A company based in Llantrisant in south Wales is to begin work with Cardiff University’s school of engineering to develop an innovative alternative to scaffolding, which could improve health and safety for construction workers.

Voltcom Group will collaborate with Cardiff University to develop portable structures which will be used for the protection of roads, railways and pathways during construction. It is hoped the system will offer a reduction in the number of hazards on construction sites, therefore contributing to safer on-site working conditions.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), despite the construction industry making up just 5% of Britain’s employees, it accounts for more than a third of fatal workplace injuries. During the year 2013/14, 42 construction workers died as a result of accidents at work.

Laura Storer, a serious injury solicitor specialising in accidents at work at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The consequences of poor health and safety standards in the workplace can prove to be devastating.

“Collaboration between research organisations and companies that work in the real world can lead to exciting developments. Anything that reduces the risk of injury in what is known to be a high-risk environment is welcome. Any positive new development that comes out of this joint-working should be encouraged as the way forward.

“An adequately funded HSE should then be in a position to encourage use of any new working practices and ensure that standards are maintained throughout the industry. However, the HSE can only properly play this role with better funding, something which has sadly been lacking in the last parliament.”