Nationwide Platforms reveals ‘seat belt’ for MEWPs
By Euan Youdale09 September 2022
Nationwide Platforms has unveiled a new version of its Harness On safety device, which the company has described as a gamechanger.
Harness On is a simple device that provides added safety by ensuring that the operator’s harness is attached to the basket.
The updated design was launched by Nationwide Platforms - the UK’s largest rental company and part of the Loxam Group, at its Working at Height convention today (7 September 2022).
The device’s patented inductive ring provides a complete connection via the carabiner on a harness, allowing an electrical current to flow and switch a MEWP on. Without it the machine will simply not work.
It now means there are two Harness On devices which are suitable for different settings.
As Paul Rankin, managing director of Nationwide Platforms, explains, with the first Harness On, the lanyard is connected between the operator’s harness and the device itself, and is more suited to a fixed site application, where a building is complete and machines have individual users carrying out facility management tasks, as an example.
The second Harness On device, which has just been launched, and is seen as a groundbreaking product, is designed for multi-use construction projects where there are multiple operators using the same MEWP, which can only be activated when the harness carabiner ring is attached to the inductor ring on the machine. Once disconnected the machine powers off.
Both versions have been designed in conjunction with MEWP manufacturer Dingli and Nationwide Platform’s US-based development partner and aviation specialist Control Dynamics Inc (CDI).
As Rankin says, “CDI comes from the aviation sector concentrating on safe working at height around planes and was originally working through the concept with us.
“When we got to the point that we had a possible solution we brought Dingli in and between us we made Harness On ‘one’ and we have used the same relationship for Harness On ‘two’.”
Nationwide has also been working very closly with major UK contractor Balfour Beatty, which has endorsed the updated device and trialled it on major projects in the UK.
The journey between Harness On one and two, took four years of development and numerous on-site trials, with the product evolving to enhance the inductive technology and ensure it is easily applicable with any standard carabiner.
Describing the second Harness On as the ‘seat belt’ for the MEWP world, Rankin says the device will prove to be a gamechanger thanks to its simple operation, as described by its strapline: click connect and operate.
“In the same way you have seat belts in a car this is a seat belt for MEWPs.
“We hope that this very simple, practical way of thinking about it will help speed up the adoption.”
Under the arrangement, Nationwide Platforms holds the patent and Dingli carries out the production. As Rankin explains, “As our relationship with Dingli was becoming stronger and we were looking for a partner it made sense we explored that with Dingli.”
However, the product is not for the sole use of Nationwide, rather it is aimed at full market adoption. “We see every year, the number of deaths from working at height and we feel it is the right thing to get this product out as quickly as we can and speed up the market adoption of it.
“We are doing this as a true thought leader and offering this product to all of our competitors. ”
Rankin adds, “Loxam wants to be known as the company that brought the seat belt for cars to MEWPs, and that is the support they are giving us, so that we can to that.”
Peter Douglas, IPAF CEO and manager director, says, “Nationwide Platforms is renowned for its emphasis on safety and we’re delighted to see them push the boundaries even further to ensure workers return home safely.”
Nationwide is now looking to fit Harness On to all new Nationwide Platforms boom lifts from 2023.
“We are also aiming to match any customer commitments by retrofitting the existing fleet as required,” adds Rankin.