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Forterra engineer develops innovative safety device

Hoveringham-based maintenance engineer Ed Berridge (kneeling) found a way to completely remove the need for human involvement in the stressing process
Hoveringham-based maintenance engineer Ed Berridge (kneeling) found a way to completely remove the need for human involvement in the stressing process

New way to remove need for human involvement in concrete flooring stressing process

A STRESSING procedure is essential to ensure the correct pre-stress strength is applied to the wires used to fortify concrete flooring, including ground-floor T-beams and Hollowcore products, but the process can be dangerous with the potential risk of wires snapping, resulting in flying debris.

Forterra have been praised in the past by the Mineral Products Association for their high safety standards surrounding this process. Previous protocols included sounding an alarm before the process starts to evacuate workers off site and secure the area, with two remaining operators utilizing a protective bunker to put the holding pins into place to stabilize the production beds.


Now the process is even safer using the automated device designed by Hoveringham-based maintenance engineer Ed Berridge, who found a way to completely remove the need for human involvement in the stressing process.

While on a development BTEC course, Mr Berridge designed a simple device made from two gas struts that are fitted to the stressing beds. These are pre-primed so that when the stress head has completed its process, the two steel pins that secure and stabilize the stressing bed are pushed into place.

With the instalment of HD CCTV cameras, the operators can see more clearly from the control room than they would have done from the bunkers, and when the stressing process is complete the holding pins are inserted remotely without any risk to themselves.

The device is currently being kitted out in one of the stressing areas and Forterra plan to have it installed across the Hoveringham site by the end of 2023, setting a new safety standard requirement for stressing.

Mr Berridge (pictured kneeling) said: ‘The Auto-Stressing Pin tool is the last piece in the jigsaw for safety around stressing wires; now all team members are able to stay out of the danger area during the process.

‘I’m grateful for all the support I received from my line manager, Ady Anstee, and the management structure in facilitating the delivery of this successful project. Safety will always be paramount on this site and projects like mine demonstrate how ideas can help to keep my fellow colleagues safe whilst at work.’

Hoveringham plant manager Chris Hancock commented: ‘It’s a fantastic achievement that members of our team have been able to focus on Forterra’s core values in Safety First, Driving Improvement and People Matter by implementing the Auto-Stressing Pin.

‘Engaging with our workforce and harnessing their ideas by giving them the support, infrastructure, and time to design, trial and implement ideas really does demonstrate what we can do as a team.

‘We all have a part to play in our own and others’ safety; if we can continue to harness the passion to drive improvement, then collectively we will keep pushing towards our ambition to achieve zero harm.’

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