CM’s Tips: Crane & Hoisting Equipment in Hazardous Areas

cm hoisting equipment at hercules slr

COLUMBUS MCKINNON GUEST BLOG: How to Use Hoists & Cranes in Hazardous Areas

This guest blog is reprinted with permission from the experts at Columbus McKinnon. Their specialists give you an overview of safe practices to follow to operate crane and hoisting equipment in hazardous environments. 

CRANE & HOISTING EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS: THE NEED FOR SPARK RESISTANCE 

Among many industries that range from upstream oil and gas, refineries to agriculture and wood working, many potentially flammable atmospheres exist. These areas can present unique challenges for material handling equipment and can pose a serious threat to materials, equipment and most importantly, personnel.

In Canada, hazardous areas are defined and managed by a few different regulatory bodies, including the Canada Labour Code, the Canadian Standards Association and the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety, to name a few. 

FACTORS

It’s generally understood that friction between certain materials can cause sparks sufficient enough to ignite flammable gas or dust. A cigarette lighter or an antique flintlock musket are common examples of this. Obviously the type and concentration/dilution of gases in an area is one element that affects potential ignition from a mechanically generated source, but other key factors could include:

  • The type materials making contact
  • The speed/pressure with which the materials come into contact
  • Corrosion on one or more of the contacting surfaces
  • Lubrication

To address this potential risk, Columbus McKinnon uses materials such as copper, bronze, and austenitic stainless steel, which are generally considered non-sparking. These are used for coatings, or as material substitutions for enhanced spark resistance. Not only are these materials spark resistant, but they can also protect against corrosion. Since surface corrosion can increase friction between mating components, corrosion prevention is also important when using material handling products in hazardous environments.

CM crane and hoisting in hazardous areas, Hercules SLR

Columbus McKinnon engineers a variety of specialty products with spark-resistant components and finishes, including:

  • Solid bronze hooks, bottom blocks and trolley wheels
  • Bronze plated components
  • Stainless steel load and hand chain
  • Multi-coat epoxy finishes
  • Zinc-aluminum corrosion-resistant finish

CRANE & HOISTING EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS: THE NEED FOR CORROSION RESISTANCE

hoisting equipment in hazardous areas by hercules slr
Offshore refinery, example of a hazardous environment. Photo courtesy of CM.

As we mentioned earlier, lifting equipment used in classified hazardous locations must be compliant with applicable standards. 

It’s important to make sure critical mechanical components are resistant to sparks – it’s equally important to make sure these parts are protected from corrosion. These parts include: 

  • Load blocks
  • Trolley wheels
  • Load brake
  • Lifting mediums
  • Chain
  • Wire rope

Many classified hazardous areas exist outdoors that expose lifting equipment to direct, and often harsh weather. These include offshore oil platforms, natural gas processing plants and refineries – to name a few. Specifically in offshore facilities, equipment may be exposed to splash zones, salt spray and the condensation of salt-laden air. In addition to harsh and corrosive weather conditions, sulfur, mineral acids and other corrosive agents are often present in the crude oil and natural gas that is being produced, processed and transported in these facilities, working to further corrode lifting equipment used in these environments.

CORROSION = $$$ cm hoisting equpment from hercules slr

The cost of corrosion can be tremendous, and can add up to billions of dollars each year in the oil and gas industries alone. In these industries, the cost to repair and replace corroded lifting equipment combined with unscheduled maintenance, downtime and lost production have a major impact on profitability. Corroded load blocks, hooks, chains and cables can result in catastrophic equipment failure. Not only can this cause costly damage to the equipment and the facility, but most importantly, can cause injury or be fatal to operators and other personnel in the facility. 

So – how do you protect lifting equipment from corrosion? It’s critical to use corrosion-resistant materials for load blocks, hooks, chains, cables and other components. Since surface corrosion can increase the friction between mating components, corrosion prevention is important to maintain mechanical spark resistance when using these products in a classified, hazardous environment. 

 

cm hoisting equpment from hercules slr
A corroded pipe in an offshore environment.

Columbus McKinnon offers a variety of solutions for these challenges, in the form of a wide range lifting products with spark and corrosion resistant materials and coatings. They also offer application engineering assistance to help determine the right solution for your application. Choose from specially engineered products with:

  • Solid bronze hooks, bottom blocks and trolley wheels
  • Lightweight aluminum housings
  • Stainless steel load and hand chain
  • Multi-coat epoxy finishes
  • Zinc-aluminum corrosion-resistant finish 
damaged hoisting equipment hercules slr
Corroded chain. Photo via CM.

In addition to corrosion-resistant materials and finishes, we also suggest proper hoist lubrication to prevent sparking. These measures, combined with a robust inspection and preventative maintenance program that includes pre-lift inspections, play a critical role to make sure equipment is dependable and safe in these harsh environments. 

Regardless of where you do business, CM has hoisting equipment and cranes to keep your people, materials and equipment safe in hazardous areas. 

 

CRANE & HOISTING EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS: SPACE CONSTRAINT CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS

Earlier in this article, CM discussed the need for mechanical spark resistance and corrosion-resistant measures, especially in hazardous environments. This section outlines challenges faced working with space constraints, how they can be increased in hazardous environments and solutions to potential problems.

SPACE CONSTRAINT CHALLENGES  

hoisting equipment in space constraints at hercules slr
Examples of a constrained space. Photo courtesy of CM.

 

 

 

 

 

Another example of a constrained space. Photo courtesy of CM.

Classified hazardous areas frequently exist within confined spaces, especially in the mining and oil & gas industries. In mining, tunnels often have low overhead clearance in areas where coal or other flammable dust may be present. In the oil and gas industry, designers of offshore facilities typically look to minimize the overall size of the structure, which can lead to low headroom between deck levels and tight clearances for monorails and crane runways.

In all of these situations, there is a need for overhead lifting equipment that is compact in design, including low headroom and short side clearances, as well as a short “end approach” to maximize the deck coverage area served by the monorail hoist or crane.

This need for compact hoists, trolleys and cranes is often complicated by the possibility that flammable gases or dust may be present in the areas where the equipment is used. Therefore, explosion-proof and spark-resistant features may be needed, each posing their own challenges given the space constraints. For example, explosion-proof electric motors and control enclosures are typically larger and heavier than those for non-hazardous areas. Spark-resistant bronze load blocks and hooks tend to be larger than carbon or alloy steel hooks and blocks with the same safe working load. Also, the use of spark-resistant stainless steel load chain or wire rope often requires the equipment capacity to be de-rated due to lower tensile strength of stainless versus alloy steel. This de-rating can sometimes result in larger, heavier and more costly hoists and cranes.

SOLUTIONS 

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when specifying or purchasing lifting equipment for hazardous locations with space limitations. When dimensional constraints within facilities and working environments compete with the need to comply with hazardous area requirements, the safety of personnel, equipment and facilities themselves must always take precedence in our decision making.

Fortunately, there are a variety of hoisting equipment options available, featuring spark- and corrosion-resistant materials and explosion-proof components, that can be used in confined areas. Low-headroom hoists are offered in both wire rope and chain varieties, including manual, electric and pneumatic models.

Wire rope hoists can typically provide higher capacities and faster lifting speeds, while chain hoists can offer smaller overall dimensional envelopes to optimize end approach and clearance. Solid bronze and stainless steel components can provide lasting protection against sparking and corrosion, but, in some applications, copper or nickel plating can be substituted to provide lower headroom dimensions and reduce the need for de-rating of safe working loads.

CM has solutions to many of these problems. Products that work in many different restricted areas for this purpose are: 

  • Ultra-low headroom hoist models 
  • Low-profile hoists 
  • Wire rope hoists/crane rope 

Hercules SLR carries Columbus McKinnon products, hoisting equipment and solutions to use cranes and hoists in hazardous areas—e-mail info@herculesslr.com to find out how we can support your next crane or hoisting operation with safety training, inspections or repairs.  


VISIT CM WORKS FOR MORE: 

PART 1: The Need for Spark Resistance
PART 2: The Need for Corrosion Resistance
PART 3: Space Constraint Challenges & Solutions 

FOR MORE COLUMBUS MCKINNON,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOGS:

CRANE & HOISTING SYSTEMS: THE DANGERS OF SIDE PULLING

CM GUEST BLOG: 3 SAFETY TIPS TO INSTALL YOUR CM TROLLEY

 CHAIN SLING WEAR AND STRETCH: ARE THEY THE SAME THING?


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Where’s your CM hoisting equipment? Hercules SLR will lift you there.

Click here to learn more about CM crane and hoist equipment 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.  

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.

Hercules SLR at the Sable Strategic Leadership Workshop

Sable-Leadership-Header

John Shillington, Hercules SLR Branch Manager and Offshore Technician, had everyone’s attention yesterday at the Sable Strategic Leadership Workshop held in Halifax.

John presented some of the initiatives his team is taking to prolong the life and ensure the safe operation of the pedestal cranes on the sable asset platforms offshore Nova Scotia. With the use of Magnetic Rope Testing   (MRT), increased inspection frequency, and rotation of ropes, John and his team are able to prolong the ropes use reducing downtime and replacement costs. Other initiatives include annual critical hose inspections and sample burst testing to ensure that hydraulic hoses used to power the cranes are secure and free of leaks.

With the sable project in decommissioning mode, ExxonMobil brought together it’s critical contractors to discuss strategies to “finish Strong” with the end goal of sending everyone home safely and have no environmental impact at the end of the project. Each contractor had an opportunity to present their contribution to the project. It was a great day of team building and networking.

John-Shillington
John Shillington, Branch Manager, Hercules Dartmouth

Hercules SLR has been a strategic partner with ExxonMobil Canada from the beginning of the Sable project, providing lifting equipment, crane maintenance, and container inspections. We are very proud of the contribution our team has made over the years and the partnerships we have developed. The Sable project is one big family and we are happy to report that our team has worked in this challenging environment for over 10 years with no lost time incidents. This is a great tribute to the dedication of not only our team, but that of ExxonMobil and the other contractors who have supported us over the years. We thank them for their support look forward to “Finishing Strong”.

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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.