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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Plastic bags cushion fall for builders
Simulated building site accident
Fifty people died in 2001 in building site falls
The building industry's version of air bags is saving lives in the UK - and proving a money-spinner for a Gloucester company.

The "soft landing system" involves cushioned bags across a building site to break the fall of workers.

Fifteen major British house builders have already adopted the bags, according to manufacturer Forest Safety Products.

The firm now plans to sell the bags in Europe.

Man stacks the building site bags
The bags will be exported to Europe
"We have had six recorded accidents (with bags in place) so we can safely say at least six people have been saved from serious injury or worse," said company spokesman Mike Stephens.

The reusable bags are made from woven plastic and filled with polystyrene.

About 45 bags are needed to cover an average work site.

Nearly a third of all workplace deaths occur on construction sites, according to the government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

HSE figures show a quarter of all workplace deaths involve falls from a height.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Hayward
"These bags can be used time and time again"

Click here to go to BBC Gloucestershire
See also:

03 Sep 02 | N Ireland
30 Jul 01 | Business
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