Could rail system revolutionise worker safety?
01 April 2016
The Institute of Transport Research and Development has today unveiled a new system designed to increase the safety of workers within construction sites and warehouses.
According to lead researcher Dr Michael Batt, the solution minimises the risk of slips and trips by transporting workers on a magnetic rail system.
"The workers wear unique PPE in the form of specially designed safety boots," explains Dr Batt. "The wheels on the underside of the footwear are formulated to fit exactly on a network of rail systems, which run throughout the sites and warehouses. When wishing to travel around a potentially dangerous site, the user simply stands on the rails, and the wheels are activated via magnetic and centrifugal forces. If the worker wishes to move forwards, he simply leans forward - and vice versa. Each worker will be issued with a mandatory standard-issue bell, which must be shaken to warn colleagues that the system is in use."
As well as addressing safety issues, Dr Batt believes the network of rail lines will also create jobs, as there will be a need for railroad switch/points guards to guide workers as they roll from post to post at speeds of up to 25mph.
"The Foplo Rail system will revolutionise the construction industry," Dr Batt asserts. "Not only will it prevent workers from slipping over debris and hazards, it will ultimately increase productivity. A happy employee is a productive employee. And, if I had the choice of negotiating my way around potentially dangerous hazards to get to my thermos of Bovril, or whizzing past colleagues merrily ringing my mandatory standard-issue bell, I know which I'd choose."
The Institute now plans to refine the original design to expand into broader applications. "Our researchers are currently developing a rail system for the oil & gas sector that will see users travel at speeds in excess of 50mph," observes Dr Batt. "And it will have lasers."