the route to safety

When health and safety issues determined that guards needed to be fitted to 3,000 cable winches on a national fleet of vehicles, Lamb Engineering set about finding the best way to overcome some unavoidable constraints.

Budget limitations and the need to ensure that the operators' productivity was not reduced by the guards were two paramount considerations imposed by the telecommunications industry client.

There were 25 variations of the mobile winches ranging from small diameter winches fitted to vehicles through to one-metre diameter capstans fitted to special units, themselves the size of small cars.

At the same time it was essential that the final product was robust enough to satisfy stringent health and safety demands.

To get an essential understanding of the winches in operation and how the operators used them, Lamb's Technical Team carried out investigations at the customer's sites throughout the UK.

The materials chosen by Lamb Engineering were a steel angle frame infilled with mesh and then powder coated for protection against corrosion.

During many months of detailed focus, Lamb Engineering produced dozens of working samples which were fitted to cable units for appraisal. Suggestions from both the Health and Safety Executive and the winch operators meant further modifications.

Once the design for each type was finalised, they were manufactured in batches and despatched, ready for fitting on sites all over the UK. Cable winching units which did not fit into the main category variations were individually made and fitted at Lamb's premises.

The outcome met the client's two vital criteria - they were produced within budget and do not hinder productivity.

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Health & Safety Executive

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