3M Guest Blog | How-to Prepare for Confined Space Access

confined space access hercules slr

Accessing a confined space takes planning to ensure that everyone who enters, exits and works in the space can do so safely. Read on for tips from 3M on how-to prepare for confined space access. 

By the time you are accessing the confined space, a hazard assessment has been completed, but if not, one needs to be conducted to ensure all hazards have been identified. This thorough review will help you identify the right equipment to access the confined space properly. It also is essential to have proper training that will allow you to understand and identify the risks associated with this specific kind of work and then mitigate these risks and hazards effectively. Finally, before any work can begin, air quality should be tested to make sure the conditions are suitable for entry.

As you can see, there is a lot of planning and steps that must be conducted before accessing a confined space on your job site. This includes making sure that you have identified a primary point of contact and resource for issues pertaining to confined space entry. Often this may be the HSE management as well as the supervisor. Let’s explore some of the steps to take before accessing any confined space on your job site.

Confined Space Access | Hazard Assessment

Every single time a confined space is going to be accessed, you need to review the risk assessment for that space and validate that there aren’t new risks or hazards because of the work being done or events happening around the space. This reassessment ensures the workers entering the space will be protected properly based on these current conditions. The conditions often change and, therefore, this assessment should be constantly updated. This may include a variety of issues, such as unsafe levels of gas requiring respiratory protection, the presence of flammable substances, loud noises requiring hearing protection, and control of all energy sources (lock-out/tag-out).

This part of planning should also include a pre-work (or pre-access) briefing. During this part of the preparation, all the work, the time it will take, and emergency protocols that may be needed should be reviewed so everyone is on the same page.

Confined Space Access | Air Monitoring

Prior to any confined space entry, you are required to carry out air testing when it is known (e.g. from information on a previous hazard assessment or chemicals used in a previous activity in the space) that the atmosphere in the confined space might be contaminated or to any extent unsafe to breathe. Gas detection instruments should be checked to make sure they are working properly per product user instructions.

Most confined space air monitoring is accomplished using a four-gas analyzer. This checks the atmosphere for oxygen concentration and to determine the presence of various hazardous fumes, gases, vapors and particulates. Based on your hazard assessment, there may be a need for gas-specific monitors to determine lower-level concentrations that may be present.

Confined Space Access | Equipment Needed for Access

Without the proper equipment and training, safety and efficiency may be compromised and rescuing someone may be delayed if a problem does arise. 

Think about it this way: confined space access, hercules slr, securing, lifting and rigging

 

 

 

 

 

The key people involved in entries into confined spaces are the entrant, attendant, supervisor and rescue teams. All these participants require thorough training on the right equipment to minimize the risk of injury. Rescue plans that outline each step regarding how to work in the space and how to react if a problem occurs must be in place and be well-known by all parties in order to minimize the time required in case the need to rescue, remove or retrieve is needed.

Now think about it this way – this is how you can be prepared if you think it through:

confined space access, hercules securing, lifting and rigging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The various types of confined spaces may all have different access points, involving vertical or horizontal entry and these will require different access equipment. Examples include a tripod, davit, pole hoist, side entry system, winch, and SRL retrieval. Having the right equipment in good working order and proper training on how to use these solutions for entrants can help prevent risk and in some instances, prevent the need for anyone else to enter if a rescue does become necessary.

The equipment used for access can be your initial rescue equipment. However, for certain entries, rescue teams may want specialized equipment, which should be available nearby during access work and be in good working order. Inspecting this equipment and making sure the rescue team is trained on rescue procedures and how to use this equipment is vital. They also should be trained in resuscitation procedures in the case that becomes necessary. Reviewing a rescue plan before anyone accesses the space should also be a part of your plan.

Confined Space Access | Additional Tips for Accessing a Confined Space

Besides conducting a thorough hazard assessment, air monitoring and making sure the right equipment is being used correctly, here are some additional steps you should keep in mind when conducting confined space work:

  • All entrants for permit and non-permit work, as a best practice, should wear a full body harness. The harness should be designed for the intended use in the space.
  • Authorized entrants who enter a permit space must wear a chest or full body harness with a retrieval line attached to the center of their backs near shoulder level or above their heads connected to a fixed point outside the permit space. The best practice is that the other end of the retrieval line is attached to a mechanical advantage device.
  • Permit spaces greater than five feet deep require a pre-rigged retrieval system with mechanical advantage. It is very important that users be trained on the use of the retrieval system. However, always consider a mechanical advantage regardless of the depth of the confined space.
  • All individuals have the authority to stop work for any confined space entry where they observe that the requirements of the safety program that the job site has put in place are not being followed correctly. This includes the attendant, entrant and supervisor.
  • The confined space attendant who will be present outside the space the whole time while workers access and work inside should be able to maintain some sort of communication with the workers inside the space. Because the people inside the space may not be visible, other means of communication (such as an electronic voice communication system) should be considered.

Once the work is completed, everyone should review what worked well, inspect all the equipment used to see what needs repairs or should be replaced. You should also update the risk assessment with your findings for future workers who may need to access the space.

There is a lot to consider when accessing confined spaces. If you’re not sure where to start, call your local Hercules SLR and book your fall protection demo now. We’ll show you the 3M fall protection equipment we’re loving right now for confined space access, how to use it and the right equipment for you. 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE VIA 3M HERE


BOOK YOUR FALL PROTECTION DEMO NOW

SHOW & TELL ISN’T JUST FOR KIDS—HERCULES SLR WILL SHOW YOU HOW 3M EQUIPMENT  WORKS AND KEPPS YOU SAFE

INFO@HERCULESSLR.COM 1-877-461-4877


FOR RELATED ARTICLES

VISIT OUR BLOG:

DON’T SLIP UP: FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY

HERCULES’ TIPS: IS YOUR SAFETY HARNESS COMFORTABLE?

CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT


STAY IN THE LOOP—FOLLOW US

FACEBOOK  LINKEDIN  TWITTER  INSTAGRAM YOUTUBE


Hercules SLR is part of the Hercules Group of Companies. We have a unique portfolio of businesses nationally, with locations coast-to-coast. Hercules Group of Companies provides extensive coverage of products and services that support a variety of sectors across Canada which includes the energy, oil & gas, manufacturing, construction, aerospace, infrastructure, utilities, 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 hoisting solution your business or project will need. Call us today for more information. 1-877-461-4876 or email info@herculesslr.com. Don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for more news and upcoming events.

Don’t Slip Up: Fall Protection Glossary

fall protection glossary

Sometimes you just want a quick, simple definition without all the fluff, so we’ve created a fall protection glossary that does just that.

Do you use a fall arrest system? If you work at 10-feet or higher, you need it – no ifs, ands or buts. Fall protection is a combined system of plans and equipment workers use to protect themselves and their tools from slips or falls, prevent them happening in the first place and minimize worksite risk. 

Read on to discover our fall protection glossary, and stay up-to-date on important safety terms. 

Like our fall protection glossary? Check out our Rigging Glossaries One and Two, and our guide to Rigging Slang.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: A 

ANCHORAGE

A way to securely attach your fall arrest system to the rest of your equipment. 

ANCHORAGE CONNECTOR

A piece that connects and secures your fall arrest, prevention or protection system so it can withstand the forces of work and a potential fall. 

ATTACHMENT POINTS

Loops or d-rings that connect to the body, and allow the worker to attach other components of a fall protection system to it. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: B

BODY HARNESS 

A full-body harness is used to protect workers it does this by distributing the fall’s force throughout the entire body, and ensures the worker’s body remains upright, even after a fall occurs. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: C

CCOHS

The Candian Centre for Occupational Health & Safety is a federal department corporation, and Canada’s national resource for workplace health & safety information. They promote the well-being – physical, psychosocial and mental health – of Canadians by providing information, training, education, management systems and solutions that support health, safety and wellness programs.

CONFINED SPACE

A confined space is an (often enclosed) area not meant for long-term human occupation, with limited exits and entries. Although these spaces are not usually built for humans, work needs to be done there – Some examples of these confined spaces include sewers, aircraft wing (a great example of a confined space that’s not necessarily enclosed), tanks and silos. 

CONNECTOR

A piece of small equipment, or accessory that’s used to connect parts of a personal fall arrest system – These range from individual components, like a carabiner, or those of a larger system, like a d-ring on an absorbing lanyard.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: Dfall protection glossary by hercules slr

DBI-SALA

DBI-SALA® products are trusted for the past 75 years, to help them get the job done well and get home safely. DBI-SALA® delivers fall protection solutions that enable workers to do their best work safely and comfortably. 

DECELERATION DEVICE

Any device used to slow a fall, or absorb energy to lessen the impact of a fall.

DECELERATION DISTANCE

The additional distance between the location of an employee’s attachment point when the fall occurs, between the attachment point’s location when the worker’s fall stops.

DEFLECTION

What tools do when dropped from heights – dropped objects don’t fall straight down, they tend to deflect in another direction (and can often harm innocent bystanders metres away, who are unrelated to the worksite).

D-RING (ATTACHMENT POINT)

An attachment point (can be on the front or back) that lets a worker connect pther components to their fall protection system, like a lifeline or deceleration device. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: F

FALL ARREST 

Fall arrest is the range of fall protection that focuses on the safety of a person who has already fell. 

FALL DISTANCE

Fall distance, or free-fall distance is the term given to the vertical displacement of the fall arrest attachment point on the worker’s fall protection equipment. 

FALL PROTECTION

Refers to the systems and equipment that keep workers safe at heights.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: H

HOLSTERS

Attachment for tool belt to prevent dropping tools when working at heights.

HORIZONTAL LIFELINE

A line held by anchorages, and lets worker attach a lanyard, SRL or other component for horizontal travel. These can be configured to arrest a fall, or for total restraint.

HAZARDS

Any object, situation or act that could cause injury, ill-health or damage workers, the property and the environment – These aren’t always readily apparent, but many hazards can be managed or minimized. There are many different types of hazards, including:

  • Ergonomic
  • Physical
  • Mechanical
  • Chemical
  • Biological 
  • Psychosocial 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: I

IMPACT RESISTANCE

This is an object’s ability to withstand strong forces or shock applied  for example, a worker’s safety harness and lanyard must be able to withstand the wear and tear that regular work gives.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: K

KARABINER

A connector (see below), or coupling link used to secure ropes, harnesses or other components of a fall arrest system. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: L

LADDER

Device used to extend a worker’s reach and work at heights. Commonly-used across a variety of industries to ascend and descend. 

LANYARD

A lanyard is a connection point to your harness, and can be constructed of rope, webbing or cable.  

LEADING EDGE

A leading edge is an under-construction and unprotected side of a surface (think a roof). Its location normally changes as work changes. Leading edges are normally sharp, abrasive and present hazards that you can minimize with fall protection. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: O

OSHA

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is a regulating US agency who’s responsible to make sure workplaces are safe, and work within the necessary regulations and safety standards.

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: P

PROTECTA

Protecta® Brand has comfortable features and fit, like shoulder pads, moisture-wicking back pads, and foam hip pads with mesh for extra breathability. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: R

RESCUE / RESCUE PLAN

Retrieval plan for worker’s at heights or in confined spaces – a rescue plan is an essential part of any fall prevention plan. 

RISK MANAGEMENT

Risk is present at nearly every jobsite, and risk management refers to the act of minimizing and managing those risks so hazards, injuries, fatalities and high financial consequences are prevented.

ROPE GRAB

A rope grab attaches to a safety harness, and typically is less costly than an SRL. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: S

SAFETY HARNESS

A safety harness (also see body harness) is used to protect a worker if they fall while working at height, or in a confined space by catching them as they fall. 

SHOCK-ABSORBER

Webbing device used to extend or lessen forces on the worker if a fall occurs.

SELF-RETRACTING LIFELINE/LANYARD

A self-retracting lifeline, or SRL is a deceleration device with a spring-loaded cable or line that will brake the worker if a fall occurs. They typically are a longer length, and are best applied when a standard shock-absorbing lanyard would not be able to stop the fall in time. 

FALL PROTECTION GLOSSARY: T

TOTAL RESTRAINT

Refers to the control of a worker’s movement by the connection to an anchorage and restrictive equipment that doesn’t adjust, so a worker is completely stopped when a fall occurs. 


PAY ATTENTION TO FALL PREVENTION!

FIND MORE INFORMATION ON FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT, HOW TO CALCULATE FALL DISTANCE AND MORE ON OUR FAVOURITE SAFETY PRODUCTS FROM BRANDS LIKE 3M, MSA SAFETY AND HONEYWELL-MILLER BELOW.

3M DBI-SALA®

3M DBI-SALA® HARNESSES & LANYARDS

HOW TO SELECT THE RIGHT HARNESS


FOR MORE ON FALL PROTECTION,

CHECK OUT OUR BLOG:

SAFETY INSPECTION: MAKE YOUR HARNESS A HABIT

CONFINED SPACES: CHOOSE THE BEST FALL PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

FALL ARREST SYSTEM: DON’T FOOL WITH YOUR TOOLS


STAY IN THE LOOP—FOLLOW US

FACEBOOK  LINKEDIN  TWITTER  INSTAGRAM YOUTUBE


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.

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 


STAY IN THE LOOP—FOLLOW US

: FACEBOOK  : LINKEDIN : TWITTER         : INSTAGRAM


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.

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.