College engineers protective equipment for healthcare staff

Engineering staff at South Essex College have produced almost 200 plastic ‘ear savers’ for health workers.

The ‘ear savers’ sit at the back on the head and allow users to hook the elastic of face masks over the device rather than their ears, making them more comfortable to wear.

Mark Dickson, Engineering Lecturer, has been using equipment at the college’s Luckyn Lane site in Basildon to produce the items. The wider Engineering team has been working remotely drawing up designs and liaising with healthcare professionals to understand what is needed in the sector.

They are now being donated to staff working in healthcare settings, with the college donating the first batch to staff at Doris Jones Ltd, a home healthcare service in Southend.

Andy Crissell, Engineering Curriculum Head, said he was delighted the college was able to support healthcare workers.

He said: “We are all in this pandemic together and we are doing what we can to support those who are caring for others in this time.

“There were a lot of options to explore and we decided to go down this route as the ear savers were relatively quick to mass produce, require no assembly and they can be cleaned easily between uses.

While the college has the equipment to produce more items, the existing provision of material has been exhausted. The college is now asking for local companies to help by donating supplies of PLA filament with a diameter of 1.75mm.

Once the college is able to produce more of the items, they will be distributed to other healthcare settings across the south Essex community.

Please contact mark.dickson@southessex.ac.uk