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Driving Innovation

5. October 2017 | Comments (0)

UK sales, rental and training group AFI hosted its first innovation and safety event yesterday at Whittlebury Hall, next to the Silverstone F1 circuit.

AFI Driving Innovation
The outside display

The event, compered by AFI’s Brian Parker, included a wide range of speakers from the Health & Safety Executive to contractors and manufacturers. With some exhibits from JLG, Skyjack, Genie, Blandford Engineering, IPAF and Spanset.

AFI Driving Innovation
JLG showed the latest version of its simulator

Of particular note was a prototype scissor lift controller from Skyjack to help eliminate inadvertent operation and a net system for scissor lifts to catch dropped tools and fixings.

AFI Driving Innovation
Blandford Engineering's prototype tool and fixing net for indoor lifts

AFI Driving Innovation
The event was well attended

The presentations began with Ray Cooke of the HSE and a very open and informative talk on working at height, highlighting the fact that accidents and ill health costs the UK £14.1 billion a year, with ill health being the larger of the two. He also highlighted the huge increase in the fines being levelled, following successful prosecutions.

AFI Driving Innovation
Ray Cooke of the HSE highlighting the costs of accidents and ill health

Chris Wraith of Access Safety Management spoke on the new version of the BS8460 code of practice for work platforms. Changes include the addition of a new category for Deck-Riding platforms skid mounted boom lifts, a new ‘User’ category, definitions of secondary guarding, oscillating axles - Active or Passive, new risk assessment charts, a new section on loading and unloading, emergency descent and aerial rescue, the implications of modifying or adding accessories to platforms and working close to non-ionizing radiation from sources such as mobile phone masts.

AFI Driving Innovation
Chris Wraith of Access Safety Management

Next up was Paul Roddis of IPAF with a very interesting talk on how people learn and future developments to digital and interactive training.

AFI Driving Innovation
Paul Roddis of IPAF on the future of training

Ignacy Puszkiwicz of JLG showed examples of some of the breakthroughs and innovations in the pipeline, including point and go-to controls.

AFI Driving Innovation
Ignacy Puszkiwicz

He was followed by Kris Atkinson of BIM Store speaking about the benefits of Building Information Modelling.

AFI Driving Innovation
Kris Atkinson on Bim

Emma Currie of Acting Up acted out a set piece of a wife and family’s challenges following a serious accident.

AFI Driving Innovation
Emma Currie of Acting up took the room by surprise

The rest of the day was unusually dedicated to Mental Health with ex bomb disposal officer David Bickel giving a very poignant and emotional presentation on the suffering and symptoms of serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how he managed to find a way to overcome it.

AFI Driving Innovation
David Bickel on PTSD

Finally Martin Coyd of contractors Mace spoke on the challenges of Mental Health in construction, the importance of encouraging an atmosphere in which it can be openly discussed and those suffering helped. He also highlighted some shocking statistics including the fact that one in four people suffer from one form of mental health or another and that there were 454 suicides in the UK Construction industry last year. He then spoke of the potential benefits in terms of productivity and lower staff turnover in a company where those suffering from Mental Health are helped to overcome and live with their illness.

AFI Driving Innovation
Martin Coyd

Vertikal Comment

This was a first class seminar with excellent topics, presented to an unusually high standard, but the stand out aspect of the day was the afternoon sessions on mental health. The information, challenges and costs of this issue were a real eye opener and the main subject of discussion at the evening networking session.

This is a subject that initially seems a bit soft, and a sign of creeping political correctness, however after the facts and statistics are presented and you see examples of what can happen, reality dawns.

It is probably also true that well managed companies with good employee relations and an enlightened management area already doing much of the things that experts are now recommending, and as a result have fewer problems with this issue than others and area already reaping the benefits.
Other companies with high stress levels, high staff turnover and low job security could benefit even more dramatically from tackling this issue.

Having said all that there are benefits to all companies and the industry as a whole, in having this subject treated more seriously and openly.
Bronto Sky Lift


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