Revealed in Network Rails 2020/2021 statistics for the most-hit railway bridges, there were 1,624 rail bridge strikes across Britain in the last year.

These startling numbers highlight the importance of companies ensuring their vehicles are properly equipped and HGV drivers understanding the rules in line with health and safety features. Speaking on this, Yvonne Boyle, national bridge strike lead at Network Rail said: “Bridge strikes pose serious safety risks and can cause hours of unnecessary delays for road and rail users. We work closely with industry partners, drivers and operators to tackle the problem – through education, engineering, enablement and enforcement – but more needs to be done. Technology has a key part to play in mitigating bridge strikes and we welcome operators and industry partners taking proactive steps in this area.”

Penny Hydraulics are long standing members of The Association of Lorry Loader Manufacturers and Importers (ALLMI). ALLMI was founded in 1978 at the request of the Health and Safety Executive, and it remains today as the UK’s only Trade Association devoted exclusively to the lorry loader industry. All members share the same objective of promoting safe use and best practice when driving or using a lorry loader.

Penny Hydraulics works to provide a EN12999 (European Harmonised Standard for loader cranes) compliant product from start to finish. This includes ensuring our popular Vehicle Mounted Cranes are suitably fitted with an in-cab warning device which provides an audio and visual warning if the crane is not folded away correctly. Plus, our wide range of cranes from 100Kg to 5,000Kg are all fitted with overload protection and all cranes over 1t/m are available with stability control monitoring.

By installing this safety feature on our cranes, there is reduced risk of cranes being transported whilst unfolded or at height therefore reducing the risk of hitting rail bridges or causing damage elsewhere. All Penny Hydraulics Vehicle Mounted Lifting Equipment (VME) customers are made aware of their crane’s maximum lifting height from the crane base prior to purchasing.

 

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Penny Hydraulics also work directly with the vehicle manufacturers to develop OEM safety systems straight off the production line. For example, we have just finished converting a fleet of Volkswagen Crafters for a major utility company in the UK. For this project, the cranes are fully integrated with the vehicle and warns the driver visually and audibly through the vehicles own dashboard and entertainment system. Functions include crane on, boom stowed, stabiliser legs stowed, battery maintenance as well as flashing the hazard warning lights whilst the crane is in operation and issuing a warning message to notify personnel that a lifting procedure is taking place. We believe this to be a first in the industry and 3.5t vehicle marketplace.

Commenting on the beneficial safety features installed with our cranes, Sales and Marketing Director Richard Short stated: “Penny Hydraulics are market leaders in van mounted cranes in the 3.5t marketplace, our range of safety features ensure protection for the equipment and the operator. From design, manufacture, sales and service we provide cost effective safety systems and service contracts which ensure safe, efficient and compliant equipment offering piece of mind for the operator, installer and equipment owner”.

Penny Hydraulics supports Network Rail’s “Wise Up, Size Up” campaign, and urges companies to acknowledge the importance of lorry drivers knowing their vehicle height.

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