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The health, safety and wellbeing of a van operative should always come first

Stefan

Health and wellbeing is an expression that has risen to the very top of people’s agendas over the past few years, whether that be at work or at home. And as one of the most respected brands in vehicle conversion, it’s something that Bri-Stor Systems takes extremely seriously. Whether it’s stringent legislation or simply best practice, health and wellbeing is always at the forefront of the minds of Stefan Callear and his New Product Development (NPD) team when it comes to developing brand new solutions.

“As a professional converter, everything is extensively tested before inclusion in a customer’s vehicle”, Stefan explains. “We’ve been converting vans for over 35 years and work closely with the Vehicle Certification Agency to keep on top of legislation as it evolves. All new vehicles for highway use are designed and built to a globally recognised set of standards. These standards cover areas such as occupancy and 3rd party safety, braking, stability, emissions, lighting and fire prevention.”

A couple of examples of the regulations the team have to consider include:

  • Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)

All units that can be active whilst the vehicle in motion (e.g. cameras, invertors, sensors etc.) must have been tested and approved to ensure they will not interfere with the base vehicle systems.

  • External projections

With a few exceptions, any externally fitted components must have at least 2.5mm radii on all edges if less than 2m from the ground (in front of the bulkhead in a light van up to 3.5 tonnes or over the entire 360-degree surface of a car).

“But the rules and regulations are simply our starting point,” Stefan continues. “We hold ourselves to an even higher standard and in addition, seek to incorporate industry best practise in every build that we do.”

Adding racking to the back of a van is a significant undertaking. Unless the racking and its associated equipment and tools are secured correctly, they could cause injury to the occupants in the case of an accident. Think about it, if a vehicle has to stop abruptly, the contents in the back of a van could smash into the bulkhead and potentially endanger those sat on the other side. So how does Bri-Stor Systems prevent that from happening?

 

Racking install
welfare van

At first glance, the humble bracket could be considered to be a relatively simple component. Yet, these brackets and their associated fixings secure the racking to the van structure and ensure it stays there in the event of a crash. That’s why Stefan and the team comprehensively test even the smallest component and sees all their designs incorporate multiple points of contact, which ensure that if one fixing should give way, others will still hold and act as a failsafe.

A recent project completed by Stefan’s team was the development of Welfare vans which have now been delivered to a number of different customers. These vans are designed to ensure the wellbeing of individuals working in remote locations away from amenities such as toilets/washing facilities and to provide somewhere to escape the elements and enjoy a hot drink and something to eat. So how has a focus on wellbeing influenced the final product?

Stefan explains. “We always start any design by asking ourselves, how are the occupants going to use this space, and how can we lay things out to make them as comfortable as possible while minimising the risk of injury?”

“In the case of Welfare vans, which pack a lot of equipment into a relatively small area, we had to provide sufficient space in the back to accommodate shower and toilet facilities without the user being squashed against the basin or having to duck to get under the showerhead. In the kitchen area, we ensure all our work surfaces are at the correct height to avoid unnecessary bending or stretching and that suitable control mechanisms are in place around the water heater to prevent scolding. At the same time, any water tanks are placed in an optimum location to minimise any manual handling and make re-filling as simple as possible.

“The inclusion of cushioning around any entry points minimises the risk of head injuries, hazard tape identifies any potential tripping hazards and grab handles are highlighted in yellow.”

He concludes by saying, “ultimately, we are designing mobile workspaces for our customers, so the team and I take great pride in designing solutions that incorporate the latest ergonomic thinking so that they can carry out their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

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