Forth crossing workers get seven defibrillators

Defibs have been installed at the site of the new crossing. Picture: Scott Louden

Defibs have been installed at the site of the new crossing. Picture: Scott Louden

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State-of-the-art lifesaving defibrillators have been installed on the site of the Forth Replacement Crossing bridge to ­protect the hundreds of contractors working at the remote location.

The move is in response to concerns over difficulties in accessing working locations of the 900-plus staff involved in the bridge’s construction.

In the event of a sudden ­cardiac arrest (SCA), emergency services would take too long to reach workers by road, sea or air.

Joe Corvello, project health and safety manager from the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors Joint Venture, said installing the devices made sense.

“We have personnel working all over the construction site, some on land and some on platforms within the estuary creating the 210-metre towers of the cable-stayed bridge.

“To get to them in an SCA emergency would be impossible for traditional services so we have deployed seven devices immediately in various locations to better protect everyone. And if we need more we will ­invest in more.”

The devices – Powerheart G5 automatic emergency defibrillators (AED) – have been provided by Cardiac Science.

The machine is one of the most up-to-date models of defibrillator available and can be used by anyone, as it talks people through its operation in an emergency.

John McPherson of Cardiac Science said despite the ease with which the machines can be used they would be giving all staff the chance to familiarise themselves with the technology.

He said: “The devices are intuitive to use. However, following discussions it was decided that we work to do some on-site familiarisation training allowing the appointment of designated first responders within key work locations.”

The devices will be in place for the duration of the construction project – until December 2016 – and the ideal option then is for the units to be donated to local communities and organisations.

The Forth Replacement Crossing project will create the longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge in the world and use 30,000 tonnes of steel in its construction.

At periods of peak construction activity the project is providing up to 1,200 job opportunities and a large number of sub-contracting and supply order opportunities for Scottish companies.