More praise for boy’s dust-beating broom from health & safety experts

An award-winning team of QE engineering students have won plaudits for two presentations they gave on their solution to the problem of dust on construction sites. The presentations were delivered to representatives of the world’s largest occupational health & safety organisation, the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

The Year 13 team, who won the South East Regional Final of the Constructing Excellence 2015 competition during the summer, gave a presentation to an IOSH South East seminar at Millwall FC’s stadium, The New Den. The following day, the four-strong team – Daniil Slavin, Mitul Shah, William Forrester and Alex Norcliffe (pictured below, left to right) – were in action again, presenting to the IOSH London Metropolitan Branch in Marble Arch.

Both presentations form part of the national final of the Constructing Excellence competition.

The team explained to the IOSH representatives how their idea for a water-fed broom could mitigate the problem of dust, which is one of the construction industry’s largest health risks.

The boys developed the broom as part of the Engineering Development Trusts’ (EDT) Engineering Education Scheme in conjunction with Lovell Construction. Danny Read, Senior Scheme Manager with EDT South East, also played a leading role in the presentations.

After carrying out research and experiments and collaborating with Lovell’s small tool and equipment suppliers, they devised a prototype broom incorporating a controlled water mist.

""William told the seminar at Millwall FC: “We started off with very little knowledge of the entire construction industry. With the help of Lovell and other experts in the sector, it has become a large part of our lives.”

In the course of their presentations, they looked specifically at how their product might alleviate the threat of an epidemic of silicosis caused by construction dust and debris.

They also discussed the implications and limitations of other potential solutions and answered questions from members of IOSH about the effectiveness, design, testing and future potential of their product.

Among the feedback following the seminar at Millwall FC were very positive comments from Chris Lucas, HM Inspector of Health and Safety at the Health & Safety Executive, who said: “It is not always what you can see that is the problem; it is what you can’t see.

“One of the reasons construction workers are at risk is that they are doing the same job day in, day out, and it can lead to an accumulation of dust in their respiratory systems over the years. Dust is sometimes seen as tomorrow’s problem, but it soon catches up with you.”

IOSH London Metropolitan Branch Vice-Chair, Sue Manthorpe, said the project offered a “simple solution to a chronic problem” in the sector and was a “fantastic example” of the construction industry involving the next generation to make it healthier and safer.

Technology teacher Michael Noonan, who oversaw the boys, reports that IOSH representatives at the Marble Arch meeting have written to say that the presentation there was very well received.