Nexus worker draws on his days as a miner to design a new labour saving work belt

Colin's belt.
29 January 2010

Colin with the belt he designed.A Nexus worker has called on his experience of working as a miner to design a labour saving new work belt for his colleagues.

Robin Shortt drew on his 15 years at Ellington Colliery to come up with an innovative cap and lamp battery belt that affords the wearer much greater lower back support and stability.

Nexus, which owns, manages and is modernising Metro in a £300m programme, need the equipment to work effectively when staff are out maintaining Metro lines during the night when the trains are out of service.

Robin, 50, of Ashington, has seen his design snapped up by Nexus, with rail maintenance staff on Metro now using it on their nightly shifts.

The belt is made of thick leather and incorporates a back support panel and external belt to carry a one kilo battery which is used to power the head lamp.

Robin, who works as an Overhead Line Maintainer for Nexus, said: “I made a work belt very similar to this one when I was working down in the mine. I used an old strip of the conveyor belt to make it, but it worked really well.

“The work belts we used when we’re out fixing Metro infrastructure were okay, but they didn’t really provide enough back support. That’s when I had the idea of this new design.”

Robin initially drew up a design and following approval by his managers a test belt was made up for trial within his section. The trial proved to be a success with positive feedback from fellow Nexus staff.

He added: “It’s fair to say the belt has been a massive help to all the lads. It holds the lamp battery, which weighs almost a kilo, tightly in place and there’s plenty of room for tools as well. I’m delighted with it.”

Nexus Engineering Manager, John Henderson, said: “Robin’s belt is a very good design from a health and safety point of view. He’s drawn on an idea he had when he was working in the mining industry and he’s managed to transfer that into his current role.

“The belt is now in use and I had no hesitation in getting a batch of them made up once I’d seen the design. Staff are using it on a day to day basis and it’s improved their working routine. It gives them much better lower back support.”

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