Will's lifting beam rocks!!
Jackson General Foreman Will Cox has designed a rock roll lifting beam to help teams work more efficiently and avoid injuries.
He is currently overseeing embankment restoration work on behalf of the Environment Agency on the Stallingborough 2 scheme next to the River Humber in North Lincolnshire. Here, hundreds of rock rolls are being placed along the bottom of the bank to prevent erosion.
Will could see the traditional way of lowering rock rolls into position - using one or two lifting hooks from the arm of an excavator – was not ideal. The aggregate inside the netting would collect where the rolls sagged, meaning gangs had to try and even out the heavy rocks before installing the roll.
He went to work designing a spreader beam specifically for moving rock rolls – this time with four hooks that attach evenly along the beam, meaning the rolls are carried horizontally and rocks don’t shift. The manufacturer tested and certified the beam for lifting and it has been making life easier for the team at Stallingborough ever since.
The new spreader beam is not the only innovation being used by the team at Stallingborough.
Where using an excavator is not possible, they have also devised a technique using 2 x 6m long 450mm wide twinwall pipe to lower the rocks rolls down to the gang at the tow of the bank.
The team are also trialling an AI (artificial intelligence) system on their excavators, which can detect if anyone is in the exclusion zone before giving a digital ‘thumbs up’ and an audible all-clear signal.

'We use rock and coir rolls on 90% of our LNA schemes and this tool will make things much more efficient, and remove risks of manual handling, and trapping and crushing injuries.'