, the first prototype of the lifting exclusion alarm will be brought to site.

Steve McInnes, Senior Health and Safety Adviser at BAM, said: “Managing lifting and exclusion zones is a vital part of construction activities and making sure people are not under loads whilst they are being lifted is a challenge. This innovation provides an audio and visual warning of the load proximity in a way that has never been achieved previously.

“BAM has the advantage of a specialist Site Solutions business which works across the UK to assist its construction and civil engineering teams to work safely and efficiently. We received hugely positive feedback from the site teams so we can now continue the development of the lifting exclusion alarm to enable its compatibility with different lifting equipment.”

Al Beevers, Head of Health and Safety at Related Argent, added: “This innovation project from BAM has been a great example of how the construction industry can use technology to improve safety on construction sites.

“As this project shows, investing time and money in new safety thinking can really pay off and we believe all contractors should now be pushing the boundaries of available technologies and focusing on engineering out long-standing hazards. We’re looking forward to receiving entries to our 2023 Innovation Challenge and seeing more industry-changing results like this.”

Read next: Ferrovial trials wearable tech to boost site safety

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