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Award For Kiwi Innovation

How do you get heavy machinery operators to wear safety belts?

An Auckland company was presented with an Industry New Zealand Enterprise Award today after coming up with an idea for a simple low-cost belt that is much more likely to be used.

Increasing concern over safety in the workplace has shown up increasing reluctance among the operators of tractors, loaders and diggers to wear seat belts. Research has found operators cite forgetfulness, disinterest or a misconception that it is safer to jump from a toppling vehicle.

Springbelt Concept Ltd's product totally restrains the operator in the driving seat, preventing the operator from injury. It enables usage to be monitored and makes it more likely that the belt will be worn.

Alliance Minister Matt Robson today presented Springbelt Concept with the Industry New Zealand award worth nearly $8000.

The Springbelt product has real export potential with its makers working on selling it to Japan, Australia and the USA.

Matt Robson said the award was an example of government and industry working in partnership to benefit New Zealand.

"If New Zealand wants more jobs and rising incomes then we have to develop and export far more high-tech products," Matt Robson said.

"The Government established Industry New Zealand to work in partnership with industry and help to develop innovative new products. The Springbelt Concept product is an example of New Zealand creativity which will help to improve workplace safety in New Zealand, and potentially to help earn export income and create new jobs."

Ends

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