Australian Secondary Guarding for Scissor Lifts Goes Global
Melbourne-based Equipment Safety Systems (EQSS), who developed the OverWatch™ secondary guarding solution for scissor lifts is building upon its success in Australia by expanding into international markets.
OverWatch can now be found on constructions sites across the globe. Rental companies and major contractors are introducing OverWatch, raising safety levels for scissor lift operators in the U.K., the U.S., Singapore, Japan, and Europe.
It has been met with the same positive reaction as in Australia, with companies keen to address the risk of crushing and protect their employees at all times.
The push globally is just beginning according to Ross Bowden, managing director of EQSS. “We have trials ongoing in the snowy mountains of the U.S. and in the humid skyscraper apartments of Singapore. Rental companies are looking to upgrade their fleets to meet the demands of their customers – the contractors and builders.
“OEMs have approved it on their models, and we are thrilled that Haulotte is offering OverWatch as a factory option on scissors coming out of their production facilities in France and China.”
The reaction has been very positive, Ross adds, as EQSS continues to showcase OverWatch in multiple countries worldwide.
“Companies are keen to see our system for themselves and try it out on their own scissor lifts to see what it can do. Every contractor that we have spoken to in the U.S. and U.K. have all told us that incidents and near misses are occurring, but they are unaware of a solution that works effectively on scissor lifts. Once they see OverWatch in action, they immediately see the benefits and the protection it provides,” said Ross.
OverWatch has been successfully adopted in Australia because it is effective in reducing the risk of injury by entrapment, without impacting the normal operation of the equipment or the productivity of the operator. It was one of the first viable secondary guarding solutions for scissor lifts to be brought to market.
Australia has a robust health and safety culture and is a leader in using technology to improve worker safety. The industry in Australia recognized the need for secondary guarding solutions for scissors and despite trialing many ideas, no solutions were yet available on the market to satisfy the contractors and the SafeWork authorities.
To address the entrapment hazard on scissor lifts, EQSS began developing a solution. Having consulted with major contractors, EWPA members, and collaborating with leading hire companies, the development of the high-tech OverWatch was fast-tracked and quickly brought to production.
Overwatch was launched in 2020 following a recommendation that secondary guarding is considered on EWPs where a risk of entrapment exists. Around the same time, one of Australia’s largest contractors mandated the use of approved secondary guarding device on their worksites. SafeWork Australia also issued guidance recommending that EWPs with a secondary guarding device should be considered when work is to be undertaken anywhere where a crush risk has been identified.
Ross added, “We’ve sold enough systems now to know how it is used and what the operators expect. It is important that time is taken to explain to workers how OverWatch works and how they need to adapt to better use the scissor lift. The benefit is that tradies adapt really well and like any tool once they understand how it works, they adjust and work smart to get the job done.”
The Australian hire industry embraced the launch of OverWatch and it has now been fitted to more than 9,000 units in Australia.
In taking OverWatch to new markets, Ross explained that the fact that it’s proven in the Australian market has been a significant factor. “Overseas rental companies and the contractors are impressed that so many OverWatch devices are being used every day in Australia. It certainly helps that it’s a proven design.”
“Improving operator safety is at the core of everything we do here at EQSS. We take a rigorous and unrelenting approach which ultimately drives the development of innovative and reliable systems that are truly effective in real-world conditions. OverWatch is proven in this market with contractors and hire companies, and we are confident that it will continue to be positively received on worksites around the world.”
With a LiDAR sensor at its core, OverWatch detects the operator’s position and movements and intervenes only when their safety is compromised. It does not interfere with normal operation of the scissor lift, instead it continuously monitors the operator’s position using an infrared light beam. The system can determine when an operator has moved abruptly or is in a dangerous position, either of which will immediately stop the lift.
It is a robust, unobtrusive, and cost-effective secondary guarding solution that fits any scissor lift. It works on all jobsites and in all weather conditions.
EQSS manufactures their products in-house in Keysborough including software development, design, and electronic production. They are investing in growing production capacity to support their international expansion.
For more information on OverWatch and EQSS, please visit www.eqss.com.au.