Rental man catapulted from boom

10 August, 2011

A rental company delivery driver was catapulted out of a boom lift as he was conducting a hand over this weekend.

The incident occurred in Grass Valley between Sacramento, California and Lake Tahoe. The man an employee of HBE Rentals, a local company, was apparently demonstrating the proper use of the machine to a customer before unloading it from the back of his truck. However he had not yet put the unloading ramps in place and inadvertently drove it off the back.
The machine’s rear wheels landed on the ground and it remained upright and possibly even undamaged, however the catapult effect threw the man into the air and out of the cage, as he seems not to have been wearing a harness with attached lanyard.

Although he was thrown five or six metres, he was fortunate enough to have survived the fall, but received injuries to his shoulders, neck, wrists and legs and had to be airlifted to hospital.

Vertikal Comment

We have often stressed the fact that unloading a boom lift from the back of the truck is one of the most dangerous times in terms of risk from creating a catapult effect. And yet we know all too well from our experiences at Vertikal Days that many drivers, responsible for delivering aerial lifts – especially subcontractors – do not like to bother with a harness.

This man is lucky to be alive although if he had been wearing a harness his injuries would almost certainly have been significantly lighter. He was also not doing the customer any favours with such a handover. He clearly should have unloaded the machine first of all and then demonstrated it.

TESTIMONIAL from FBIOH (Facilitators of Business Improvement through Occupational Health)

09 August, 2011

Being a former Police Officer, rock climber to an advanced standard and part time outdoor pursuits instructor at the Lancashire Constabulary Police Cadet Training Centre, I instantly recognised that this is a great new product. I know from firsthand experience that the trauma from arresting a fall from height can be significant and at best extremely uncomfortable. Now being directly involved in the Health and Safety community the ZT Safety Harness provides what is in my view the best fall arrest safety solution, it is a comfortable and cost effective solution which I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending to our members.

Harry Le-Moine
Director of Development, https://

ZT Harness feature in KHL Magazine

09 August, 2011

Harnessing the future: a close up look at ZT Safety Systems revolutionary harness, designed to minimise harness trauma
Written by Maria Hadlow - 09 Aug 2011

Gordon Leicester the founder and owner of UK aerial rental company Facelift had been mulling over ideas to improve fall restraint harnesses for some time when he finally had his Eureka moment.

Suffering from a painful neck - he took a muscle relaxant on a long haul plane journey to help him sleep and when he awoke had formed the concept for an entirely new type of harness.

The problems he was trying to overcome were many-fold from the seemingly trivial to life threatening.

On the serious side, a fall from height of just 2m wearing a conventional harness attached to a lanyard can cause serious injury and even death due to the abrupt stop. Severe whip lash could break your neck, internal organs are damaged - in some case prolepses can occur - and, if you survive that, blood supply can begin to be cut off. If you are not brought to the ground relatively quickly - in perhaps as little as 20minutes you may lose consciousness and again - die.

On a seemingly more trivial note many operatives who are in and out of truck cabs between working a height do not want to be getting in and out of a harness all day and yet do not want to wear it permanently because it is uncomfortable. The result can be that they don't wear the harness at all putting them self at risk.

Mr Leicester's ZT harness uses the body's natural spring to arrest fall but not with a sudden stop. The harness consists of a conventional looking harness which supports the upper body but, through an alternate thick/thin webbing system, the load bearing pressure is directed to leg gators which grip the calfs. The webbing and gators are sewn into a pair of trousers - although the trouser fabric contributes nothing to the strength of the harness, it is just a carrier for the webbing.

In the event of a fall, force is immediately directed through the gator, gripping the calf and allowing the body to act like a spring or shock absorber..

Testing carried out at the Millbrook vehicle testing centre in Milton Keynes, UK - which uses sophisticated crash test dummies equipped with load sensors and high speed cameras - showed astonishing results.

ZT Safety System harnesses were compared with conventional front supporting and rear supporting harnesses. Permanent damage from whiplash is said to occur when forces of 37N/s is applied to the neck: conventional harnesses recorded forces of up to 90N/s. The force on the groin was 1.2t - now that's going to hurt! - compared to nothing on the ZT system due to the calf grip design.

Interest in the ZT harness is high and ZT Safety Systems is getting a lot of evaluation models out into the market. The harness can be sewn into any type of work or uniform trouser in as light of heavy material as the customer requires. Once the operator has his or her work wear on, there is no need to consider the harness - you are always wearing it.

The harness and trousers are machine washable and come with a lanyard bag which doubles as a protective wash bag to prevent the metal elements damaging your washing machine.

Mr Leicester and his partner in ZT, Steve Morris have sourced all the components in the UK and will assemble at the factory near Brighton, Sussex.

Mr Leicester said, "There are between 4 and 10 million harnesses purchased every year - to have just 5% of that market would be great. But the important thing is that this harness will save peoples lives."

Generously, part of the annual profit from the new harness will be donated to the Lighthouse Club, a charitable UK organisation which helps people injured in the construction industry.

ZT Harness feature in this months Cranes and Access

07 June, 2011

A Safe Pair of Trousers

Some three years after the initial idea, and following more than 18 months of extraordinary perseverance and determination, ZT Safety Systems has passed all of the required testing and obtained an independently verified CE certification for its radical new fall arrest harness. The design also won the recent IPAF award for ‘Contribution to safe working at height’ and was runner-up in the IPAF best designed harness for women competition last year.

The quest to design a better type of harness was driven by frustrations over the lack of real development in the harness market, this in spite of the fact that many users find harnesses uncomfortable, restrictive and a challenge to put on and correctly adjust. Even more of a concer are the suspension trauma issues and the serious and grossly unpleasant groin injuries inflicted by poorly adjusted traditional harnesses.

ZT is the brain child of Gordon Leicester, founder and owner of Hickstead, UK-based access rental company Facelift and also the originator of the IPAF Clunk Click harness campaign. He says that having tried all manner of ideas he woke from a deep sleep in 2008 with the solution in his head - a true Eureka moment - in the manner of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his Kubla Kahn.

The basic concept centres on the harness supporting the chest area/torso in the usual way, but rather than grabbing the groin, it grabs the calf muscles, via sliding straps and self-tightening cuffs. This pulls the falling person into the foetal position which provides a shock absorbing effect as well as supporting the person in a comfortable manner and that does not induce suspension trauma.

The challenge then was how to bring the two support areas together in a practical way and this was achieved by building the two parts into a pair of trousers. The trousers are not actually a structural part of the harness - they simply work as ‘carrier’ and support medium for the straps that extend down to the calf grippers/cuffs which are ‘tacked into the legs. As a result the harness can be built into any pair of trousers that have a lower leg wide enough to accommodate the cuffs. This can range from a pin-stripe suit to a favourite pair of jeans, or more practically an overall such as a bib and brace or boiler suit. Having drawn the concept on a scrap of paper Leicester spoke to Facelift’s operations director – Frank Page. Why? It turns out that Page is an indentured tailor and highly accomplished dress maker who confirmed that the ‘garment’ could be made, that it would work and proceeded to produce a rough prototype by hand. Once made and subjected to rudimentary tests, patents were applied for to cover the key design ideas. Leicester then started showing his idea to others -including Vertikal Press which had been partners on the Clunk-Click campaign - to increase the use of harnesses and lanyards in boom lifts. Given that the prototypes looked a little like the trousers from the Wallace and Gromit ‘The Wrong Trousers’ cartoon you can imagine that the reception was mixed at best… In fact many in the industry thought that he had finally lost his marbles.

Leicester also began to have some doubts himself… However while visiting the Vertikal/Cranes & Access stand at Bauma 2010 we coaxed him into putting on the sample pair that he was carrying around. In spite of them being a tad too small for him he managed to squeeze into them and kept them on and spent the whole day walking around the big show in his invention. He says: “It suddenly dawned on me several hours later that I had been wearing a harness all day and had virtually forgotten about it - it was so comfortable and easy to wear in spite of wearing the normal trousers making it a touch too tight. It was then that I realized this product really had a future and that it was definitely the way to go.”

Getting it made.
Having had this second Eureka moment he and some of his key colleagues went to work in earnest to turn the harness into a commercial product. The original plan was to contract the production out to a supplier in the developing world, talking to companies that he knew with relevant experience. He was warned against China and encouraged to look to more towards India. Visits were organised to a number of specialist manufacturers in India, but the more companies they spoke with the clearer it became that finding someone able to make it for them did not exist. The problem was the wide range ospecial tooling required for what, in garment terms, would always be low annual volumes. “While the trip proved to be a failure we learnt an enormous amount from the exercise which has stood us in good stead through the next stage - investing in our own production unit,” says Leicester. Having come to the conclusion that he would have to produce his new product from scratch, Leicester and his colleagues started to trawl the internet for suppliers for items such as the webbing, the cotton stitching, the draw-strings within the cuffs and the main metal clasp/buckle.

Becoming obsessive
At this point, the project started to shift from one of simply manufacturing the product to a quest to produce a perfect product that utilised the very best components possible. So not only did the team trawl the internet for suppliers, and having selected what they considered to be the best, ran extended tests on the samples to see how they would stand up to years of usage. One casualty of this was the initial supplier of the webbing - after some sixty washes in an industrial machine the German sourced webbing lost its colour, started to fray and lose its strength. The shock finding resulted in the material being taken back by the embarrassed supplier and the search restarting. It turned out that the very best webbing was available much closer to home from a specialist manufacturer in Wales. This experience turned the team towards not only sourcing the best components but also trying to do so as locally as possible. In the end they have a truly all-British product, and more importantly, they are not dependent on shipping the components half way around the world - something that is becoming more desirable given the environmental issues and cost of fuel.

The passion for excellence and local suppliers continued to every small detail, including a major search for the right type of brass ferrules in the calf grippers. In the end only one supplier was found – a company in the West Midlands that specializes solely in producing ferrules. The main clasp/buckle was a challenge and as with all of the components the ZT team over-specified every aspect of the product. As a result the material used is a high tensile plated steel. The spring that closes the safety latch failed after 24,000 openings and closings by a machine that looks like something IKEA uses to test chairs and beds.By our reckoning 24,000 operations equates to a single use every day of the year for 66 years. In spite of that, the design was changed and improved so it would not fail.

Sourcing the stitching involved visits to a number of manufacturers before the team found one that they considered the best available. They then specified a heavier 13 gauge thread when the smaller 18 gauge would have done. The obsessive approach that the team has used to develop the harness is infectious, fascinating and the passion great to see in a harness industry where mediocrity and low price is all too prevalent. As well as all sourcing work the small ZT team - now led by Steven Morris who gave up a high flying, well paid job with American Express to join Leicester’s dream on the promise of future riches once the product takes off - had to find machinery that could handle the production of the harness. The decision was made early on to buy in the trousers (as a component of the harness) from a specialist supplier allowing complete flexibility to suit the customer. The production equipment, a combination of specialist sewing machines cutters and presses is largely Italian and Japanese, much of it purchased second hand from company closures. This is one area where the recession provided a helping hand. On to testing

Once the pre-production units were made, testing and CE marking came to the fore. As it is a safety related product, third party independent testing and certification is essential. Knowing nothing of what was required the team was surprised to find that harness industry testing requirements were basic at best and essentially involved dropping the harness with a test-load attached - if it didn’t break it passed. Given the very different nature of their product the ZT team knew that they had to do much more than this if they were to both rest easy and convince buyers and regulators. They therefore set out to rent a fully functioning crash dummy for their tests – and approached the Millbrook vehicle test centre near Milton Keynes in Bedfordshire which was very reticent to rent dummies given the cost of what is a highly sophisticated measurement tool.

Instead they offered to do the testing for ZT because a) they didnot want a third party playing withtheir ‘dolls’ b) as far as they were aware no one had ever done it before and they could see that this might in time become an additional revenue stream and c) they had all the other equipment required, including high speed cameras that capture the results of crash testing. In order to set the parameters the team started by testing a number of ordinary harnesses including those with front and rear mounted lanyard attachment points and were shocked at the results. Watching the video of the very first test with a well-known full body harness - with front lanyard attachment – you cannot help emitting an involuntary gasp as you see the effect on the neck. The crash dummies are designed to measure whiplash and the normal tolerance level beyond which permanent damage is caused is 37N. Results in a regular harness showed measurements of up to 81N! The ZT Harness systematically recorded maximum levels of 18N - well within the safety margin. The other forces that the dummies were able to measure were groin loadings. This is an area of risk with cheap or badly adjusted harnesses and we have seen a number of gruesome photographs of the injuries to male ‘bits’ after a fall in such a harness. The testing showed typical loadings in the groin area of 1.2 to 1.8 tonnes, even with good harnesses. The key point of the ZT harness is that it eliminates the groin straps entirely.

In summary....
While we may have had some early scepticism, we have to admit to being totally impressed with the final product and certain of its success. Having visited the ZT production facility as part of the research for this article, we were very impressed with the passion and attention to detail that had gone into the development and production of the product – BUT according to Cranes & Access publisher Leigh Sparrow, it was only after trying a ZT harness on that had been made to fit that he too had a Eureka moment. “I had tried one of the prototypes at last year’s Vertikal Days and while understanding the benefits, the trousers were way too big and my reaction was more ‘OK I see how it works yes very good’. Put on a pair that fit properly and is of course the final product - and wow you really get what it is all about. If you are serious about safety and working at height the ZT is worth every penny of its £275 retail price.”

ZT Harness is a ‘Show stopper’ at the NEC Safety and Health Expo

30 May, 2011

Thanks to everyone who came to visit us at the NEC Safety and Health Expo 2011, we had magnificent response from a range of industry safety experts and users of fall safety harnesses. Many were impressed by the harnesses ability to be customised specifically for their profession and industry requirements. During the three days of the show, we were able to gather valuable feedback that will further enable us to develop the product and enhance the performance for key sectors.

The ZT harness caught the eye of many Blue chip companies who have since requested demonstrations to their H&S executives and have since gone on to place orders.

Many of the larger companies could see that the benefits of the ZT harness for them, was in the fact that it could be used as everyday work wear, therefore ensuring compliance to health and safety regulations.

As most of you are aware the traditional harness has not changed fundamentally in over fifty years, with the use of groin straps leading to a high risk of fall arrest trauma and possible Orthostatic Syncope (suspension trauma) - so the ZT harness brings a whole new concept to personal safety and could potentially be the difference between life and death!

For those of you who were unable to attend the Birmingham Expo we will also be exhibiting at the following shows:

Vertikal Days
Haydock Park, Liverpool
Wed 22nd & 23rd June 2011

Dusseldorf, Germany
Tue 18th Oct – Fri 21st Oct 2011

If you would like to attend either show as our guest please contact who will arrange free VIP entry tickets. If however you are unable to attend but would like us to demonstrate to your company please contact us to arrange a meeting.

Look forward to seeing you soon!

Introductory offer - £60 Trade in voucher

30 May, 2011

Recieve £60 trade in for your current harness towards the new award winning ZT Safety Harness.
ZT Safety Systems are offering you the opportunity to trade in your old safety harness and receive a £60 voucher towards the new award winning ZT Safety Harness.

Be the first to impress your colleagues by wearing the latest in fall safety protection. No more uncomfortable groin straps, an all day high performance work wear that has undergone an unsurpassed level of testing that exceeds current legislation.

To receive your voucher please contact

Terms and conditions apply.

See the ZT Harness at NEC Safety & Health Expo in May

01 May, 2011

Fresh back from the 2011 IAPA (International awards for Powered Access) in Amsterdam having won the coveted ‘Contribution to Safe working at Height’ award, we will be showcasing the ‘New Revolutionary ZT Safety Harness’ at the Safety & Health Expo Birmingham NEC from Tuesday 17th May until Thursday 19th May 2011.

ZT Safety Systems will be exhibiting at the show in Hall 1 Stand J86 if you would like a free live demonstration. You can even try on the harness to see how comfortable it is to wear. Our fully trained specialist team will be on hand to explain how the harness works compared to the traditional fall safety harnesses and answer all your questions.

If you are already attending then please feel free to pop by to say hello. Promise you there will be no hard sell as we believe the harness will promote itself.

If however you have not registered please contact
Who will happily arrange ‘VIP’ access for you as our guests. Please note numbers are limited so first come first serve.

If you cannot attend on this occasion then please note we will be exhibiting at the following Expo’s later in 2011:

June 22nd & 23rd Haydock Park for the ‘Vertikal’ Expo
October 18th-21st Dusseldorf, Germany for the A+A International Trade Fair.

Look forward to seeing you there!

ZT Safety Team

ZT's first award for safety innovation

16 April, 2011

The ZT Safety Harness has won its first award for safety innovation at the IAPA awards held in Amsterdam on the 14th of April 2011. The award was given in the category of 'Contribution to safe working at height'. The judges said that ZT "has developed a unique safety harness that has the potential to save lives, whose ease of use will encourage people to adopt it, and which improves and reduces the risks associated with conventional models".

The IAPA awards (International Awards for Powered Access) are jointly organised by Access International and IPAF, and this is the premier event celebrating best practice and excellence in the powered access industry. The awards ceremony and dinner was attended by over 450 international delegates, and held in the evening following the afternoons IPAF Summit conference, which offers a unique setting to learn about the latest developments in the industry.

The Contribution to Work at Height Safety award was accepted by Steve Morris ZT's CEO and Gordon Leicester ZT's founder and chairman.

We intend to win many more awards for our products, but this was a fantastic start so early in the businesses existence. Attending these awards gave the perfect audience for exposure to this innovative product. Following the event we were approached by a number of industry professionals to offer their congratulations, support and requests for product demonstrations and presentations.

Our thanks goes to everyone in the business for their strong teamwork and commitment to creating innovative products.

ZT Safety Systems at IOSH

16 March, 2011

ZT Safety Systems are attending a number of 'work at height' related Health and Safety shows this year. The first of which is the IOSH show currently open London's Excel Centre in London's Docklands. The show held over two days in March has provided a great opportunity to meet senior Health and Safety Officers and representatives from a wide range of organisations with 'Work at Height' safety responsibilities.

Following the IOSH show, ZT will be exhibiting at the Safety and Health Expo held at the NEC in Birmingham from the 17th to the 19th May. Please contact us if you would like to arrange a meeting and demonstration.

ZT Safety Harness shortlisted for the IAPA awards

14 March, 2011

The ZT Safety Harness has been shortlisted for the IAPA Awards in the category 'Contribution to safe working at height'

The finalists for the International Awards for Powered Access (IAPAs) 2011 were announced following the meeting of the judging panel in London on 28 January.

More than 100 entries were received. The IAPAs are jointly organised by Access International and IPAF. The winners to be announced at the awards ceremony in Amsterdam on 14 April.

We look forwards to coming back with some good news.