Wireless

Wearable technology improves safety for construction workers

20th March 2020
Joe Bush

CityFibre and its construction partner, Callan Connect, will enable the first testing on a live construction site of a new British-made wearable technology that prevents Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), also known as ‘White Finger’.

Developed by Coventry based startup, Feraru Dynamics, the HAV Sentry Glove monitors, in real-time, the vibrations created by heavy machinery when worn by construction workers operating tools such as grinders, drills and concrete breakers. The smart technology continuously takes into account the vibrations created and analyses the data, alerting operatives when it reaches dangerous levels, so they know to take a break and allow some time to recover.

HAVS is a preventable condition, however, once damage is caused it is permanent. Symptoms of the condition include numbness, tingling, sensitivity, whiteness of fingertips and reduced grip strength. According to The Health & Safety Executive, nearly two million people across the UK are at risk of developing the condition, with construction workers who operate powered hand tools for significant periods of time one of the groups most affected.

CityFibre has put the welfare of its employees, and that of its build partners, at the heart of its £4bn Gigabit City Investment Programme that aims to reach up to eight million premises. The HAV Sentry Glove will be tested by two of Callan Connect’s workers at sites across CityFibre’s Coventry build. CityFibre is rolling-out its £60m citywide Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) programme, bringing gigabit-speed connectivity within reach of almost every home and business in the city.

A key priority for CityFibre is to partner with contractors able to scale alongside its rapidly expanding Gigabit City Investment Programme. A core part of this strategy is to work collaboratively on the testing of new technologies and initiatives which will speed-up and improve deployment, as well as, enhancing the safety and wellbeing of employees.

By participating in the trial, CityFibre and Callan Connect will provide valuable feedback on the effectiveness of this new wearable technology when used in a real construction environment, thereby contributing towards the development of future innovations that will help tackle thousands of preventable industry-wide injuries.

Richard Thorpe, Chief Delivery Officer at CityFibre, said: “The welfare of the people building our network is of paramount importance to us. We are constantly challenging ourselves to find ways of helping to prevent injuries and improve our processes. As we deliver next generation connectivity, it’s fitting we are using connected devices to help monitor and maintain the health of our staff. It’s a combination that goes hand in glove. 

“We are also really pleased to be able to help a growing organisation like Feraru Dynamics which is a fantastic example of modern British engineering. We’re proud to do our bit to support projects like this which have the potential to benefit our contractors as well as thousands of people across the UK and beyond.”

Operative wearing HAV Sentry Glove

Andrei Feraru, Founder and Managing Director at Feraru Dynamics, added: “We’re really excited to be trialling our technology with Callan Connect and CityFibre in our hometown of Coventry.

“Being able to test solutions at live construction environments provides us with invaluable insights into how well our technology is performing and whether further developments are required to deliver our mission to enhance safe working practices through innovation.”

Stephen Callan, Head of Construction at Callan Connect, said: “The wellbeing of our employees is incredibly important to us, and given that HAVS is an irreversible condition that develops within a few years of continuous exposure, we take the risks very seriously. This new technology not only enables us to more accurately monitor working conditions of those exposed to vibrations, it also helps to give those using the machinery, and the company as a whole, a better understanding of the risks involved.” 

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