Clayco Project Superintendent’s Patented Safety Harness Aims to Save Lives in Construction Industry

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Kyle Nuehring

Recently, commercial real estate and construction company Clayco was listed on Fast Company’s 2021 “Best Workplaces for Innovators” list. A company that was founded with innovation as a key pillar, Clayco understands that innovative thinking comes not from the position of an individual within the company but through fostering growth at every opportunity.

Clayco has also worked since its inception to integrate safety, both physical and psychological, into the foundation of the organization. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found falls are the number one cause of fatality in the construction industry, causing one-third of all jobsite deaths.

The intersection of innovation and safety came to Clayco through Project Superintendent Kile Nuehring. While he isn’t the conventional innovator, his creative drive led him to think critically about the well-being of those around him. After being in the construction and metal work industries for most of his career, Kile noticed a safety solution that could be integral in preventing worksite falls. The Fall Arrest Acknowledgement System (F.A.A.S), is a safety device that can be built into new machines and retrofitted into existing boom and scissor lifts. Kile was recently issued a nonprovisional utility patent for F.A.A.S. and, to begin distribution, is working to install the system on all scissor lifts used on Clayco jobsites.

F.A.A.S. comprises a series of interrupter circuits that prevent power from being supplied to the controls of a boom or scissor lift when a safety lanyard is not attached during operations. Also included are a series of control relays, directional switches, magnetics sensors, one green acknowledgement light, one red acknowledgement light and one warning horn. With this invention, the operator of a boom or a scissor lift is required to be tied off to a designated point at all times during operation. The lanyard hook connection connects to the open magnetic sensor to close the circuit. The power passes that point to the machine operator’s controls and simultaneously sends a signal to the green acknowledgement light indicating that the operator is safe and tied off. If for any reason while the operator is elevated, he or she removes the lanyard hook from the tie off point, the now closed magnetic sensor immediately opens. When this happens, the green acknowledgement light turns red and an audible horn sounds until the magnetic sensor is closed again by re-installing the lanyard hook at the subsequent tie-off point making the operator safe again.

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