Safety Helmet Selection Tips

Your safety helmet should have the capability to withstand the impact of hazards. Apart from providing you with the highest level of protection, your safety helmet should offer comfort and most importantly, it should not create any additional safety issues.

You should consider the following parameters while selecting a safety helmet:

  • The type of job: Safety helmets primarily provide protection against falling objects, but they should be designed to protect you from head injuries caused by other factors as well. For example, people involved in construction projects should have helmets that will protect them from lateral impacts which are more likely to be caused by contact against protruding or swinging objects. People performing electrical works should wear electrically-insulated helmets.
  • Style: Safety helmets commonly appear in the form of hats and caps. The caps are lightweight options and are more suitable for use in narrow, constricted places. The hat-styled models are designed to provide a higher degree of protection against dust and the elements. Importantly, you should select a helmet that goes well with all other accessories you need to execute a project.
  • Colour: Light-coloured helmets reflect heat and are more suitable for undertaking projects in darker environments. For workmen who need to do tunnelling work, helmets whose colours create a contrasting appearance against the background are ideal. You can have retroreflective material stuck to your helmets and you may want to call your manufacturer before you try testing this out.
  • Accessories: Your helmet should be compatible with the accessories that you may have to use to successfully undertake operations. For example, if you need to work in darker environments, you will need to select helmets that have headlamps fixed to them. If you need to battle windy weather conditions, you will have to look for helmets that come equipped with chin straps.
  • Comfort: Make sure that your safety helmet sits properly on your head. Select a helmet with the appropriate shell-size and with easily adjustable chin strap, headband, and nape. A high-quality helmet is lightweight as well as hardy. It comes with sweatband that can be cleaned or replaced easily.

Safety helmets should meet quality standards with regard to fire-resistance, shock absorption, electrical insulation, and penetration resistance. Make sure that the helmets you choose to comply with the European Standard EN 397. The helmet should bear engraved information with regard to the standard, the name of the manufacturer, the helmet-type, and the helmet-size and range. Additionally, each helmet should come with documents carrying information on safe practices and usage.

How To Select The Right Vehicle Winch

If you have a vehicle, you may want to make sure that you have a winch as well. While buying a winch you must know what parameters you should consider and how you can match your winch with the requirements of your vehicle. If you end up choosing the wrong winch, there are chances that you will find your winch to be less powerful than your vehicle and you will remain stuck in a messy situation.

  • The first step to ensure the selection of the right winch is to match the winch’s gross pull capacity (GPC) with the gross weight of your vehicle. The GPC denotes the total weight that your winch can pull in a perfect situation where other factors, such as multiple cables or weak battery, do not cause interferences. The GPC of your winch should be at least 30 percent higher than your vehicle’s weight.
  • Count the cable layers to determine the net pull capacity. The lowermost cable bears the maximum weight and if there are multiple layers of cables, the pull weight will be reduced by 10-20 percent.
  • Winches are electricity-run devices and hence, it is very important to match your winch’s capacity to the battery. It goes without saying, a completely-new battery will provide greater power to the winch compared to the one that you have been using for quite some time.
  • Check the design of the gear case and the pulley. Currently, the industry offers two models- worm-gear design and low-profile design. The worm-gear models, though bulky, provide greater power compared to their low-profile counterparts. However, low-profile winches come with a backup mechanism that stops the motor while allowing you to readjust the cable to promote a superior pull.
  • Make sure that you are aware of the mounting location of the winch. While external winches bulge out on the outside of the grill, undercarriage winches may get easily coated under mud or snow or they may get broken by boulders. You may find external winches to be quite unpleasant.

Above everything, budget plays a critical role in decision making. Ask yourself if you really have the budget to fund a specific winch. The price of winches ranges from £200 to £1000 and so you may want to make sure that you buy the right type of winch that perfectly matches your requirements. You can choose to check out different offers provided by different retailers. Even a five percent discount may bring value to you.

Tips To Use Weld On Hooks

Weld On HooksWeld on hooks are primarily used to facilitate axial loading. Additionally, they also promote the addition of fixed anchor points on spreader beams and farm machinery. Every weld on hook comes with complete welding instructions that one should abide by in order to ensure safe and efficient use. First off, make sure that there is no paint, rust, or grease on the welding surface. Clean the surface carefully. Before using the weld, it is a good idea to get it inspected. Importantly, you should get trained personnel involved in periodic visual inspections. Such inspections are normally undertaken to detect signs of cracks, gouges, wear, nicks, and distortion.

If you find the hook to be bent or distorted in any manner, it is recommended that you do not use it. Moreover, if the throat opening is found to be widened and if the hook tip bends by more than 10 degrees, you should refrain from using the hook. This is mainly because of the fact that the latch will not work if the tip of a weld on hook gets bent or worn out.

When you use a lifting sling to attach the load, use the bottom part of the hook while making sure that the latch remains closed. Make sure that you do not attach the load directly to the tip of the hook or to the latch. You should also avoid side loading. Keep only one sling attached directly to the hook. When you conduct the lifting operation, make sure that the activity does not generate any jerking movement. Simply put, the load should not be in motion during the lifting action. Most importantly, you have to make sure that the working load limit is not exceeded.    In such a case, the hook will break, leading to injury and damages.

Important Points to Consider

  • It is not a good idea to repair, reshape, or rework a hook through heating, burning, welding or bending.
  • The hook should be positioned in such a manner that it can support the load in all positions. Apply the load in the hook’s plane. The hook should not act as barriers to the proper functioning of other mechanisms.
  • Appoint a qualified welder who is adept at deploying standard procedures.
  • Check the electrode manufacturer’s recommendations to have a clear understanding about the welding electrode.

After the welding is completed, get a detailed visual inspection conducted before you move to the painting stage. The hook should not contain cracks, notches, and undercuts. In case you have any doubt, get the hook verified through Magnetic Particle or Liquid Penetrate methods.

Choosing Between Rail Mounted Gantry Cranes and Rubber- Tired Gantry Cranes

Container Gantry Crane Rubber TypesIn container yards, we find mainly two types of gantry cranes, namely rail-mounted gantry (RMG) cranes and rubber-tired gantry (RTG) cranes, which are used to lift and relocate shipping containers. The choice of the perfect gantry crane will depend on a number of factors including the yard layout, size and operation. RTG cranes, as the name indicates, come equipped with rubber tires that promote free movement of the crane through the container yard. However, the rubber tires have their own limitations with regard to the size and lifting ability of the RTGs. On the other hand, the RMG cranes are designed to move on rails and hence, they cannot be made to move freely around stacks in the container yard. However, because the RMGs are equipped with steel wheels, they can carry greater weight compared to RTG cranes.

The higher load-bearing capability of the steel-wheeled RMG cranes makes them an option that can be modified very easily in terms of design. You can get a number of rail configurations installed to the RMG cranes to promote its versatile use in an intermodal container yard. An RMG can be made to cover more than 300 feet with cantilevers being used to lengthen an RMG’s range and with the average distance between the legs being 150 feet. An RMG crane can cover eight rail tracks as well as the stacking sections. Notably, they can be made to reach drive lanes for trucks as well.

However, when you deploy RMG cranes as the major relocation tool in your intermodal facility, you need to take additional precautions to ensure proper equipment upkeep. In the event of an outage, you may need to keep your operations halted for some time until you get your RMG crane repaired. There are chances that your RMG crane breaks down right in the middle of your site that remains busy throughout the entire day, demanding you to take quick actions to restore your operations to their full potential. RMG cranes are noted for their greater efficiency compared to RTG cranes and they are powered completely by electricity.

Electric Chain Hoists and ‘Inching’

mng11ckElectric Chain Hoists are generally very robust items of lifting machinery, designed to operate in an industrial environment. However, this doesn’t mean that they should be poorly maintained or misused. Such treatment will lead to breakdowns and deterioration of equipment condition rapidly. Just like any other tool or machine, you should care for them carefully.

Inching, what is it and how does it affect my hoist’s life span?

Often is the case with motorised chain hoists is that the user (usually due to inadequate training or failure to read operational instructions) will rig up the hoist and perform a lift, then, as the load is almost in place, in order to make small adjustments the operator will briefly continuously click the directional button which causes the hoist to only move a tiny amount as desired- less often is the case with a dual speed hoist (more about that below). This is known as ‘Inching’ or ‘Blipping’, although you get to make more precise operations this does have a negative effect on the life of the hoist motor. By inching the hoist you are constantly turning on and off the hoist motor, every time you click it is classed as a new start, this, in turn, draws more current known as ‘startup current’ which comes with heat, the more you inch, the more heat you pull into the motor which if performed often or for prolonged periods can cause the hoist or travel motor windings to burn out.

Although brief and occasional inching isn’t particularly frowned upon and in some cases cannot be avoided, this should not have a detrimental impact on the lifespan of the hoist motor, it is situations where startup current is frequently activated by inching that will shorten the lifespan of a motor. This can result in a very, very expensive repair bill, often is the case that changing a motor is beyond economical due to the simple fact that you are replacing the most expensive component in a hoist with the most intense refitting procedure- for example, some hoist bodies require a heat treatment to remove the motor as they are so tightly fitted.

Solutions to the problem:

Bar investing in a motor manufacturing plant, there are some easier and more cost effective solutions believe it or not! The only downside to these are that the solutions need to be considered when choosing the specification of a hoist, sadly it is usually complex and costly to implement the following to an existing hoist. Firstly, the most cost effective of the two is dual speed operation as I mentioned briefly above. Dual speed operation provides the user with two speeds of lifting, one slow ‘creeping speed and one fast ‘normal’ speed. Instead of inching at 4m/min the user can slightly let off the double pressure push button to activate the slow speed at 1m/min (speed figures are not the same on every hoist, but this is a common combination) this permits very small and slow movement instead of inching the hoist into place. The unfortunate side to this is that it is only available on three phase hoists, not in 230v or 110v models. Sometimes the operator will need to be even more precise and dual speed operation will still not suffice. This then leads to the second and more expensive option; frequency inverter control. In a nutshell a frequency inverter device when fitted to a hoist allows the fitter to programme it to control at really precise speeds which deliver a very smooth transition from speed to speed while giving super accurate positioning of loads, this feature is less common with standard Electric Chain Hoists and more common in wire rope hoist crane systems.


Can Ratchet Straps Be Used For Lifting?

Can Ratchet Straps Be Used To Lift LoadsWhat is a Ratchet Strap?

Ratchet Staps, otherwise known as Ratchet Lashings are originally designed for securing loads to the bed of trucks, vans and alike. Available usually in sizes up to 5000kg WLL with a breaking point that is 3 times this amount. Used in nearly every industry where goods are to be secured into place, such as transport, engineering, nuclear, aviation and many others.

Types of Ratchet Lashings

There are just a few types of Ratchet Straps available which make choosing the correct one easy, the main differences being the breaking load or WLL (which as above is 3 times the breaking load), as well as the length. Other variations include the end fittings, normally this is a standard chassis type claw hook which makes easy fastening to trailers and lashing points while some have open ‘Rave’ hooks and in some instances even endless formats.

Lifting With Ratchet LashingsThe big question- Can Ratchet Straps Be Used For Lifting?

The answer to this often varies amongst opinions, many say that due to their non-continuous construction (due to the ratchet joining them) that they should not be used to lift loads, only to secure them, I guess this is because the user could simply release the ratchet and drop the load, causing potentially fatal accidents. Others say that they are completely safe to lift with and should you be silly enough to release the ratchet under load then you get what you ask for. My personal opinion is that you should not lift with ratchet straps. I wouldn’t recommend lifting heavy loads, for that you should use proper lifting gear suitably rated for the purpose of your lift, but sometimes, when working in a garage environment this can be out of the budget, in cases like this you shouldn’t take the risk, budget should never outweigh the cost of safety.

For more advice on lifting and rigging products feel free to get in touch with me or browse my blog further, I have been posting away for many years in order to discuss and help others in the industry make the right decision while providing an uplifted opinion.



How Much Do You Need to Spend To Repair An Overhead Crane?

The expense that you may incur for overhead crane repair does not only include the cost of replacement parts, but it also includes the cost of downtime and the consequent loss of productivity. There are several variables that determine the cost of overhead crane repair and you may want to understand them well in order to formulate an appropriate equipment-maintenance and repair budget.

First off, you need to consider the age of your overhead cranes. Generally, you will have to spend more to repair old cranes compared to their newer counterparts. This is mainly due to the fact that old cranes and hoists become obsolete, demanding reverse engineering for the replacement of out-of-stock parts. This, in turn, translates into bigger costs. On the other hand, the repair of newer cranes will cost you less and most importantly, they will come with warranties.

The cost that you will incur on account of reactive maintenance is just one half of the equation with the other half being the cost that you will incur due to the loss of production time and revenue. The success of a repair activity depends on your ability to manage and minimise downtime. Many industrial establishments prefer to get their cranes repaired during the weekends in order to maintain the continuity of their operations. However, you may need to pay more for the repair works that you get completed during the after-hours or the weekend.

Some repairs become obligatory after you use overhead cranes for a certain period of time. However, you can prevent breakdowns by keeping a preventive maintenance plan in place. Regular inspections will help you prevent emergencies that may translate into expensive issues later. The replacement of damaged crane wheels and rope drums demands heavy cash outlay and regular inspections can help detect issues that may trigger serious incidents at a future stage. Sometimes, you will find it to be more profitable to invest in new equipment than to spend an equal amount to buy replacement parts for a device that has almost completed its lifecycle.

Comparing Ratchet Binders with Lever Binders

Yale RLSP Ratchet Load BinderPeople often find it difficult to choose between ratchet binder and lever binder as they have little information on the use of chain binders. So what does a chain binder refer to? Chain binders are often termed as load binders and they are used to tighten chains that are deployed to secure loads during the transportation process. Chain binders are of two types- ratchet binders and lever binders. The two types of binders are differentiated in terms of the binder tightening method that is deployed under different circumstances.

In a ratchet binder, you will find two types of machines, a handle and two tension hooks on either side. The handle performs the role of a lever and the binder features the screw thread as well. The combined use of these simple machines allows you to magnify the force that you apply manually to the tie-down assembly. In other words, you will need to put lesser pulling force on the handle to apply pressure compared to the degree of effort that you will need to put with a lever binder. Additionally, ratchet binders promote slower and steadier loading and unloading of forces, which, in turn, allows you to stay safe from stress or strain.

With ratchet binders, you can expect safer take-ups. The take-up distance of a ratchet binder is twice that of a lever binder and ranges from eight to ten inches. While you may end up spending a few extra minutes during take-up with a ratchet builder, you will benefit from a controlled and safer operation. Lever binders, on the other hand, consist of a simple lever and tension hooks on both the ends. You can use the lever to apply force to a tie-down.

A lever binder, on the other hand, is a simpler structure featuring a tension hook on the either side. With this lever, you can amplify the force that you will exert on a tie-down. The binder is hinged and it gets locked after the lever completes a 180-degree rotation around the hinge. This is an easy-to-use machine that can be maintained with minimal efforts.

The lever binders and ratchet binders work in a similar way, but you need to make sure that you adopt certain security measures to promote safe equipment use. Wear gloves to ensure a tighter grip on the handle. The lever binder should be completely locked to prevent the load from getting shifted. It is not a good idea to use cheater bars to raise the degree of the tie-down force. This is mainly because of the fact that cheater bars can put undue pressure on the tie-down, which may eventually lead to tie-down breakage. It is always recommended that you adopt a slow and steady approach to undertake the ratcheting process.

Factors to consider while buying a wire rope hoist

Industrial lifting operations involve the use of wire rope hoists which are designed to lift objects that may weigh more than 80 tonnes. The selection of the right wire rope hoist depends on a number of factors, including the number of lifts that you expect your hoist to handle at a given point of time, the weight that your hoist will lift on a daily basis, the type of objects that you will be dealing with, and your future requirements.

You should check if you need to facilitate additional lifts that may exceed your usual workload. In such cases, you may want to buy a wire rope hoist or a crane that has the capacity to lift higher loads. Secondly, if you have plans to make important changes to your product line in the next few years, you may want to choose a wire rope hoist that will meet your future needs as well. With this, you will prevent further expenses which you might otherwise have incurred at a later stage while replacing your existing hoist with a new one. You will need a basic wire rope if you need to lift solid steel pipes. On the other hand, you will need a hoist with advanced controls if you need to lift materials related to the nuclear or aerospace industries.

Wire rope hoists come equipped with motors that are controlled by variable frequency drives (VFDs). Such drives allow for slow, controlled movements, which, in turn, facilitate the lifting of delicate items. Additionally, the VFDs that are required to facilitate trolley movements accelerate or decelerate the load-travelling speed which, in turn, promotes safe object relocation. Look for wire rope hoists that come with shock load prevention features. This feature prevents shock loading which may damage the wire ropes if a lift is initiated abruptly with a heavy load that has started getting detached from a mount.

Wire rope hoists facilitate most applications. However, chain hoists may be a better option for you if your operations are executed in rough or hazardous environments. Additionally, chain hoists have enclosed bodies which protect them from damages that may be induced by contact with caustic chemicals or environmental elements.

Moving Bulky Loads With Furniture Moving Trolleys

Moving heavy and bulky furniture can be a nightmare. Most people don’t know where to turn other than recruiting a couple stocky chaps to take care of the task at hand, when in fact, there are lots of more cost effective options on the market which can turn a 3-4 man job into a single man job- nice!

The first question to consider is how heavy is the load you are challenged to move? Generally, there are movers with capacities up to 1800kg on the market, any bigger and you would be considering a machine skate. There’s also not much furniture around weighing more than that so 1.8Tonnes should cover it.

Secondly, the size of the load must be considered- too large and it might need multiple dollies or a larger ratchet strap to secure the load. Too small and, well, you might as well lift it! (unless of course, it’s a lead weight)!

Consider your lifting plan and pathway of travel, ensure clear access at all times, no trip hazards or objects that could obstruct the load. Safety over everything is most important, even if it adds time to the process.

There are multiple different types of furniture moving trolleys and load moving dollies available from numerous manufacturers, some better than others. My favorite Furniture Movers and the most popular on the market are the FM series from Raptor and George Taylor, these movers are top quality hydraulic lifters with a huge capacity as above up to 1800kg. Simply slide one under each end of the load, strap it in with the included ratchet straps, crank the hydraulic jack which raises the load and wheel away.