HS2 celebrates work site health and safety

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work site health and safety
Early visualisation of an HS2 train, December 2021

HS2 is celebrating innovations to improve work site health and safety across Britain’s largest construction project

HS2’s work site health and safety campaign – ‘Safe at Heart 2022 Inspiration Awards’ – chose three winners after receiving over 100 submissions from across the project, which now supports more than 25,000 jobs.

Entries were submitted under Safe at Heart’s three categories: I Care; You Count; and We Matter.

The EKFB occupational health team won in the ‘I Care’ category

Ahead of building the 80km central section of HS2 between London and the West Midlands, EKFB needed to install a series of batching plants along the route to supply concrete to work sites beside the line.

Each of the four plants arrived as giant kits to be assembled on site. Fixing together all the parts of each batching plant involved tightening over 2000 bolts with spanners and powered torque wrenches.

EKFB’s safety, health & welfare team saw an opportunity to boost the health and safety of workers building the plants by radically reducing their exposure to handheld power-tool vibrations. Insulating the tool with a rubberised sleeve reduced by 95% the vibration transmitted from tool to hand.

Align won in the ‘We Matter’ category by deploying robotic technology that has boosted worker safety, quality and efficiency on the production line making the tunnel’s concrete ring segments.

The segment production line’s health and safety has been enhanced through the automation of two stages of manufacture.

A robot is deployed to clean and oil the segment moulds before wet concrete is poured into them. By automating this role workers’ exposure to the dust during the cleaning process is eliminated. A second robot smooths the top surface of the mould, boosting product quality and homogeneity as well as freeing up worker time to add the human touch to the finishing process that automation might miss.

The introduction of innovative hearing protection at London work sites and creation of HAZID which gives workers a simple and easy-to-follow framework to create higher-quality risk assessments was recognised in the ‘You Count’ category.

The health and safety awards received over 100 entries

Technical services delivery director, Emma Head, commented: “We received over 100 entries for our Health & Safety awards, which is impressive and shows how much great work is already happening across HS2 to embed Safe at Heart into everything we do.

“We’ll take the improvement in practices from this year’s entries and winners, and look at how we can implement them elsewhere on the project.

“As a massive and long-term programme that is forecast to support around 34,000 jobs at peak construction, there’s an opportunity not just to see these innovations and initiatives implemented route wide on HS2, but also to affect long term change across the construction industry.”

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