An innovative safety device designed by student from Cork Institute of Technology has won the Irish James Dyson Award. The Hydro-FLOcean (H-FLO), which prevents harnessed workers getting trapped under water, was created the eight person team following the tragic drowning of two workers in Limerick last year.
The two workers, TJ O’Herlihy and Bryan Whelan, drowned after the platform on which they were working collapsed while they were carrying out maintenance work on Thomond Bridge. The men were attached to the platform when it was submerged in the water. The team was motivated to create a device that would allow users to separate themselves from harnesses on platforms that had suddenly become submerged.
The HydroFLOcean safety device is attached to the workman’s harness and separates the user from the platform when it is submerged in water, using an inflation device commonly employed in life jackets.
A gas canister inside the harness is activated when the harness is submerged in water, forcing out a stainless steel pin that connects the device and causing the harness to split in two causing instant separation
The students will now compete with international winners of the Dyson awards, going up against 22 different countries for a grand prize of €35,000.
The top 20 international finalists will be announced on September 29th and the global winner will be picked by James Dyson, and revealed on October 27th.