Inspection tips for your full-body harness

With falls being the leading cause of death in construction sites and in work sites where people are required to operate at elevations, employers should make sure that they adopt appropriate safety measures to minimise incidents. Besides keeping other safety measures, such as guardrails or safety nets, in place, employers should make sure that their workers are equipped with full-body harnesses that form an integral part of fall protection system. The successful use of fall protection systems are largely dependent on workers’ ability to appropriately inspect and use the equipment and hence, employers should make sure that they provide the necessary training to their workers.

A safety harness should be inspected before use as every harness comes with its own wearable life that may vary depending on the number of times it is used and the conditions that it has been subjected to. A harness may show noticeable signs of damage and it is a good idea to replace it with a new harness to eliminate mishap possibilities. As a matter of fact, harnesses need to be inspected frequently by a competent person who can detect corrosions and suggest suitable actions.

If you are responsible for inspecting full-body harnesses, you may consider the following tips to determine if a harness can be used further:

  • The grommets are subjected to heavy wear because of recurrent buckling or unbuckling. Loose or broken grommets are warning signs that may call for a replacement decision.
  • Inspect for cracked, distorted or broken D-rings besides inspecting the D-ring back pads. The D-ring, if it is good health, is expected to spool easily.
  • Check if the outer and the center bars of the friction and mating buckles appear to be straight. Inspect for distortion at the attachment points of the center bar.
  • Create an inverted U with the webbing. Check if you are able to spot cuts, broken fibers, burns, chemical damage, or pulled stitches. Check on both the sides, throughout the length of the webbing. Closely inspect the paint and solvents in the webbing and rope. Some varieties of paints contain solvents and drying agents that may induce chemical damage or restrict the movement of fibers.
  • Closely inspect the attaching buckles. Check for cut fibers, distortions or any abnormal wear.

Harnesses come in different styles and hence, you should always read the instructions to understand how they can be used in the right way.

Lifting Shackles- a riggers best friend

Green Pin ShackleHave you ever looked at a construction site and wondered in amazement how huge loads are hoisted several hundred feet above the ground?
A closer look will give you a hint about how this is possible. Lifting and rigging equipment is made up of several complex components, each of which plays a critical role. Among the most integral components are lifting shackles.
They aren’t the largest devices, but lifting shackles play an important role in all kinds of rigging. They are made of a thick piece of metal that is curved or shaped like a ‘D’ or bow-shaped, like Ώ’. Lifting shackles usually have a pin or bolt across the opening. Depending on the length and the purpose of their use, a screw pin can be used or the more secure nut and bolt option which can be reinforced with a locking mechanism.
Shackles are typically used to connect the lifting device such as the hoist or rigging equipment with the object to be lifted. They can be used in a variety of hoisting, rigging and pulling applications. Because they are used as a connecting device, they need to be extremely strong to withhold weight on both sides and must be checked regularly for safety and maintenance.
An experienced rigger needs to be aware of how to use a shackle safely to ensure that the weight of the object being hoisted is balanced properly on the shackle and shackle does not tilt at an angle while an object is being lifted. The right kind of design makes all the difference in ensuring that a shackle works correctly. The most common designs are the ’D’ shaped and bow-shaped shackles, but it is also possible to have shackles shaped like a triangle or with a very long and narrow ‘U’ curvature.
The sturdiest shackles are made from super strong carbon, alloy or high-grade stainless steel. Depending on their size and composition, they need to meet US Federal certification guidelines. If the rigging equipment is being exposed to corrosive material or is being used in extreme heat, shackles that can withstand these environmental conditions must be used. Shackles used for lifting can bear weights up to 1000 tons or slightly more.
Typically, lifting shackles need to be inspected by a competent authority at least once every six months to check for their integrity and safety. Shackles should also be stored carefully and care should be taken to ensure that the pins and bolts in a shackle fit correctly and the threading is not damaged with each use. Deformed shackles should be discarded and no attempts should be made to weld or repair them or replace pins or bolts from another shackle.
Shackles are an integral part of rigging equipment and an experienced rigger counts on them to do all the heavy lifting.

Moving Machinery With Load Moving Skates

Load Moving Skates are one of the most handy tools you can possess when considering moving a large machine or object such as a cabinet/piece of furniture. Making light work of moving loads up to 100Tonnes short-medium distances but suitable for moving light loads too, machinery skates offer a versitile solution to load moving.

When moving a machine such as a CNC machine one would usually take a large purposely tested roller pinch bar (up to 5000kg) and carefully push the load slightly from the ground to enable an assistant to place a low entry toe jack under the machine in one corner, then repeat the opposite side of the machine.
Secondly two people then jack both of the jacks up high enough to slide the Load Moving Skates in to position, one can then release pressure from the jacks to safely lower the machine down on to the bed of the front steerable skate. Repeat the same on the opposite side, the correct method would be to perform this lift with 4 toe jacks however many people take the risk of using only two jacks. (You should always use 4 jacks).

There are many types of Toe Jacks available on today’s market varying from standard low entry models, adjustable toe jacks where the toes can be conveniently tucked away or moved and rotational Toe Jacks which as you can imagine rotate.

Kito Electric Hoists- The best quality on the market?

Kito ER2 Electric Chain HoistIf you work closely with lifting equipment and hoists you maybe aware of the Kito brand, having become more established in the UK market over the last few years Kito are well respected on a global scale for producing some of the most robust and technologically advanced hoists with favoured Japanese engineering.

The construction of Kito’s ER2 series of hoists is impeccable, offering as standard their aluminium die cast body designed with both strength and stability in mind while also remaining lightweight and tough, many hoist makers out there now are using plastic covers which will certainly not standup to the work that the Kito ER2 can. The Nickel-plated load chain offers an alternative to the traditional Zinc-plated version that many alternative brands offer, ideal for demanding environments.

A huge feature of the Kito ER2 is the thermal motor protection device which prevents the operator from using the hoist beyond its capability and burning out the motor (a common occurrence with poorly trained operators) A sensor in the hoist cuts the power to the motor in any case of overheating, when activated with a load suspended the load will remain securely braked in place while the motor cools down, once cool the operator can begin using the hoist again and safely lower or raise the load suspended, this feature can save you from having to replace the most expensive component in the hoist, a huge investment as standard!

Not only does the hoist protect the operator from burning out the motor (and having their boss to answer to when he has a broken hoist motor) but also protects the user from overloading the hoist, the Kito ER2 features a unique friction clutch developed by Kito as an overload protection which cuts the transmission power from the motor in the case of overload.

A feature that few other hoists offer (especially as standard) is Kito’s CH meter with integrated inverter which neatly displays the number of operation hours the hoist has encountered, ideal when it comes to servicing and especially in the case of warranty claims, this also helps control inspection and maintenance intervals and shows the true usage of the hoist. Standard upper and lower limit switches protect the operator from human error when controlling the hoist, limits can be set to prevent the hook from travelling too high or too low, these limits are extremely precise.

Summer Roofing And Height Safety

Summer is here and there is no better time than now to fix up that old broken roof that has been leaking all winter.

Roofing Height Safety KitMany factors should be considered when re-roofing ones home from the size of the tile to your personal safety at such a height. The tile should match your current roof as best as you can, roofing tiles start from as little as 25p each so unless you have a mansion (and there for I doubt you will be doing this yourself) no expense should be spared in the quality to ensure a tight sealed roof that will last for years to come.

Further from the quality and design of your roofing tiles one should take a serious consideration as to the type of safety equipment used at height such as harness kits and fall arrest equipment to ensure that there is absolutely no risk of fatal injury by fall, obviously there are certain steps that cannot be undertaken to prevent that small graze to your arm should you slip, however at least you’ll not break anything or worse risk death.

One should choose a suitable harness that supports and protects you to an adequate standard, this does not mean you need to go out and purchase a fully blown riggers harness for £200 or so, a simple two point safety harness will provide you with a two point connection with safety shoulder straps and a couple ‘D’ rings to enable you to connect yourself up to a rope, lanyard, fall arrest block or webbing strap to secure yourself and prevent a fall. There are a number of ‘off the shelf’ roofers height safety packages available online, perform a simple web search and you’ll find the kit you need, look to pay around £150 for a full kit, consider it an insurance premium that will never let you down, £150 to save a life certainly outweighs the heartbreak of your family and friends if something happened.

Chain Hoists and Rigging Motors EVERYWHERE!

This past weekend we visited the O2 arena in London, needless to say it was heaving! Not only with people but also with rigging motors and electric chain hoists, literally everywhere, holding up signs, screens, trussing, lighting, speakers to name but a few!

This really goes to show that there is no lack in the market for requirement as there are hundreds of these mega arenas all around the country such as football clubs and even airports, this is great for the market and the industries economy as I am confident it is on the rise, all of my contacts across the market tell me nothing but positive things with steady growth. As it has it I was contacted by a university doing a survey on the market, it was very in depth and lasted around 40 minutes, every kind of question was asked and my opinion was noted, at the end the lady provided me with feedback on what other people had been saying, it was very positive and a steady growth year on year until 2020 was predicted which is nothing but good news for everyone in sales and hire of rigging gear.

I was amazed at the site of all these hoists and the technical rigging that goes in to these systems, the guys that set them up are very talented and deserve much credit, hats off!

Offshore Rigging- Whats it really like?

Offshore Rigging can be a really exciting but also challenging job, however with some rewarding prospects such as high salaries with long holiday periods (but also intense working periods). Although living in the middle of the ocean on a windy oil rig is not the most beautiful of places one can still live with plenty of luxury, accommodation is thought to be somewhat as good as that of a five star hotel, bar the room service and beach! If you get seasickness- this ones not for you!

Offshore RiggingMany offshore riggers only pursue their career for a short period of time, this is most likely because they have either earnt enough money to be comfortable and enjoy life or they felt enough was enough and its time to do something else. Often I see ex riggers becoming rigging equipment salespersons or persons who are involved less directly and not actually out on the rigs miles out at sea away from their families and friends for extended periods.

The excitement of playing what is practically real life Meccano does look like something that would make any boy in to a man, that satisfaction you get from Meccano times by a million as you play it on a huge scale, that right there is every young boys dream! We’ll never grow up…

I don’t think I will ever get to experience life on deck Offshore simply because I love my home comforts too much- however I would take the opportunity for the weekend to be an Offshore Rigger and live life on the edge, I think it would be rather thrilling, what do you think??

Container Handling Solutions

I get asked about container lifting solutions every day and which one is most suitable- to be honest it really depends on the application (Yes durrrr I know your lifting containers) but it does depend on how you wish to do it and what equipment and budget you have in mind.

For sure you can lift containers using a crane but its about what is between the container and crane that really matters to avoid damage to the load or improper rigging technique. Containers should be carefully lifted without tilting or tipping the load, this helps when also laying them down on the deck of a ship.

Types of container lifting solutions on todays market are:

  • Full container lifting frames- these are frames that are the same size as the container if you were looking down on it, these usually feature container lugs on all 4 lifting points which connect with the container a lock in to place at the command from the operator (or even automatically on more advanced equipment). By far the most common solution and there is only really need for one lifting frame per crane/hoist. Mostly used in dockside transport where the sides of containers cannot be accessed once they are stacked on a boat, creating the need for a ‘picking’ technique.
  • Container Lifting Lugs and Chain Slings- Very commonly used in small ports or in applications where the person rigging the crane can easily access the locking points for the lugs. There are two types of lugs, side lifting and top lifting- side lifting can only be used if there is clear access to the bottom sides of the containers where as top lifting lugs can be used in applications like loading and unloading from vessels alike the frame- lots cheaper however there is more work involved in attaching and removing the lugs before and after transport.
  • Mobile container handlers which look similar to a large forklift with a long reach container frame are often the choice for large ports where containers have to be transported on land to areas where cranes cannot reach. These tractor like machines are very powerful and can lift up to 45000kg which covers most container loads. 

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Replacing Load Chains or Wire Ropes

If you operate any type of hoist or crane you will know that a brief daily inspection of equipment is simply just safe practise and should never be disregarded. One day it is likely that your daily check will reveal excessive wear on the hoists wire rope or load chain, this requires action sooner rather than later and that action is to replace the rope or chain.

Many believe that you can simply order the same diameter rope and length expecting it to work or the same gauge chain expecting it to run. If only life were so simple! These cheeky hoist manufacturers want your business and they want it again and again! So they specially manufacture chains and ropes for their hoists and sometimes place rights upon that design. Playing carefully the manufacturers never release enough information to manufacture the rope and there for forcing the customer and middle man to buy from the manufacturer the official rope or chain.

This of course has its ups and downs- the manufacturers tend to take advantage to the fact that they are the only place you can get replacements which means sky high prices for end users, however should something ever go wrong you will usually have the backing of the manufacturers warranty which is not effected with the use of genuine parts. Be safe not sorry, always use genuine replacements, if somebody tries to offer you different- you have been warned!

Electric Chain Hoists- Latest Offers on the UK Market

Electric Chain Hoists are rather expensive items and when it comes to purchasing one you want to be sure that you have the lowest price without compromising quality. Many of the top brands import their hoists from the far east; well established, Yale offer German manufactured Electric Chain Hoists at new super competitive prices!

Cranes-UK are distributors of the Yale CPV and CPE models which are both very robust and manufactured to perform to the optimum. As a brand- need I say anymore? The CPV range features upper and lower limit switches and overload protection as standard and can be fitted with a lug, hook or trolley of your choice. Usually in 400v 3phase both models can be requested in alternative voltages. Up to 20% can be saved right now on all CPV models.

Contact the sales team who will be happy to assist with your requirements.