What do Riggers do Offshore?

what do riggers do offshore

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE?

What do riggers do offshore? If the first word that comes to mind when you think of the words ‘riggers’ or ‘rigs’ is ‘offshore’, you’re on the right track.

As we’ve covered in many of our blogs, riggers perform many different job duties, from stage rigging for plays to positions on construction projects that help move different equipment and materials. Although you’ve likely heard the term ‘offshore rigger’ or ‘rigging’ before, you still might not know everything about this job and its duties. 

Read on to and learn more about an offshore rigger’s job duties, responsibilities of the role and more about Hercules SLR’s work offshore. 

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE? WHAT THE OFFSHORE INDUSTRY IS

When you hear the term ‘offshore’, it usually refers to the oil & gas and wind energy industries. In the oil and gas industries, a vessel is installed in specific areas to drill for oil or gas. This is important, since gas reservoirs can be found anywhere – including the ocean. To drill offshore, a drilling rig and pipe is installed to access reserves underground. This rig can be on a floating or fixed platform.

So, what do riggers do offshore? Offshore riggers’ manage and monitor all the different parts of a drilling vessel’s operation. To operate rigs, worker’s are required to operate the drilling, attach and operate machinery and deconstruct the machinery when drilling is complete. They also make sure that oil flows through the pipes properly and that oil is transported to the tanker efficiently, and the pipes don’t burst. A rigger is also responsible to make sure safety rules and regulations are followed – remember, emergency responders can’t access an offshore rig quickly or easily, so it’s essential that risk is minimized. 

A person who performs work on the offshore rig is often called a rigger, or a rig technician and there can be different positions, or levels of technicians who perform different duties based on their training, specialties or seniority.

There are often positions available that range from entry-level duties to roles that require experience or more specialized skill, like a derrickhand or welder, for example. Working hours on an offshore rig are much different than your typical 9-5 gigs – offshore work is usually accomplished in two-week (or longer) chunks. Often, riggers will work for a few weeks offshore, on the rig, and then will often have a few weeks off, back on-shore. Offshore rigging takes you away from land (if you didn’t catch that by the word ‘offshore‘), and as we mentioned, often for big chunks of time. 

what do riggers do offshore
A rig technician inspects a valve on an oil rig.

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE? HOW HERCULES SLR SERVES OFFSHORE INDUSTRY

INSPECTIONS, TESTING & REPAIRS 

Hercules SLR has different technicians that work on offshore rigs with different issues, like broken equipment or machinery on the rig. Inspectors and other technicians will travel to offshore destinations to inspect, repair and if needed, certify equipment. This can happen when equipment fails or other issues are found that threaten safety – Hercules SLR can fix the issue until it’s safe to resume work.

Examples of inspection and repair issues Hercules SLR’s called to work on include:

  • Container inspections
  • Sling/equipment failure
  • Non-destructive testing,
  • Equipment failure
  • Incidents investigation (ex. A dropped load – dropped loads often cause injury, and can be fatal).
  • Fall protection products, inspections, repairs & trainings – a fall protection system is required when working at heights of 6-feet or more, so as you can imagine having a fall arrest system is crucial). 

Since an offshore rig is isolated and far from everyday amenities, it’s usually appropriate to have a rig technician for the entire project to ensure things run smoothly. Offshore rigging presents many safety risks, and it’s important to prevent and reduce any unnecessary harm to workers and the environment by making sure the rig runs properly. 

RIGGING 

Hercules SLR’s rigger’s will come to your offshore installation or project for nearly anything the operation needs. We can: 

  • Move or lift difficult loads to or from the offshore rig
  • Provide you with lifting equipment or equipment rentals for lifting/moving 
  • Identify methods or equipment needed to move particular loads
  • Create custom-rigging solutions to move awkward or difficult loads 
  • Provide riggers’ for your offshore installation 
TRAINING

The Hercules’ Training Academy offers different courses that are useful in offshore applications, like Fundamentals of Rigging with Practical.  

Hercules SLR’s training courses can be completed at the Hercules Training Academy, or, we can come to your offshore installation. Our Offshore Rigger Banksman course teaches students the fundamental skills to rig, lift, sling & release loads in an offshore environment. The course also includes: 

  • Regulations, standards and associations
  • Risk management
  • Rigging plan
  • Calculating load weight, centre of gravity and sling angles 
  • Load control
  • Rigging equipment how-to’s (slings, hitches, hardware and hooks) 
  • Pre-use inspection 
  • Duties and responsibilities of the rigger and banksman 
  • Communications (radio and hand signals)
  • Personnel transfer
  • Container inspection
  • Practical application of the equipment and principles 
what do riggers do offshore at hercules slr
Valves and pipes on an oil rig.

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE? SAFETY TIPS FOR THE RIG

Safety is very important on offshore rigs not only to prevent injury, but to avoid costly delays in work. As we mentioned, making sure equipment is taken care of is essential, especially for a safe offshore operation. Not only does this make sure the drilling rig operates properly, but will help keep workers safe by preventing a hazard caused by equipment failure.

We can’t stress the importance of safety on the rigs – more safety tips for work on offshore rigs are:

  • House-keeping: Slippery surfaces lead to falls. Using proper PPE to avoid slips and keeping surfaces as dry and clean as possible will help manage risk.
  • Emergency Planning: It’s important to have thorough emergency plans for work on offshore rigs. A confined space entry and rescue plan, exit and first-aid response plans for emergency response are just a few plans it’s important to have before starting work offshore. 
  • Personal Protective Gear (PPE): This goes without saying, but making sure you have the proper PPE is important to stay safe. This should include proper fall protection for tools, non-slip shoes, safety glasses and even lighting for hard-to-see areas.

WHAT DO RIGGERS DO OFFSHORE? IS IT RIGHT FOR YOU 

Do you enjoy assembling and disassembling machinery? Like making equipment work? Have a passion for safety? If you don’t mind travelling, work as a rigger offshore might be perfect for you. 

Being an offshore rigger requires mechanical knowledge, common sense (not as common as you might think, and very important for a safe operation) and communication skills to keep yourself and others safe.

To learn more about offshore rigging, check out our blogs below or head to our career page to browse offshore rigger career opportunities.  


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON OFFSHORE RIGGING,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

HERCULES SLR AT THE SABLE STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP

RIGGING WITH OVER 15 YEARS’ EXPERIENCE IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO: MEET RIGGER JIM CASE

GET TO KNOW LANGLEY, BC NDE INSPECTOR CHRIS DAVIES

BECOME A RIGGER: YOUR CAREER MAP


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Need offshore rigging solutions? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about offshore rigging services at Hercules SLR, or e-mail us at info@herculesslr.com to find more information on how we can serve your next offshore project.   

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Fall Arrest System: Don’t Fool with your Tools

fall arrest system for tools at hercules slr

You likely know about a Fall Arrest System for your body–but what about your tools? Fall protection for tools is the ‘F’ of the ABCDE’s of Fall Protection. A fall arrest system for tools to prevent drops is essential for a safe worksite. Tools dropped from heights are the third cause on injury on work sites. Preventing tools from slips leads to safer, quicker more productive work. 

FALL ARREST SYSTEM: HAVE A PREVENTION PLAN IN PLACE

When a tool falls, gravity takes over. This is why it’s essential to have a plan in place to address issues that lead to injuries at heights and prevent the fall in the first place. Workers’ need to be protected when at heights 6ft or higher, which really, isn’t all that high. Many different industries perform work at this height, and many perform work much higher. 

There are three good reasons to have a fall prevention plan to reduce (and hopefully, eliminate) tools dropped on a worksite.

SAFETY 

Dropping tools leads to injuries, fatalities and can increase hazardous risks around the worksite. Tools that fall from heights are the third cause of injuries on construction sites. 

PRODUCTIVITY

When tools are dropped on a worksite, injuries often happen. This means that work must stop temporarily – and sometimes, indefinitely. When a tool is dropped or broken and especially if it injures someone, a investigation must take place to determine the exact circumstances that caused the injury.  

OPERATIONS  

Dropping tools can effect the operations of the day, and often the company at large. When a tool drops, work needs to be stopped so they can investigate the incident. Usually, this means workers’ are paid even though work has stopped while the situation is dealt with. Depending on the damage, this usually means that equipment needs repairs too, which results in maintenance costs and time that the machinery or gear will be out of use. 

WHY IS A FALL ARREST SYSTEM FOR TOOLS SO IMPORTANT? THE NUMBERS

As mentioned, tools dropped from heights are the third cause of injuries on construction sites. In Canada alone, 27,000 people every year are hit by tools on a work site—this means 80 people a day are hit and likely injured by dropped tools. 30 of these each year are fatal.

Fall from heights are the fourth cause of workplace injury. Over 14,000 injuries are caused by falls each year, and of these 14,000, 40 are fatal.    

TOOL FALL ARREST SYSTEM: THE PRICE OF DROPPED EQUIPMENT

Human life can’t be replaced. We know not using tool fall protection at heights leads to injury, but beyond being dangerous, there’s considerable financial impact, too. 

There’s other costs associated with dropped tools that go far beyond just replacing broken equipment. Consider administration time and fees to file paperwork, equipment replacement, inspection or repair, legal fees and consequences, time spent to find more employees or production-loss when there are fewer workers’ at the same job, training for new employees and insurance fees. It’s worth your time and money to invest in fall protection and arrest systems for tools. 

FALL FROM ROOFS: $119,000
FALLS FROM HEIGHTS: $66,000
FALLS FROM LADDERS: $82,000
FALLS DOWN STEPS: $48,000
 
 

WHY DO PEOPLE DROP THEIR TOOLS? 10 REASONS

  1. Inadequate risk assessment
  2. Human Error: Although normal, natural human errors have severe consequences at heights. These include operator error, poor behaviour, complacency or neglect. 
  3. Tools or equipment stored inadequately: Includes tool lanyards or tethers not being used or not containing loose items. 
  4. Inadequate risk assessment or procedures: This could be from poor planning, not managing changing hazards on various worksites. 
  5. Failed fixtures or fittings: Includes corrosion, poor design, vibration and selection or installation.
  6. Poor Housekeeping: This could be pre-existing hazards from previous work, or other debris. 
  7. Collisions and snagging: Happens often when lifting, with travelling equipment and on taglines and service loops. 
  8. Inadequate Inspection, repair and maintenance: Ignoring unsafe conditions
  9. Redundant, neglected and homemade tools and equipment (these should be eliminated)
  10. Environmental Factors: Includes wind, rain, harsh winter and heat. 

WHAT TOOLS DO PEOPLE DROP? 3 MOST COMMON TOOLS

The three most commonly-dropped things on a construction may or may not surprise you. They are:

  1. Tape Measure
  2. Hard hat
  3. Cellphone/Radio 

WHERE DO FALLEN TOOLS GO? THE ANSWER MIGHT SURPRISE YOU 

Dropped tools don’t fall straight down—this is called falling object deflection (see figure 1). When you drop a tool, it can deflect in any direction. As we mentioned, workers’ need tool fall protection when they’re working up to 6-feet high, since a tool dropped from this height can deflect up to 20-metres away. This means that an innocent person, minding their own business that not on the site could very likely be struck by a dropped object. For workers’ that are even higher (which is more common than you think), say 200-feet high, a tool can deflect up to 128-metres away.

Even small objects pick up enormous force when dropped (see figure 2). This force means that something as non-threatening as a tape measure can be deadly if dropped. 

tool fall protection deflection
Figure 1—Chart via 3M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tool fall arret and impact forces via 3m
Figure 2—Impact Forces Chart via 3M

INDUSTRIES 

As we mentioned, any industry that does work 6-feet or higher will benefit from a tool fall arrest system. Are you a telecom specialist, tradesperson or part of a theatre rigging crew? You should probably have a tool fall prevention plan (this include the right equipment) ready. 

In particular, the following industries benefit from a fall arrest system for tools: 

  • Construction
  • Utilities 
  • General Manufacturing 

The number of injuries from dropped tools on Canadian worksites continues to grow – this is why it’s important for workplaces to have a tool-drop prevention plan in place. This helps your construction crew manage productivity, safety concerns, asset management and the high costs associated with accidents.  


FOR MORE INFORMATION ON TOOL PROTECTION,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

TOOL FALL PROTECTION: MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU THINK 

FALL PROTECTION FOR TOOLS: STOP THE DROP

FALL PROTECTION TRAINING: DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND 


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Need to stay protected at heights? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about fall arrest systems at Hercules SLR. 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Confined Space Rescue & Retrieval: Guest Blog from 3M

3m confined space rescue from hercules slr

Incidents that prevent workers from self-rescue can occur in confined spaces due to ill-conceived attempts to rescue and retrieve others, but planning for a rescue can help prevent tragic results.  

Proper rescue and retrieval plans aren’t often created for confined spaces – over 100 deaths occur annually inside confined spaces in the United States according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics1. In almost all of these incidents, investigations reveal no rescue plans were in place. Before entry or work begins, OSHA requires you have a defined and documented rescue and retrieval plan that’s specific to your confined space whether a tunnel, storage tank, manhole, elevator shaft, reaction vessel, ductwork or even wastewater treatment facility.

But a detailed rescue and retrieval plan is only one critical step of preparation (one of the four elements 3M talks about here). Rescue and retrieval needs to be performed by a competent person, who’s completed proper training. They must also understand how to select, wear and use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other tools or equipment that will be needed.

HAVE A RESCUE PLAN IN PLACE BEFORE ANY ENTRY OCCURS

There are many aspects of a robust rescue plan, but at minimum the rescue plan should include:

  • The location of the confined space and the job being conducted inside;
  • Identify the rescuer, competent person to be on hand, emergency contact and methods to keep in contact with those in the confined space and anyone involved if a rescue becomes necessary;
  • Layout all pre-work tasks;
  • Catalog all the rescue equipment available for use and where they can be located include a checklist for thorough inspection that evaluates if it’s in good working order;
  • List all the critical rescue factors, include any hazards present;
  • Record the response procedure, include how to:
    • notify the emergency contact
    • make a medical assessment of the person stuck inside
    • if possible, how to have the trapped employee perform a self-rescue, or other crucial steps if that’s not possible.

You can model your emergency response plan after the NFPA 350 best practice guide. Determine appropriate means for rescue before the start of any confined space entry activities. The procedures set up at your work or job site for emergency rescue for each specific confined space should to be suitable and sufficient.

The detailed rescue plan should be documented, reviewed and in place before anyone attempts to enter or begins work in a confined space. The rescue plan for each confined space should be reviewed by all involved in the entry each time the space is going to be entered, just like a hazard assessment should be conducted before entry into a confined space. These plans should be practiced as part of training so everyone knows what to do if a rescue/retrieval situation does arise.

No plan in place to enter a confined space? You should speak up, and not enter the confined space without a plan in place for how to react if a rescue and retrieval becomes necessary.

MAKE SURE YOU’RE PROPERLY TRAINED TO RESCUE

Before any access is granted to a confined space, you should evaluate the needs of a rescue team and what training is required for the team (or individual) to perform a rescue operation. Tailor training to specific roles required – you should include:

  • Confined space competent person who is responsible for the evaluation of confined spaces on the job site
  • Confined space supervisor who approves the work inside that’s being done
  • Confined space attendant and entrant for those who are responsible for the work inside
  • Confined space entry rescuer who may have to enter and assist in a rescue/retrieval

All confined space rescuers, per the requirements of OSHA general industry and construction regulations are required to receive annual refresher training. This must include utilizing similar spaces and techniques anticipated at the job site.

You’ll find, rescue training covers a wide range of information related to hazardous conditions and all types of rescue equipment. Rescuers will also require training to prepare for tasks involved with accessing confined spaces, such as descent control, secondary systems, patient packaging methods, dismantling techniques, proper storage of equipment, selection, and use of suitable anchors, as well as the common hazards that pertain to the system and components.

For rescues requiring entry:

  • All members of the team must be specially trained in confined space rescue work
  • The team must have at least one member certified in CPR and first aid
  • All members of the team must be trained in the techniques and equipment for specific confined spaces
  • The members who are going to assist with the rescue should be well-versed in the rescue plan for that confined space and review both the risk and hazard assessments that have been conducted for that specific space

According to current U.S. regulations and industry standards, an identified rescuer, whether in-house or an outside rescue service is used, must have the ability to respond to a permit space rescue request in a timely manner, considering the hazards identified.

confined space rescue by 3m
3M’s Protecta Confined Space System

TYPES OF RETRIEVAL AND RESCUE

There are different types of rescue/retrievals that can be conducted, depending on the situation you and your team are facing.

SELF-RESCUE

Self-rescue is exactly what it sounds like. This is when you can rescue yourself with your own means and you can use equipment that is suited for self-rescue that will allow you to climb out of the space safely. Self-rescue requires the entrant to stop what they are doing and safely exit the space as quickly as possible.

Self-rescue should be implemented whenever an entrant or attendant determines there is a problem within the space. This may include a potentially hazardous change in atmospheric conditions within the space or when signs or symptoms of an exposure are noted. Self-rescue may also occur if the entrant realizes that PPE is faulty, communication with the attendant is severed, or some other hazard presents itself that may put the entrant in danger.

NON-ENTRY RESCUE

If self-rescue is not an option, the next consideration should be if a non-entry rescue can be carried out. Non-entry rescue occurs when a worker outside the space does not have to enter to help a worker exit a confined space safely. This type of rescue often requires an attendant or non-entry rescue team. A non-entry retrieval option is required at all times unless the retrieval equipment would increase the risk to the worker or not contribute to the rescue.

The person or people helping the worker out of the confined space will often require the use of a retrieval system comprised of the following components:

  1. Anchor systems such as a davit, pole hoist or tripod
  2. Body harness, worn by the entrant
  3. Connection devices such as a winch or retrieval SRL

This type of rescue is only effective in simple vertical or horizontal spaces. The opening must be able to accommodate the anchor system, and the surface around the opening must support the weight of it in addition to the attached entrant. If the entrant is injured or cannot perform a self-rescue, the attendant can remove the entrant using the retrieval system. This is where a retrieval system with a mechanical advantage becomes very helpful.

If neither self-rescue or non-entry rescue is possible, an entry rescue will be required. If you have a properly trained rescue and retrieval team, they will need to be called upon to help perform getting the entrants out.

ENTRY RESCUE

An entry rescue is required when someone cannot get out on their own and requires not just a team on the outside to assist, but someone who will enter the space to assist any entrants who cannot exit the space on their own. These teams can be comprised of company personnel, including externally hired services or a local emergency response team. Because there needs to be a prompt response in these situations, OSHA specifically addresses the requirements of the entrant’s employer to fully evaluate the capabilities of these rescue teams.

POST-RESCUE REVIEW

Once a rescue is complete, it is important to review how the rescue went and what can be learned from the experience. Do changes need to be made to the rescue plan if the confined space is going to be accessed in the future? Does your PPE need to be checked and should any of it be decommissioned and different or should new PPE ordered?

PPE AND OTHER EQUIPMENT

As part of a rescue plan and the hazard assessment conducted for each confined space entry, make sure you have identified what PPE and other equipment, such as air monitoring/gas detection instruments, are needed. Also, be sure everything is available in stock on the premises, the location is known, the equipment is clean and is in good working order before commencing any access work.

When it comes to considering the equipment for a rescue start with understanding the ABC’s of confined space:

  • Anchorage systems such as davits, pole hoists, tripods

  • Body support, which means full body harnesses, and in some cases, boatswain (bosun) chairs

  • Connecting devices such as self-retracting lifelines and retrievals

  • Detection for air monitoring of gases, vapors, particulates, fumes and other hazardous substances

  • Education courses that help teach proper techniques

  • Full body coverage for employees who should be protected from head to toe based on hazards identified in the risk assessment, including hard hats, safety glasses, hearing protection, advanced communication devices, respiratory protection, clothing that protects the body against chemicals, fires and other hazards such as coveralls, as well as gloves and safety shoes that protect the hands and feet

ARE YOU READY IF A RESCUE OR RETRIEVAL BECOMES NECESSARY?

Proactively identifying a proper rescue plan, seeking out appropriate training and identifying the right equipment long before any rescue is ever attempted is crucial. You must be prepared so if you’re faced with saving someone who’s stuck, has collapsed, or has ceased to respond from inside a confined space, you are ready for the situation.

3M knows there’s a lot to consider when it comes to planning for, working in and rescuing someone from inside a confined space. Explore resources available at 3m.com/confinedspace. 


ORIGINAL ARTICLE REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION VIA 3Mconfined space rescue 3m from hercules slr

To browse Hercules SLR’s selection of 3M Fall Protection for confined spaces and more, click here

 


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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.


  1. https://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cfch0015.pdf

Stuck in a Tight Spot? What to know in a confined space

confined space, hercules slr, how to work in confined spaces

Most workers will have to work in a confined space at some point in their career – although common, many workers and employers don’t plan or account for common hazards found in them. 

Read on to discover commonly-found dangers in confined spaces and how to prepare for them. 

WHAT’S A CONFINED SPACE? 

A confined space is an area that:

  • Is large enough to enter and do work in;
  • Has limited entries and exits;
  • Isn’t meant for long-term human occupancy.
  • Examples: Silos’, tunnels, sewers, wells, underground utility vaults, an empty tanker trailer

WHAT’S A PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE (PRCS)?

Yes, it’s a confined space that you need a permit to enter – but a permit-required confined space also:

  • Contains or has the potential to contain serious safety or health hazards like:
    • Engulfment
    • Toxic Atmosphere
    • Puzzling Configuration
    • Heat or Cold Stress
    • Slipping Hazards
    • Flammable Atmosphere
    • Oxygen Deficiency

CONFINED SPACE HAZARD: 2 FACTORS THAT CREATE HAZARDS

  1.  Failure to see and control hazards associated with the confined space
    • Atmospheric hazards
    • Physical hazards
  2. Poor Emergency response time or plan
    • Many injuries or fatalities in confined spaces occur when other workers attempt to save coworkers injured in a confined space
    • Nearly 60% of worker fatalities occur when trying to save someone else from a confined space hazard 

Nearly 60% of deaths in confined spaces happen to the would-be rescuer

CONFINED SPACE: KNOW THE HAZARDS

Hazard #1: Oxygen Deficiency

Normal air has an oxygen content of 20.8-.9% – when there’s less than 19.5% available, you’re in a oxygen-deficient space. When this level decreases, even by 1-2% the effects are felt immediately. When working in a space with this level, remember to wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). 

What leads to oxygen deficiency? Inadequate ventilation, poor air quality, oxygen consumed from welding, decomposition, rust are some of the factors that cause oxygen levels to drop.

Oxygen Deficiency Levels

  • Minimum for safe entry: 19.5%
  • Impaired judgement and breathing, accelerated heartbeat: 16%
  • Faulty judgement and rapid fatigue: 14%
  • Nausea, vomiting, inability to perform simple tasks, unconsciousness: 6-10%
  • Rapid loss of consciousness, death in minutes: Less than 6%
Hazard #2: Oxygen Displacement

Oxygen displacement occurs when there’s an inert gas (it’s worth noting inert gas is different than a noble gas – an inert gas doesn’t chemically react, and a noble gas does chemically react under certain conditions. All noble gases are inert, but not all inert gases are noble).

When enough of a inert gas is in a confined space, it displaces the oxygen which makes it difficult – well, impossible to breathe. For example, nitrogen is non-toxic, colourless and odourless – but will displace the oxygen in a room.

Hazard #3: Fire & Flammable Atmosphere

Flammable atmospheres are caused by flammable liquids, gases and combustible dusts which if lit, can cause an explosion or fire. The ignition doesn’t have to be a flame – it can be something as simple as static electricity or a small spark.

Hazard #4: Physical

You can become engulfed after being trapped or enveloped by material. Electrocution can happen when electrical equipment is activated, and mechanical energy can activate and cause physical injury. 

Other physical safety hazards, although small that can still cause injury are inadequate lighting, noise, vibration and radiation. Nearby traffic, vehicles and other heavy machinery could also be a hazard. Objects and slippery areas pose falling hazards, and hot or cold temperature extremes also pose a threat. Extremely high temperatures can cause your body to undergo heat stress. 

Heat Stress Symptoms

In a confined space (and other areas) your body might not be able to cool down which can cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke to occur.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Pale, clammy skin

When these symptoms occur, you should move to a cool area, raise your legs, take off any heavy clothing, drink water and apply a wet cloth to your skin. 

Heat stroke symptoms include:

  • Dry, pale skin – with no sweat
  • Hot, red skin that looks sunburnt
  • Unable to think straight, seizure, unconsciousness

When this occurs:

  • Call 911
  • Move victim to a cool area
  • Loosen or remove heavy clothing
  • Place icepacks at your armpit and groin

To protect yourself:

  • Try to work or accomplish physical parts of work during the coolest parts of the day
  • Use spot ventilation
  • Use buddy system
  • Drink cold water – try to drink around every 15 minutes and take frequent breaks
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine in high temperatures, and be mindful of medication as this can increase your risk of heat  stroke.

confined space, hercules slr, srl, self-retracting lifeline, inspections, repairs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONFINED SPACE: PROCEDURES

Before you start work in a confined space, it’s essential to follow a procedure to control and/or minimize safety hazards and remain safe on the job. Follow this procedure before working in a confined space:

  • Conduct a pre-entry evaluation (like a discussion with everyone who will be working at the site);
  • Identify and eliminate potential hazards that can enter the space, both atmospheric and physical;
  • Use forced air ventilation and use lock out/tag out if necessary;
  • Complete an entry permit – Assign an entrant, attendant and supervisor and any other relevant competent person needed on the site.

The Authorized Entrant will:

  • Know hazards that will face workers during entry;
  • Wear proper PPE;
  • Maintain communication with the attendant;
  • Know the signs of overexposure/heat stress and stroke;
  • Evacuate the confined space when ordered to or when over-exposed to hazard(s).

The Authorized Attendant will:

  • Keep their position outside the entrance at all time;
  • Know the signs and symptoms of overexposure;
  • Prevent unauthorized people from entering the space;
  • Maintain communication with entrants;
  • Begin the emergency response/rescue plan if needed;
  • Complete an evaluation of the entrance before they start work;
  • Make sure personnel know the hazards;
  • Implement any necessary control measures, for example – ventilation;
  • Complete any permits that are necessary to enter the space;
  • Complete any tests needed to enter the confined space safely.

REMEMBER TO use retrieval equipment to remove yourself or the entrant from the confined pace.

Ensuring you have the necessary PPE for emergency rescue situations is the most important step of working in a confined space.

As we mentioned, almost 60% of confined space deaths happen to someone trying to rescue a coworker – It’s natural to want to save a life, but it’s important to not take two lives in the process. This is why confined space planning is essential to completing work efficiently and safely.


Choosing and having the proper PPE for the job is essential to staying safe amidst hazards in a confined space. This may include self-retracting lifelines, anchorages or body harness’ – click the link below to find out more about Hercules SLR’s fall protection services. 

Fall Protection

Check out our blogs to learn more about fall protection and staying safe at heights: 

Sources: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health - https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/hsprograms/confinedspace_intro.html 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

PPE-volution – How the Golden Gate Bridge Inspired PPE

America’s Industrial Revolution and ingenuity brought about many important advances in worker safety and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment).

At the start of the American Industrial Revolution, worker safety and health were nowhere near the priority they are today. As manufacturing grew, so too did worker injuries and deaths. The idea of safe work grew slowly from a small glimmer to a bright flame inside the collective consciousness of the American workforce.

Although the creation of OSHA regulations was many decades away, the evolution of PPE progressed on its own with the creation of new types of protective devices and advancements in pre-existing devices. Much of this early PPE had a major influence on worker safety’s advancement and will continue to do so.

Hard-Headed PPE Golden Gate Bridge
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1933, is an excellent early example of PPE’s influence on safety. Constructing a cable-suspension bridge that was 4,200 feet long was a task that had not been attempted before, one that presented many hazards. The project’s chief engineer, Joseph Strauss, was committed to making its construction as safe as possible.

The bridge’s construction played a particularly significant role in the successful development of one form PPE: It was the first major project that required all of its workers to wear hard hats. Although the hard hat was in its infancy at the time, head protection wasn’t new; gold miners had learned long before the importance of taking steps to protect against falling debris. Michael Lloyd, head protection manager at Bullard – a company in business since 1898, said many early miners wore bowler hats, which were hard felt hats with rounded crowns. Often dubbed “Iron Hats,” these were stuffed with cotton to create a cushioning barrier against blows.

Inspired by the design of his “doughboy” Army helmet, Edward Bullard returned home from World War I and began designing what was to become known as the “hard-boiled hat.” The hat was made of layered canvas that was steamed to impregnate it with resin, sewn together, and varnished into its molded shape. Bullard was awarded the patent in 1919. Later that year, the Navy approached Bullard with a request for some sort of head protection for its shipyard workers. The hat’s first internal suspension was added to increase its effectiveness, and the product’s use quickly spread to lumber workers, utility workers, and construction workers. By the time of the Hoover Dam’s construction in 1931, many workers were voluntarily wearing the headgear. Soon after, the Golden Gate Bridge construction provided a true test of the hard hat’s protective capability because falling rivets were one of the major dangers during the project.

Other innovations came in the form of different materials. In 1938, Bullard released the first aluminum hard hat. It was more durable and comfortable, but it conducted electricity and did not hold up well to the elements. In the ’40s, phenolic hats became available as a predecessor to fiberglass hats. Thermoplastics became the preferred material a decade later for many head protection products; it’s still used by many manufacturers today.
PPE-Hard-hats
From Left to right: Vintage Bullard Miners hats, Vintage Bullard Hard Boiled Hard Hat 1930’s (Used on the Golden Gate Bridge Project, Hard Boiled aluminum Safety hard hat w/Liner and a current day hard hat

In 1953, Bullard introduced the process of injection-molded hats. “Before, [thermoplastic] was kind of laid out on a mold. In the injection-mold process you actually have a closed mold that you pump into. It makes a more consistent helmet and a higher-quality product, which in the long run is also going to be the same thickness all the way through. It’s going to be a safer helmet,” Lloyd said.

Despite the hard hat’s effectiveness and relatively low cost, its use wasn’t officially required at most job sites until the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970. OSHA’s head protection standard, 1910.135, obligated employees to protect workers and instructed manufacturers and employers to turn to the American National Standards Institute’s Z89.1 standard for the appropriate usage guidelines.

Many new materials have since been created, such as the use of General Electric’s high-heat-resistant polyphthalate-carbonate resin in firefighters’ helmets. New hard hats have been designed that provide side protection, which are designated type 2 hats in ANSI Z89.1. “A hard hat was originally designed to protect if something falls from that sky and hits you in the head,” Lloyd said. “But what happens if you run into something? What happens if you bend over and something hits your helmet?”

Because hard hats are a mature market, except for the development of other materials, most innovations will be comfort features and technologies enabling them to withstand different temperature extremes, Lloyd predicted. Easier-to-use designs are appearing that allow users to adjust a hard hat’s suspension with one hand. In the last couple of years, manufacturers have come up with different types of vented helmets designed to help workers keep cool. Hats are accessorized with attachable face shields, visors, and ear muffs, and some have perspiration-absorbing liners. Some come with AM/FM radios, walkie-talkies, and camcorders.

Netting a Safe Return
Although primitive by today’s standards, the solution for the problem of falls also was addressed during construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Three years into the construction, delays had convinced Strauss to invest more than $130,000 (these were Depression-era dollars, remember) on a vast net similar to those used in a circus. Suspended under the bridge, it extended 10 feet wider and 15 feet farther than the bridge itself. This gave workers the confidence to move quickly across the slippery steel construction. There were reports of workers being threatened with immediate dismissal if found purposely diving into the net.

Strauss’ net was heralded as a huge success until the morning of Feb. 16, 1937, when the west side of a stripping platform bearing a crew of 11 men broke free from its moorings. After tilting precariously for a moment, the other side broke free and the platform collapsed into the net, which contained two other crew members who were scraping away debris. One platform worker, Tom Casey, managed to jump and grab a bridge beam before the platform fell; he hung there until rescued. The net held the platform and the others for a few seconds before it ripped and fell into the water. Two of the 12 men who fell survived.

Read the original article here.

At Hercules SLR we provide a wide range of PPE solutions, from Lanyards and harnesses, to hard hats and rescue equipment.  We also repair, service and certify PPE equipment. We stock leading industry brands and can provide you with expert advise on your PPE options depending on your project. Call us on 1-877-461-4876 for more information.

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Get To Know Your Trainer – Lou Gould, CHSC

Lou Gould-Header

Lou Gould, CHSC is one of our highly experienced Training Specialists. We sat down with him to find out more about him and how he decided to choose training as a career path.

Tell us about your educational background?

Lou: I have established great relationships with the leading manufacturers in safety personal protective equipment. This has allowed me to be involved in
Lou Gould 2many product development discussions providing industry feedback and application recommendations. I have had the opportunity to visit and view their manufacturing processes and facilities enabling me to understand their operations, business model and product offerings. I have participated in numerous hours of product training enabling me to consult and educate to my clients with knowledge, experience and the confidence to recommend the appropriate product for the task.

I am a member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering and have achieved the Certified Health and Safety Consultant (CHSC) designation. I currently sit as the Vice Chair on the executive committee for the NS Chapter of the CSSE.

I have achieved the Certificate in Health, Safety and Environmental Processes (CHSEP) from the University of Fredericton.

Certified trainer in Fall Protection, High Angle Rescue, Forklift, Aerial Platform, Telehandler and Respiratory Fit Test Administrator. I have completed courses in Adult Education and instructional design.

What made you decide to enter into this industry?

Lou: Very early in my career I realized that most of the personal protective equipment purchases were made with little or no thought to the hazard, task and application. Customers were purchasing products and training as an afterthought or a directive with little or no explanation. To be blunt: “to get this off their plate” or because someone “told me to”. I found myself researching the task, hazards and applications for the clients and recommending the appropriate products to mitigate their risk while educating them. This became my doorway to evolve from product sales to Health and Safety consulting and training. I have a passion to help and educate. Every day I feel great knowing I am helping someone work safe and go home to their family.

Can you tell us about your work experience before joining Hercules SLR?

Lou: I have been in the industry since 1994 and have held various roles from Inside Sales, Purchasing, Account Manager, Management and currently Consultant and Trainer. This has allowed me to understand the basis of all business aspects and how health and safety is an integral part to ensure the health of the business and the personnel. I have always been a builder of things and enjoy seeing plans and people grow and prosper.

I have created safety divisions within companies. I have constructed training facilities complete with classrooms and practical exercise areas as well as designing and delivering training courses. As I worked to increase service offerings I have created rental and inspection programs. All these roles have given me the tools to be an effective health and safety consultant and trainer.

What made you want to transition into training?

Lou: I am naturally a storyteller and enjoy being in front of people sharing stories and getting to know each other. I pride myself on providing a positive, nurturing and comfortable environment in which the students can become engaged and educated.  It is very important to me to provide superior knowledge transfer to my students and give them another tool in their toolbox to complete their task safely and efficiently.

Why did you decide to work for Hercules SLR?

Lou: Hercules SLR has a great reputation and is respected in the industry. They have a great company focus and allow the employees growth personally and professionally. It is very important to me to work for a company that provides for all aspects including  design, supply, install, inspection, certification, consulting and for course TRAINING! Hercules SLR does it all.

Where have you traveled during your time as a training specialist for Hercules SLR?

Lou: I support all our branches across Canada and we can offer training for all regions. Most of my time is spent in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Where have you enjoyed traveling to most for training?

Lou: Houston, Texas USA was fantastic! Great weather, great food and a good bunch of guys on the course. Also, Long Harbour NL is beautiful place with great people.

Is there anywhere that you would like to travel to in the future with Hercules SLR?

Lou: Vancouver would be great in mid-winter! Anywhere in the US would be exciting.

Lastly, is there anything that you hope to accomplish during your career in the industry?

Lou: I am committed to continue to invest in myself while increasing my accreditation as part of my personal success plan. Displaying leadership, integrity and character will allow me to remain at the top of the safety industry and retain respect from my peers, colleagues and competitors.

 

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for more news and upcoming events.

 

PPE Fall Protection in North America

Hercules SLR

PPE Fall Protection: the early lanyard

PPE Fall Protection devices were used in the early 20th Century by many professionals, although they used rope lanyards made of natural fibers, such as manila hemp, and simple body belts with no shock-absorbing properties. Clarence W. Rose–who early in his career was a window washer–became a pioneer in fall protection when he started the Rose Mfg. Co. in 1934 and began producing safety belts and lanyards for window washers. On Nov. 24, 1959, Rose was awarded a patent for an easy-to-use cable connector for safety belts that also had some shock-absorbing properties (U.S. Patent 2,914,139). Listed in the patent was a statement that the connector could, among other things, “be adapted to slip somewhat responsive to a sudden jerk as when the safety rope checks the fall of a wearer and thereby eases the shock to the wearer incurred by checking the fall.”

PPE Fall Protection
Madison Avenue Window Cleaner

PPE Fall Protection: shock-absorption major leap forward

Joseph Feldstein, manager of Technical Services at MSA, which purchased the Rose Mfg. Co. in 1996, said the idea of a shock absorber was a major step forward in protecting against the large braking forces generated in arresting falls, especially during Rose’s time.

“If you can imagine, workers with a simple belt and lanyard arrangement that was common up until that point would be exposed to a fall that could not only damage them internally because of the forces exerted to the soft tissues of the abdomen around the belt, but also you could generate such forces that you could separate the lanyard,” he said.

Rose continued to develop his shock-absorbing concept and was awarded several patents for newer and better shock absorbers. Ultimately, his designs influenced the creation of the modern-day shock absorber. Rose also received many other patents related in some way to preventing or protecting workers from falls. An example is the patent for an early “Ladder Climber” harness system (U.S. Patent 2,886,227) that contains two hook lanyards that are both attached to a harness. While ascending or descending, a worker grasps one hook in each hand and secures them over alternating ladder rungs.

Decades later, the industry would see the emergence of locking snap hook connectors and full-body harnesses, both gaining much more acceptance in the 1980s. In 1990, OSHA enacted regulation 1910.66. Craig Firl, product marketing manager in Hardgoods for Capital Safety-USA, said appendix C in this regulation was the key to getting several areas of fall protection technology up to date.

“Even though that particular standard at that time allowed for non-locking-type hooks to be used in a fall protection-type system, they recommended the locking type to be used because they were safer hooks and more compatible,” Firl said.

PPE Fall Protection: more hardware than ever

Feldstein agreed, adding that the acceptance of the locking snap hook led to the creation of a whole new series of connecting anchorage systems: straps, D-rings, and more. “And that’s continued to evolve to its current state, where we now have personalized anchorage connectors for almost every application, whether it’s building construction or general industry,” he said. Even though body belts were still allowed, Feldstein said appendix C acknowledged that OSHA recognized full-body harnesses as a major innovation in fall arrest. “Belts are still permissible in positioning, but in a fall, you definitely want to be protected by a full-body harness. It distributes the load across your chest and the bony mass of your hip, where your body is most capable of absorbing a blow, and it protects the soft tissue of the abdomen,” Feldstein said.

Two years after 1910.66 arrived, the ANSI committee released standard Z359.1, the key fall protection standard in use today. Most notably, it required the use of full-body harnesses and self-locking snap hooks. Firl said this voluntary compliance standard put pressure on OSHA to recognize that its existing standard needed updating and encouraged the completion of another fall protection standard for the construction industry, Subpart M, in 1995. According to this standard, as of Jan. 1, 1998, the use of body belts and non-locking snap hooks was prohibited.

During the ’80s, Self-Retracting Lanyards (SRLs) gained in development and use. They had been developed in the 1950s for offshore oil production in the North Sea but quickly became a common component in fall protection systems worldwide. Feldstein said SRLs became so valuable because they allowed workers to be protected along a much greater length of travel, increasing productivity without sacrificing safety. He described a scenario for rail car workers:

“Workers could be protected from the ground level and all the way up to the top of the rail car while they were working along the train’s length because the SRL could be mounted mobilely overhead. So that afforded a new type of protection for all types of workers in transportation, everything from rail cars, truck load-outs, and air craft maintenance.”

Regarding fall protection’s future, Firl and Feldstein said they believe comfort will continue to advance. Firl also foresees advances into niche markets with specialized materials and components, similar to the vacuum anchors’ progression into the airline industry for maintenance work on aircraft, whose surfaces can’t be penetrated with traditional-type anchors.
“In the past, a harness was a harness. It didn’t really matter if it was for construction, or utility work, or warehousing, it was a harness,” he said. “Now, you’re starting to see more specialized gear. . .  As an example, in the utility segment, you would see extensively the use of flame-resistant materials . . . because they’re concerned about heat resistance; they’re concerned about being able to resist arc flash and so forth.”

At Hercules SLR we stock MSA, 3M and Honeywell Miller PPE and fall protection products, to provide you with an extensive, high quality range of PPE Fall Protection products. Our in-house experts will advise you on what equipment best suits your project. When it comes time for your yearly inspections and service, our technicians can inspect, repair and certify your gear. For more information on our Fall Protection products and Services, please call: 1-877-461-4876.

References
https://ohsonline.com/Articles/2007/01/01/PPEvolution.aspx?Page=4

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Watch: Hang Glider Travels Without Safety Harness

In recent safety news, a tourist from the United States decided to go hang gliding for the first time during asafety-news-hang-glider vacation in Switzerland—and was in for a huge surprise.

Chris Gursky and his wife Gail take a vacation to Switzerland, and decide to soak up the beautiful scenery by hang gliding. He takes off with his instructor—who forgets to attach his safety harness to the glider. Gursky hangs on for a terrifying 2:14 before they land.

Says Gorsky, “The landing was a rough one, but I lived to tell the story.”

The video shows Gursky hanging on to the glider by one hand and attempting to grab his tandem instructor, while the instructor navigates with one hand and holds on to Gursky with the other.

Gursky had a fractured wrist following the landing, and will need surgery. However, Global News says he’ll glide again—“I will go hang gliding again as I did not get to enjoy my first flight,” notes Gursky.

Watch the terrifying video below:

Safety News: Fall Protection at Hercules SLR

At Hercules SLR, we know the importance of the right fall protection gear. We’re committed to providing hands-on & interactive training, the best safety products and inspection services so you and your employees get the most from your safety gear and harnesses.

Find more information on Hercules SLR training here—for tips on how to properly inspect and ensure you’re using your safety harness properly, read our blog “Safety Inspection: make your harness a habit“.


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

We have the ability to provide any solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Rope Grab: 6 fall protection tips from Hercules SLR

rope-grab-3m-fall-protection-safety

Working at height? You have different options when it comes to connectors that aid in fall arrest and fall restraint—a rope grab is a popular option. 

Rope grabs are a popular option because they’re often more cost-effective than SRLs (self-retracting lifelines), they allow for mobility in restraint situations, their lifeline length is longer and they can be used beyond the length of the longest SRLs.

Rope grabs are critical to many fall protection plans—read more to find out top six tips you need to know when using a rope grab.

Rope Grabs: top 6 tips

  1. 30” connectors are integral

CSA Z259.2.5-17 is a new CSA Standard that relates to rope grabs and certification for use. Users are required to use a 30” connector which is now integral to the unit. The new Standard tests for  maximum arresting force (MAF) which is included in the scope of testing  and most units will incorporate an energy absorber into the connector to meet that need.

  1. 6’ lanyards are not safe

Convention has dictated that 6-foot lanyards be used in fall arrest systems but in reality, this is very unsafe in the event of a fall on a rope grab.

When a 6-foot lanyard is used, the potential free fall on a trailing (automatic) rope grab can be 12 feet, which is considered a factor 2 fall. Using a regular energy absorber, the falling user would fall through the energy absorber and continue their fall into the backup lanyard, in essence, creating a second free fall. In certain cases where the lifeline isn’t matched to the rope grab, the potential for  damaging the lifeline also exists. This would be considered a catastrophic failure that could lead to injury or death.

This is why it’s of the utmost importance to follow manufacturer instructions for lanyards. Manufacturers will outline the proper connector length limit, which is 30” in Canada and may differ elsewhere.

  1. Rope grabs should always be matched to a lifeline – and tested!

We cannot overemphasize the importance of matching a rope grab with a proper lifeline and then testing it to ensure it will do its job in the event of a fall.

The testing process helps us verify a few important things:

  • Mobility of the rope grab on the lifeline. This ensures the mobility is not jeopardized by the type, stiffness or flexibility of the lifeline which could prevent the rope grab from snagging and being pulled along during the climb of the user, causing a longer free fall.
  • That the lifeline will survive the impact of a fall and allow the user the opportunity to be rescued. When a lifeline is broken during a fall, the odds of the user surviving the fall are low.
  • The rope grab is compatible with the lifeline. Even though a lifeline might look another manufacturer’s  lifeline, the yarn content within the rope of the lifeline may not be  the same. Therefore properties of mobility, tensile strength and wear may not be the same and the rope grab might not function properly on it.
  • That the lifeline is designed to be used as a lifeline. Polypropylene, or store bought yellow  ropes do not function well as lifelines. They are not UV protected and tend to deteriorate quickly. They also “fur” and harden at an accelerated rate when compared to approved lifelines.
rope-grab-fall-protection
3M™ Self Trailing Rope Grab
  1. The difference between using a rope grab for fall restraint and fall arrest

In general, it is better to use a manual rope grab for fall restraint. This is because manual adjustment allows a lifeline to be set at a specific length with an appropriate setback from fall hazards. Trailing rope grabs, or automatic rope grabs, can often open/unlock (even while in the park feature) and allow the user to surpass the setback zone and enter a fall hazard area. Tying a knot in a lifeline to help locate a trailing rope grab is not an option. Doing so can reduce the strength of the rope by 50% and the strength loss is permanent. Undoing the knot does not restore lifeline strength.

Using a rope grab for fall arrest can be served by a manual or automatic unit, depending on whether or not vertical mobility is required. If vertical mobility is required, a trailing, or automatic, robe grab is ideal while a manual rope grab is better suited for when horizontally-oriented mobility is required in restraint.

  1. Safe movement from lifeline to lifeline should be anticipated

In certain fall restraint applications, it’s important to understand the process of movement from one lifeline to another.  If required, consider the following:

  • Plan the work zone so that users understand where the transfer points are and the process with which to proceed with the transfer.
  • The transfer point should be well back of any fall hazard and should provide an intermediate anchorage with which to make the change. Sometimes this will require the user to carry a second rope grab as part of their toolkit to complete the transfer from one lifeline to another.
  • Other transfer options many include: tying off to an anchor with a lanyard in order to facilitate the transfer from one lifeline to another. That lanyard can then be removed and the user  can return to work.
  1. Proper maintenance and storage is crucial

Like any tool, proper storage and maintenance of a rope grab is important to ensure the efficacy of the rope grab and the lifeline.

Rope grabs should be stored in a cool, dry place out of the sun and be kept away from dirt, grime, chemical contaminants and moisture.

When a rope grab is exposed to a dirty work environment, it is important to wipe it down with soapy water and leave it to air dry. This helps ensure that contaminants do not affect the operation of the rope grab and contaminate the rope channel.

Similar to rope grabs, lifelines must be keep clean and dry and stored in a similar environment. Grime and dirt in the yarn of a lifeline can cause breakdown, weakening or hardening of fibers, elongation and loss of strength. Chemical or debris contaminant will render the lifeline unusable, and it should be removed from service and replaced as this represents a failure during the inspection process.

 

Original article: https://safetytownsquare.3mcanada.ca/articles/rope-grabs-user-tips-that-matter

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Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.

Tool Fall Protection: more important than you think

tool-fall-protection-safety-harness

Tool Fall Protection: confidence at heights

During Summer 2018, in Providence, Rhode Island ironworkers strapped on their fall protection – tool fall protection included, to start work on a major project.

“That guy’s nuts!” exclaims Steven Strychasz, a nearby civilian watching ironworkers work on the steel skeleton new Residence Inn Providence Hotel.

The guys who’s ‘nuts’? That’s Kyle Coulombe, 31 an ironworker who climbing 50-feet, with an 800-pound beam suspended over his head while working on the hotel.

Fall Protection: essential for working at height

Crane operator Steve Berube inches his hoist so Coulumbe can align a bolt hole at the end of a coloumn so the two will connect. Then, he walks along the beam to connect the other coloumn while the crane holds steady. Coulumbe attaches his safety line to the top flange of the beam. He now hangs from the crane hook by a cable. He resets his cable line, and continues working.

This amazes the crowd—his ability to seamlessly navigate and climb around the huge iron columns and beams.

What allows Coulumbe to do this with ease? His skills, his nerves, but mainly—the fall protection attached to his safety harness. His fall protection system not only keeps his body safe, but his tools too. Coulumbe carries approximately 60 pounds of tools in his harness daily, including nuts, bolts and a 9-pound sledge hammer.

tool-fall-protection-safety-harness

Fall Protection: it’s for your tools, too

Tool fall protection is also essential when working at heights. Many people don’t consider the damage or pain from, for example—a nine-pound sledge hammer falling on their head. However, according to Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) in 2013 there were nearly 9000 injuries caused by falling tools. 23 of these injuries were fatal.

Tool Fall Protection: do the math

To put this in perspective, COS suggests calculating with physics—they use a common, eight-pound wrench as example. If this wrench was dropped from 200-feet above, it would hit with 2,833 pounds per square inch of force—the equivalent of a Clydesdale horse hitting a one-square inch area. This is why tool fall protection is just as important as securing your body.

According to COS, the shape of a tool or equipment can have an equally disastrous effect. For example, a two-pound hammer could drop from a three-metre height onto a hard hat, and the impact would be minimal—but a two-pound sleever bar dropped from this height would go directly through the hard hat, and will puncture the skull.

Accidents don’t just happen from tools falling. Often, a worker attempts to catch his tool and can lose his balance, or drops the tool which then becomes a tripping hazard for unsuspecting workers below.

Next time you work at height, protect yourself, others and your tools with the right fall protection.

Read our blog on the importance of choosing a comfortable safety harness to ensure your fall protection fits properly.

References here: https://www.wireropenews.com/news-201808-When-Lives-are-on-the-Line.html
http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20180721/iron-men-love-their-jobs-bolting-together-future-in-providence
https://www.cos-mag.com/personal-process-safety/31597-objects-falling-from-heights-on-construction-sites-lead-to-injuries/

Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies which offers a unique portfolio of businesses nationally with locations from coast to coast. Our companies provide an extensive coverage of products and services that support the success of a wide range of business sectors across Canada including the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, oil and gas, mining and marine industries.

Hercules Group of Companies is comprised of: Hercules SLRHercules Machining & Millwright ServicesSpartan Industrial MarineStellar Industrial Sales and Wire Rope Atlantic.