Cable Safe Limited is a Doncaster-based company that has been delivering height safety systems to clients in a variety of industries for almost two decades. The solutions provided by the company are designed to ensure the safety of those who work at height by arresting any falls that they might experience, as well as assisting their secure return to ground level. The company offers a number of systems that can be adapted for a broad range of applications, but it also develops bespoke systems for clients as and when required.
Cable Safe approached the Sheffield Innovation Programme (SIP) with a request to determine the stability and strength characteristics of a new outdoor safety system that it was developing for a client, as well as to conduct detailed analysis on an existing system.
‘Our initial involvement with the Sheffield Innovation Programme started when we were approached by an existing client with a need to have one of our fall arrest systems installing at one of their depots,’ explained Stuart Langowski, who is the Health and Safety Manager at Cable Safe. ‘The difference with this system was that it needed to be outside where there is no structure to connect to. Our existing systems for this client and others are predominantly in their workshops and spray booths in depots all over the UK.’
‘The client is a large company within the portable/modular building industry. They need to be able to work on the roof of a portable building in a safe manner. Our systems allow the operative to connect at ground level, gain access to a roof and work unhindered while connected. In the event of a fall the system locks off, arresting the fall and minimising the impact on the operative. Then the suspended operative can be safely lowered to the ground using the built-in rescue mechanism without anyone else leaving the ground or putting themselves at risk.’
The company had the idea of designing a portable structure that could be connected to its existing system to give its client the solution they were looking for, but it needed to be certain that the proposed combination system would function as expected.
What we did
The Materials & Engineering Research Institute (MERI) at Sheffield Hallam University began by obtaining the detailed plans for both the proposed and existing safety systems, along with full specifications of the materials used in their construction. This information enabled them to create precise mathematical models of the structures so that their strength, stability and overall integrity could be analysed under a variety of conditions. They also analysed how different component specifications would fare when subjected to varying forces, and this helped them to identify the optimal configurations of materials for the intended application of this particular safety system.
MERI’s mathematical modelling and analysis gave Cable Safe all the information that was required for the company to develop the new safety system with full confidence in its capabilities. ‘The outdoor system has been taken on board by this client and is currently being looked at by others,’ Mr Langowski said. ‘We believe it will help with the growth of our business and continue to allow for safe work at height for our clients. The calculations have helped us when looking at our current systems as well as new installations.’
Given the success of this project, it is no surprise that Cable Safe now anticipates working with MERI again at some point. ‘The knowledge and help we received was priceless,’ Mr Langowski said, ‘and we look forward to working with Sheffield Hallam University in the future.’