Sometimes it’s the simplest solutions that have the biggest impact, such as the new modular welfare and sanitary units developed during the Covid pandemic.
Taking the leap from a high-flying career to drive your patented innovation during a pandemic could be viewed as risky.
But when your invention is a gamechanger for one of the biggest issues facing a fast-growing industry, and a solution to a healthy, safe and efficient workforce during a global crisis, it’s probably worth taking.
Looking back on the last six months, Dan Greeves’ venture, Pegasus Welfare Solutions (PWS), has landed more than three contracts with offshore wind developers in six weeks, opened
a new fabrication unit and offices in Norfolk, is planning a base in Scotland, grown its staff beyond all forecast, and rebranded with its new logo on his second new truck.
Dan’s mission was to provide the offshore workforce with equivalent toilet, welfare and sanitary facilities as the onshore workforce, The multi-units include modular toilets, hot handwash stations, eye wash, first aid and other welfare provisions. They are built on lightweight marine-grade aluminium frames to be lifted on and off offshore substations, turbines, platforms and installations, by existing craneage.
His simple innovation has delivered a ‘silver bullet’ to the offshore industry – to encourage more women to work offshore, and keep projects working throughout Covid-19 when regular hand washing is key to fighting the virus.
“Offshore workplaces with no loos or sanitary provision has obviously put women off working offshore,” says Dan.
“The perception was that they add ‘unnecessary’ cost to projects.
“We think of innovation as being the latest cutting-edge engineering coming out of the lab, but that’s not always the innovation we need to solve the most pressing issues. Sometimes what is needed is to develop something simple that can really solve the problem.”
PWS also had support from ORE Catapult at OrbisEnergy, Lowestoft. Regional innovation manager Andy Holyland, working with John Best, spotted the early potential.
Dan says: “Our units mean fewer ladder climbs to and from CTVs for toilets and ENERGYhandwashing. Transfers are cut by at least a third, increasing daily productivity by up to 18%, reducing cost and increasing value, whilst facilitating diversity.
“Timing is important and I am delighted that we have quickly moved beyond what appeared to be a “Portaloo” with a sling on, to robust, portable facilities, which are part of a patented, certified, engineering solution, specified in the RAMS (Risk and Method Statement), meaning they will be viewed as essential rather than an ‘optional extra’ for construction projects and ongoing operational and maintenance activities, complying with all Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) regulations 2015, and could become the recognised industry standard.”
Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, says: “We introduced the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme to support short-term business resilience and longer-term recovery and diversification projects, and Pegasus Welfare Solutions is adapting its product range to help offshore operators to comply with the latest government guidance.”
PWS is to unveil more ideas and innovations building on the modular base unit soon.