Better toilets and sanitary facilities are being lifted into place for offshore workers after an innovative Norfolk firm came up with the perfect solution during the pandemic.
The lightweight product devised by Pegasus Welfare Solutions (PWS) can be hoisted on and off substations, platforms and other installations by cranes and as well as improving safety, it will inspire more women into work offshore.
And its simple invention promises to improve safety in other challenging locations, such as construction operations carried out at height and mining operations below ground.
Dan Greeves established PWS in 2017 and the business has been supplying units to offshore wind projects ever since. He started his own career in the oil and gas industry and saw an opportunity to deliver a solution that would be better and safer for those working at sea and encourage diversity in the industry.
Thanks to a grant of £25,400 from the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme set up by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to help companies during the pandemic, PWS has been able to fulfil further orders for its Welfare Multi-Unit and move from a rented barn near Fakenham to larger and more Covid-secure premises at Lenwade.
Dan explained: “Offshore workplaces with no loos or sanitary provision has obviously put women off working offshore. The perception was that they add ‘unnecessary’ cost to projects.
“We think of innovation as being the latest cutting-edge engineering coming out of the lab, but that’s not always the innovation we need to solve the most pressing issues. Sometimes what is needed is to develop something simple that can really solve the problem.”
PWS’s fully patented units include hot handwash stations, eye wash, ﬁrst aid and other welfare provisions. They are built on lightweight marine-grade aluminium frames which can be easily lifted by existing cranes and their use has already delivered efficiencies for companies operating offshore.
Fewer transfers for comfort breaks have saved an average of 1.4 hours per day for each technician, driving up productivity. No surprise then that it has already landed three contracts with offshore wind developers and is now planning an operational base in Scotland.
Dan said: “Our units mean fewer ladder climbs to and from CTVs (Crew Transfer Vessels) for toilets and handwashing. Transfers are cut by at least a third, increasing daily productivity by up to 18%, reducing cost and increasing value, while facilitating diversity.
“Timing is important and I am delighted that we have quickly moved beyond what appeared to be a “Portaloo” with a sling on, to robust, portable facilities, which are part of a patented, certiﬁed, engineering solution, speciﬁed in the RAMS (Risk and Method Statement).”
An adviser from New Anglia Growth Hub, part of the LEP’s Business Growth Programme, worked closely with PWS on its grant application, after it initially approached ORE (Offshore Renewable Energy) Catapult for some help. ORE Catapult is a leading innovation centre for offshore renewable energy with a base in Lowestoft and has twice been funded through the LEP’s Innovative Projects Fund.
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia LEP, said: “Our growing offshore wind industry stands to play a pivotal role in the region’s economic prosperity and we are delighted to support this innovative project which will improve safety for those working on the turbines.
“We introduced the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme to support short-term business resilience and longer-term recovery and diversiﬁcation projects, and Pegasus Welfare Solutions is adapting its product range to help offshore operators to comply with the latest government guidance.”
To find out more about the scheme, go to https://newanglia.co.uk/grant/business-resilience-and-recovery-scheme/