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Innovating to prevent occupational deafness in construction – case study

The perfect testbed

HS2 and its Euston early works contractor CSJV have teamed up with cutting edge smart tech company Eave to take major steps towards eliminating work-related hearing damage.

The initiative is part of HS2’s innovation programme that seeks to nurture new and evolving technologies through involvement in the delivery of Britain’s largest ever infrastructure project.

Smart ear defender manufacturer Eave used HS2’s London construction sites as a testbed to perfect the latest version of its hearing protection technology.

Eave’s solution uses a digitally-enabled headset that both protects hearing and gathers noise data. The data is transferred to unique noise mapping software and analysed to produce accurate information about every worker’s noise exposure across the worksite.

The smart technology both locates and measures noise to enable a targeted approach to protect every person’s hearing across a construction site.

Eave headsets are designed with revolutionary ‘hear-through’ technology that eliminates the need for a site worker to remove them in order to hear sound around them or talk to colleagues, and so vastly improving their safety, productivity and long term wellbeing.

Eave CEO and founder Dr David Greenberg, said:

Damage to hearing from noise exposure at work is permanent and debilitating, but it is also preventable. Our partnership with HS2 is important to demonstrate the health, social and commercial benefits of Eave’s solution. As awareness of the harmful effects of noise exposure increases so the technology we’ve been developing with the HS2 project will help both site workers and their businesses to manage noise in a way that is targeted, efficient and safe.

HS2 innovation manager Rob Cairns, who brought together Dr Greenberg’s technological innovation and Britain’s largest ever construction project said:

Sixty-eight per cent of all claims against employers are for occupational deafness, which underlines the importance of Eave’s innovation for improving employee health in the sector.

“As the largest infrastructure project in British history, employing tens of thousands of people and stretching across the 2020s and 2030s we can use HS2’s scale to introduce improvements to working conditions and employee wellbeing that permanently changes the industry for good.

Ear defenders mounted on a hard hat
Eave FocusList helmet mounted headset

Game-changing benefits

The HS2 construction site at Euston is managed by CSJV who has found the benefits of the new technology to be game-changing.

Occupational Health and Workforce Wellbeing Manager at CSJV Sandra Winters, said:

It’s been a real advantage to see the real-time noise data and the exposure that has occurred to help us see what the potential impact is and to really look at what the risks are.

Following the innovation project, HS2 main works civil contractor SCSjv (Skanska Costain STRABAG) has ordered 300 Eave headsets; the joint venture is building the route between Euston’s tunnels to the M25 motorway.

CSJV, who participated in the innovation project is looking at extending the solution across all its HS2 sites and discussions are being had with all HS2 enabling works joint ventures, highlighting the true success of this innovation project.