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New system will prevent falls from trailers

Trailer manufacturer Schmitz Cargobull has worked in partnership with haulage firm RJ Jones Haulage Ltd to develop a 'fall arrest' system that will reduce accidents among hauliers delivering building products to both builders' merchants and construction sites.

The system uses a collapsible steel framework fitted to a flat-bed trailer. It enables delivery drivers to quickly and easily harness themselves to a simple safety wire so that, in the event of a slip or fall during the vehicle unloading process, workers are prevented from hitting the ground. Furthermore, the device can be quickly and safely erected at floor level to ensure that the driver is never vulnerable when the time comes to offload the vehicle.

“According to the Health & Safety Executive, falls in the 'freight by road' industry caused 299 major injuries in the 2006/07 work year, including one fatality. Falls from trailers are among the most common accidents. Each year there are several reported incidents of drivers suffering serious injury and, in some cases, death as a result of falling from a trailer when delivering to the construction sector,” explains Schmitz Cargobull's technical director Derek Skinner. “We believe that the development of our new 'fall arrest' equipment is a major step forward in reducing such unfortunate mishaps.”

Based in North Wales, RJ Jones originally approached Schmitz Cargobull to devise something that could help reduce the risk to their staff and their clients when delivering bulky and awkward loads for clients in the construction sector.

“We worked with Schmitz Cargobull's technical team to come up with a system that is both simple and extremely effective,” says Andy Larkin, a director of RJ Jones

RJ Jones' client base includes Kingspan Panels Ltd – one of the UK and Ireland's leading suppliers of insulated panel products – and RJ Jones has ordered 100 new flat bed trailers from Schmitz Cargobull to service the Kingspan account – 70 of which will be fitted with the 'fall arrest' mechanism.

“We deliver Kingspan products to builders merchants nationally. Many of our deliveries involve our workers dropping off insulated sheets and other building materials from the trailers when they arrive at the delivery destination and we felt we had to do something to make the process less hazardous,” adds Andy Larkin.

RJ Jones' new trailer fleet is being built at Schmitz Cargobull's UK production site at Harelaw, County Durham.

Schmitz Cargobull expects strong demand for trailers fitted with its new 'fall arrest' system – particularly from hauliers working in the construction sector.

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