An Edinburgh firm that aims to protect workers from injuries caused by heavy power tools has won a contract with Network Rail.
Reactec, set up in 2001 as a spin-out from the University of Edinburgh, landed the three-year deal – worth more than £1 million – to provide monitoring equipment and reporting software following a competitive tendering process.
The company’s systems monitor vibrations from hand-held tools in a bid to reduce exposure to hand and arm vibration (HAV), the cause of “vibration white finger” – one of the most common industrial diseases in the UK.
Sufferers can experience a permanent loss of sensation in their fingers, causing difficulty in picking up and manipulating small objects, according to the Health & Safety Executive, which estimates that almost two million people are at risk of developing the condition.
Chief executive Jacqui McLaughlin said: “We are thrilled to be awarded this major contract with Network Rail. Our innovative equipment is designed to help prevent this incurable and debilitating condition through the use of bespoke monitoring devices and management software.
“This investment is not just about equipment, but it is an investment in the health and safety of Network Rail’s workforce.”
Many of Network Rail’s staff and sub-contractors use vibrating equipment – including hand-held power tools such as concrete breakers, hammer drills, chainsaws and disc cutters – while maintaining the country’s railways, so have to be monitored accurately to prevent HAV.
In June, Reactec attracted £400,000 of investment from angel syndicate Archangels and the Scottish Investment Bank to further develop its products.