Cleshar leading the way in rail safety with innovative Ekso vest trials

As a proud leading national rail sector supplier, Cleshar Contract Services are continuously looking at new ways to innovate and make positive changes within the Rail industry. The safety of our operatives is critical to everything we do and as such we are increasingly looking at ways to improve safety throughout our organisation and the wider rail industry.

In February 2018, a senior Cleshar Manager, took time out to visit the Ekso Bionics factory in San Francisco, to view and trial the world leading Ekso Bionics product range. At this time the products had just recently launched with success in America. The intention of the visit was to better understand the benefits the Ekso product range could bring to Cleshar and the wider rail and construction industry in the UK. Following the visit, and discussions with Ekso Management, it was clear the potential these products possess.

A decision was taken to procure some of their products which were shipped to our training centre in London where trials began. Cleshar are the first UK rail industry organisation to trial and import the Ekso Bionics vest..

Cleshar staff in Ekso Bionics factory during demonstrations

The value the Ekso vest delivers is the reduction in stress and strain of high-frequency and long-duration activities that take a toll on our bodies over time. During its trial period and introduction in America, there has been significant improvements in workforce productivity and a dramatic reduction in workplace-related injuries reported. Workers stay healthier and experience comparatively increased stamina. The vest is easily fitted and provides lift assistance when the springs are activated; as a result the operative will get a noticeable level of support for all overhead tasks whether requiring tools or not.

Cleshar have been trialing the Ekso vest internally between our wide range of divisions and recently commenced trial demonstrations for the Rail Delivery Group along with many of the key national rail sector organisations.

Cleshar staff trialing the Ekso vests

Exoskeleton technology was first introduced in the military in 1960s, however only recently has there been a meaningful push to introduce this into the construction industry. Cleshar are proud to be the first company to introduce this technology to the UK rail industry and are now proactively identifying a range of activities, undertaken by our staff, where the introduction of the Ekso vest will be of benefit. This is a terrific example of a manager taking the initiative and, in doing so, coming up with a radical solution to a significant industry problem – ‘Positive Thinking Delivers Safety.

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