A davit is a popular crane-like device made of steel or aluminum and designed for supporting, raising, lateral moving, and lowering people, working platforms, boats, anchors, or other heavy equipment. Davit systems can be used to lower a lifeboat to the embarkation level for boarding. They can be utilized as man-overboard safety devices to retrieve people from the water. You can also see people using davits when they are working on buildings with various terrace levels.
Considering that applications can be so different, it is important to make sure that the system you want to use is rated for your specific application, what you need to use it for and the weight it needs to support: fall arrest, rescue, or material handling. As a rule, temporary assignments require systems with a portable base that can be easily moved from one location to another. More complex projects require multi-piece davit systems with a permanent base and a variety of arm sizes, capable of being adapted to numerous access challenges. For example, if a hazardous work area, such as a tank or a vat, has to be accessed frequently, a davit system with a permanently mounted base is the best solution. Before starting a task that involves davit systems, you should refer to the product manuals to verify the maximum rated load of your lifting device. Davits should be used with the approved bases rated to support a maximum davit reach that matches your application.
Confined spaces can be found on the majority of job sites. Every year workers are injured there because the confined spaces have limited ways of entering and exiting which complicates their rescue in case of emergency. In confined space entry or rescue situations, an advanced davit system is a perfect way to lift and to descend workers or equipment.
Since confined spaces significantly vary in size, shape, and location, confined space safety systems are categorized into vertical and horizontal entry types. Entering confined spaces, such as a manhole on a street, requires the vertical confined space safety equipment. Some confined spaces, such as a tank, allow only an entry from a side. For these, you will need the side-entry or the horizontal type of equipment.
All system components must be made from tough materials strong enough to withstand exposure to the elements. A good idea is to choose a system that maximizes strength while minimizing weight. Powder coated and anodized aluminum construction offers durability and reduces overall weight.
Here are some great options for you to consider:
The Jackpod Davit Top Entry Set by Skylotec consists of an upper pylon, a lower pylon, and a portable base. The portable system requires a small working base area and is easy to transport and store thanks to low weight and volume. It is recommended for use in confined spaces and for the rescue applications. High-quality finished aluminum and galvanized steel offer a high aging resistance. No tools are required for installation: the Hi-Viz, powder-coated, aluminum alloy components slide and click easily into work position.
The Davit Retrieval System by Pelsue provides an excellent method of confined space entry and retrieval. The benefit of this lightweight and easily assembled system is that it can be easily stored on your truck. It is adaptable to a wide variety of access challenges. Kit Includes a portable three-piece base adjustable from 36 to 56 inches inside diameter, a cast davit system with adjustable offset reach from 18 to 24 inches, a winch-mounting bracket.
The Jackpod Davit system does not require a lot of routine maintenance: tightening of any loose fasteners and basic cleaning performed as part of the annual inspection are sufficient. Use a solution of warm water and a mild detergent to clean the system and the labels. Do not use solvents, as this may damage the powder coating.
The Complete Quad Pod Davit Arm System by French Creek features a four-leg mobile base, a boom, a galvanized wire rope, and a winch. It can be used for confined space and rescue applications as an alternative to a tripod system. With the capabilities of an interchangeable arm, the quad pod base and the davit base can be shared between fall arrest, raising and lowering arm.
Call us 800-829-9580 if you have questions about what davit system will work best for your application, or visit us online: www.pksafety.com.
When working in confined spaces, it’s critical that workers stay safe from hidden and potentially deadly dangers. These spaces – which, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration, are usually small and difficult to exit – can include places like coal mines, manholes, grain elevators or wine tanks, along with many others. OSHA recognized this and created more confined space regulations in 2015.
The danger of these spaces is the buildup of colorless, odorless toxic gases like carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, or ammonia that can come from gas lines, HVAC systems or idling vehicles. Without any ventilation to ensure a moving airflow, they can quickly build to unhealthy – or even fatal – levels. In addition, when working in spaces like manholes, mines or a farmhouses, it can be difficult to enter and exit quickly should gas levels rise. As a result of these tight spaces with static air, it takes a smaller concentration of these gases to become deadly. Our latest white paper can help workers identify the risks of these enclosed spaces and help them stay safe.
There are three ways workers and managers can create safe work environments when working in confined spaces:
Going on-site with a properly calibrated gas detector ensures your device can measure noxious gases. This device will alert you when dangerous gases like hydrogen sulfide (H2S) reach harmful levels, before your senses can even detect them.
If a gas detector alerts to high levels of toxic gas (or a low level of oxygen), workers need to address this quickly. An important step is properly ventilating your workspace. Appropriate ventilation blowers and ducting that create a moving air supply will help move toxic gases out of the work area.
Most injuries that occur in confined spaces are from people working to rescue someone. To avoid that outcome, have a rescue plan in place before entering a confined space.
Want to learn more about how to work safely in confined spaces? Our new white paper, 3 Tips For Safety in Confined Spaces, breaks down the different types of confined spaces workers can encounter. When faced with working in these tight quarters, knowing how to prepare – and how to respond should gas levels get too high – can help workers stay safe. Download the white paper today to learn more.
Be Careful in Confined Spaces
Working in a confined space is dangerous because of the risks of asphyxiation from noxious fumes or dust, reduced oxygen levels, as well as fire and flood dangers. Where can you find confined spaces? Here are a few examples: water and sewer pipes, silos, utility tunnels, pumping stations, tanks, vats, pits, kilns, wastewater wet wells, sumps, vaults, storage bins, crawl spaces under floors, manholes, meter vaults, water reservoirs, boilers, tunnels, and grit chambers.
What you need to do in order to ensure a safe work environment in confined spaces:
What’s Your Rescue Plan?
There are three common approaches to a rescue:
Deaths often occur when untrained employees attempt to rescue an entrant without the proper equipment, and then get caught in the confined space.
After you close off the area, use a retrieval system to bring the employee out of the confined space. Authorized entrants are required to wear harnesses connected to a retrieval line. The retrieval equipment should be in place before employees enter the permit space.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the fall protection equipment. Harnesses used for fall protection most commonly are full-body style, have flat nylon webbing, and the point of attachment in the center of the back at a shoulder level. Tripods used for vertical entry most commonly are 8-foot or higher. SCBA Units (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) may be required to enter some confined spaces and to perform a rescue. Each confined space must also be evaluated to determine what other types of equipment may be necessary: communication equipment, monitoring and ventilation of space, slings, rescue baskets, ropes, victim stabilizers, and winches. After the rescue, it is important to do a post-incident analysis.
As you can see, there are numerous types of equipment available to assist with rescue. Contact us to determine which ones you need.
What Works Best in Confined Spaces?
We recommend kits that combine all-you-need devices to make any confined space entry safe, both for workers and for rescue teams. At PK Safety, we have made getting all the right confined space items easy by combining the necessities into our confined space entry system. You will get all the confined space tools you need for OSHA compliance with the following kit that includes DBI-SALA II 8300030 Winch w/ 7 ft Tripod, BW Honeywell GasAlert Max XT II, Blower/Duct Canister Combo 25 ft ED7025, and ExoFit Back D-Ring Harness 1107976.
For a more economy-minded users, PK Safety has also compiled a complete Confined Space Entry Contractor’s Kit that features OSHA-compliant products, designed for teams doing periodic, or occasional confined-space entry. This kit was featured in January 2017 issue of the “Cleaner” magazine. The kit provides all the confined-space tools needed for OSHA compliance. It includes BW Max XT II 4-Gas monitor, 8 ft. aluminum Protecta tripod, Compliant Protecta man-rated winch with 50 ft. of cable, Protecta Snatch Block Pulley Assembly 8003205, Allegro Blower/Ventilator with 25 ft. of flexible ducting, 5-Point full-body Protecta harness. It is ideal for multiple applications in tanks, manholes, and other vertical-entry work practices.
If you have questions or need help finding fall protection or rescue solutions, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
We recently learned about a nationwide program instituted by the U.S. Department of Energy that promotes the use of clean and sustainable energy through weatherization funding. It’s the Weatherization Assistance Program. This came to our attention when a couple of new customers approached us from community action groups that specifically carry out weatherization services. These customers purchased gas detectors for their organizations so we looked into it a bit to find out more and how they are helping their communities. We worked with the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program, and B.C.M.W. Community Services. They found us after being advised to purchase RKI Instruments four gas monitors that would bring them into OSHA compliance for their services and qualify them for their state’s funds. One of our Corporate Account Experts worked with them to help choose the right solution for gas detection in their projects, and recommended the GX-2009 4-Gas Monitor from RKI Instruments.
What’s Involved In Weatherization?
In order for a residence or building to be properly weatherized, it will need to undergo an audit. During the home audit, several elements in the home are checked and assessed for energy use in every room and to pinpoint problem areas. These include appliances and home electronics, insulation and air sealing, lighting and daylighting, space heating and cooling, water heating and windows, doors and skylights. Services and upgrades may include:
Some upgrades that are often needed in a weatherization retrofit are: insulating walls, attics, water heaters and pipes, sealing doors, basements and crawl spaces, applying weather stripping and caulk or replacing doors, windows, walls and roofing, installing new HVAC and ducting, and even adding solar energy panels. Confined spaces, like attics and crawl spaces, may be poorly ventilated and, as a result, contain insufficient oxygen or hazardous levels of toxic gases.
Why Are Gas Monitors Needed for Weatherization Projects?
Contractors and service providers encounter a wide variety of health and safety risks when entering a home to accomplish weatherization audits and services. In order to qualify for federal and state funding through the Weatherization Assistance Program, the organizations that carry out these projects need to ensure they are OSHA-compliant. OSHA requires gas monitoring of confined spaces before entering them in order to prevent serious injury or death. In 2015 the definition of a confined space was expanded to include attics and crawl spaces. Most commonly, there are cases where a worker could be exposed to hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, combustible gases or a combination that would poison them or leave them with a lack of oxygen. RKI Instruments is a very dependable and respected brand of gas detection equipment. It makes sense that the OSHA representative recommended these instruments to the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program for their gas detection needs. PK Safety carries many RKI Instruments gas detectors and is happy to help you find the right gas detection solution for your projects.
What Are The Benefits of Weatherization?
Weatherization improvements in buildings and residences can make a positive environmental impact through clean energy use and reduced need for energy consumption. Through the program, organizations are working with qualifying low-income residents who normally wouldn’t be able to make this type of change, and also help them with a reduction in energy bills. In addition, the safety of the residents is often improved with better air quality in the home from newer, retrofitted insulation and filtration systems.
Improved insulation, windows, and sealing leaks around doors and wall joints can keep heat out of your home in the summer and in during the winter. These simple changes can really reduce energy use through the seasons. Depending on your climate, you will have different needs for levels of insulation, moisture control and ventilation. Insulation provides resistance to heat flow, and the more heat flow resistance provided in your insulation, the lower the heating and cooling costs and the more comfortable it will be. Not only is weatherization good for your energy bill, it can help with safety issues caused by aging appliances, insulation, and HVAC systems.
More About The Weatherization Assistance Program and Services
Instituted by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Weatherization Assistance Program will fund qualifying community organizations like these, to help local low income residents to reduce energy bills and improve health and safety. The U.S. Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office coordinates with local and state leaders to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency improvement best practices and technologies. These partnerships help American communities overcome barriers to clean and efficient energy use.
The state governments and local agencies usually work to leverage this Energy Department funding with other federal, state, utility and private resources to increase the amount of homes that can be weatherized. The local agencies and organizations work to provide weatherization assessments and services to those who may be in need of solutions or improved technologies for home energy upgrades.
The U.S. Department of Energy developed the Home Energy Score system to build market value for home energy efficiency with nationwide household recognition. In order to score a home, a builder or contractor will use the “house-as-a-system” approach for evaluation. A home is audited and receives a score that reflects its energy efficiency based on the structure, heating, cooling, and hot water systems. This approach ensures that the team of building professionals consider all the variables, details and interactions that affect energy use in the home. In addition to this, they evaluate the occupant behavior, site conditions, and climate.
Who is eligible for Weatherization Assistance?
Weatherization Assistance resources are available in every state through the U.S. Department of Energy. More than 30 million U.S. families may be eligible for weatherization services nationwide. Energy services are provided by the states’ local weatherization agencies, and each state has slightly different eligibility requirements. If you receive Supplemental Security Income, you are automatically eligible to receive weatherization services. Not only owner-occupied households are eligible, but renters who meet the criteria are eligible if the landlord accepts the terms of the weatherization contract.
DOE guidelines mandate that states must give priority eligibility to the elderly, persons with disabilities, families with children, and families with high energy burden or high energy use. Each state sets how these priority factors will be applied. One of the primary factors affecting eligibility is income. Depending on what state you live in, you are eligible for weatherization if your income falls below the “200% poverty level” (as defined in http://waptac.org/data/files/website_docs/government/guidance/2013/wpn-13-3.pdf).
Options for assessing and completing energy efficiency through weatherization are available through your state and local government’s Weatherization Assistance Program, and likely through your local energy providers home efficiency programs. Check your local government and power company website for more information. Thank you to organizations like B.C.M.W. Community Services or the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program for providing service options and promoting clean energy use.
This post was originally published in A CONSUMER RESOURCE FOR HOME ENERGY SAVINGS, December 14, 2016.
Gas detectors are essential for confined space monitoring before and after the entry. RKI designs high-rated topside and diffusion gas monitors for these purposes.
The GX-2012 is an active pumped four-gas monitor with sensors engineered to detect Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxygen (O2) and combustible gases (LEL). Its powerful internal pump is able to pull samples from up to 50 ft. away! This key feature makes it a perfect topside monitor for your team working in a potentially hazardous location. What else makes it special? With its three operating modes, you have multiple tools in one instrument. The GX-2012 can be used for the confined space safety monitoring, for the leak investigation, and for the underground leak checking. Intrinsically safe and lightweight, it was created with the petrochemical and wastewater treatment facilities’ employees in mind.
While topside monitors are perfect for evaluating the initial entry conditions, winding confined spaces may contain a hazardous environment impossible to be detected before the worker comes in contact with a harmful gas. This is why diffusion monitors are essential for any comprehensive safety program.
The GX-6000, with its rugged design built for the nastiest environments, is ideal for confined space entry, hazmat response teams, arson investigation, remediation sites, perimeter monitoring, leak detection, and landfill monitoring.
What’s New With the GX-6000 6-Gas Monitor?
Get ready to detect hazardous levels of gases like never before! RKI Instruments is introducing the GX-6000 PID and Super Toxics 6-Gas Monitor 72-6AB. This powerful hand-held instrument is capable of simultaneously monitoring up to 6 gases.
The GX-6000 six-gas, sample draw Monitor with PID, IR and Super Toxic capabilities now has 4 new sensors available.
|Smart Toxics:||Smart Infrared:|
|Cl2: 0 – 10 ppm||CO2: 0 – 5% vol|
|NH3: 0 – 400 ppm||HC: 0 – 100% LEL / 30% vol|
It comes pre-configured with sensors for the 4 standard confined space gases including LEL, O2, CO, and H2S. Additionally, this gas monitor’s smart channel is also customized with a PID high-range 6,000 ppm sensor. You may also select a 6th Super Toxics sensor (SO2 6 ppm, NO2 9 ppm, HCN 15 ppm, NH3 400 ppm, or Cl2 10 ppm). Finally, choose from an Alkaline battery pack, an Alkaline and Li-Ion battery pack with 100-240 VAC Charger, or a Li-Ion battery pack with 100-240 VAC Charger.
The unique feature that differentiates the GX-6000 from other models is its PID sensor. As standard, the GX-6000 with a PID sensor is equipped with a library of over 600 VOC gases to choose from. A Personalized Favorites list of 30 commonly used VOC’s and a list of 8 Most Recently Used VOC’s will make your selection process fast and super easy. GX-6000 is a powerful tool equipped with a strong internal sample pump, a man-down alarm, a panic alarm, a LED flashlight, and a large auto rotating LCD display.
Why Choose RKI Gas Monitors?
While many other manufacturers have launched themselves into the disposable gas monitor sector, the core of RKI’s philosophy is that your gas detection device is built to last. Reliability is the major benefit of RKI gas monitors. Ideal applications include confined space entry, hazmat response teams, arson investigation, remediation sites, perimeter monitoring, leak detection, and landfill monitoring.
By Mario Mendoza, Regional Sales Manager, Allegro Industries
On May 4, 2015, OSHA issued a new standard for construction work in confined space. There are five key differences from the Construction Rule, and several areas where OSHA has clarified existing requirements.
The five new requirements include:
In addition, OSHA has added provisions to the new rule that clarifies existing requirements in the General Industry standard.
Finally, several terms have been added to the definitions for the construction rule, such as “entry employer” to describe the employer who directs workers to enter a space, and “entry rescue”, added to clarify the differences in the types of rescue employers can use.
If you have questions about the right PPE for your specific applications, please contact one of PK Safety Customer Service folks at 800-829-9580, or visit pksafety.com.
Confined spaces become hazardous areas when exhaust gathers from cars, trucks, buses, tractors, trailers, forklifts, and other fossil fuel burning engines. Exhaust fumes are highly toxic and exposure to the fumes can result in serious health problems, and even death. That is why the CO and NO2 levels must be measured, and when concentrations reach unsafe, unhealthy levels, the areas must be ventilated. Reliable detection can also protect those who work in these areas from accidents like explosion and fire. A number of different gas detection solutions exist to satisfy these needs. Designing a proper gas detection system can be challenging because of the existing variety of applications in parking garages, hospital/ambulance bays, fire or police stations, boiler rooms, commercial kitchens, indoor stadiums, car dealerships, warehouses, loading docks, train stations, airports, and tunnels. The specifics of the design of the structure must determine which specific monitoring system suits the application best.
The Honeywell E3Point
The versatile Honeywell E3Point network gas detector monitors toxic, oxygen and combustible gases in commercial applications. It can be used as a standalone unit with single or dual-gas detection using a remote sensor, or deployed as a network device interoperable with BACnet, Modbus and other Building Automation Systems. The advantage of E3Point is that it is based on the accurate electrochemical and catalytic bead sensor technology that reduces false alarms. Other benefits of using E3Point include flexible operation, cost effectiveness, versatile communication, and advanced sensing technology. The E3Point Gas Monitor has an accuracy of ± 3%. Diagnostic information can be viewed on LCD display. Interchangeable sensors are pre-calibrated and may be easily exchanged.
To network several E3Point gas detectors together, the 301C is a gas detection controller is the device to do the job. With unique zoning and comparison abilities, it can continuously monitor and average multiple sensor readings in different zones. This unit allows for up to 96 hardwired E3Points to be linked together and back to the 301C on just two pairs of wires. To take advantage of wireless networking, the 301W is a two-year maintenance and calibration free gas detector which uses a wireless mesh network to communicate back with the 301C. The 301C can monitor up to 50 wireless transmitters, and datalogging is an option. Ventilation (exhaust fans) and alarm beacons/warning systems are also controlled and activated by the 301C, and should be placed in appropriate locations as required.
|Facility||Building Environment||Gases Present (detected by E3Point)|
|Parking Structure||CO, NO2, C3H8|
|Loading Dock||CO, NO2, C3H8, H2|
|Transport Terminal||CO, NO2, C3H8, CH4|
|Golf Cart Maintenance/Battery Charging Area||CO, NO2, CH4, O2, H2|
|Maintenance Garage||CO, NO2, C3H8, O2, H2S, H2|
|Hospital/Ambulance Bay||CO, NO2, C3H8, O2|
|Fire/Police Station||CO, NO2, C3H8, O2, H2, H2S|
|Car Wash||CO, NO2, C3H8|
If you have questions or need help finding the right gas detection solution, please feel free to call us at 800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Have you purchased one or several of the following products?
Capital Safety has determined that these following DBI-SALA Advanced Adjustable Offset Davit Systems manufactured before 1/1/16 do not fully meet some of the loads specified for certain davit adjustment positions as represented in the “Instruction for Use” (IFU) manual & product labels.
This is NOT a recall and there have been NO reported accidents or injuries related to this issue.
Please contact Capital Safety’s Customer Service department at 800-328-6146 (prompt #2012) or email ADVDAVITS@capitalsafety.com to request a Retrofit Kit be shipped to you directly free of charge. As always, we welcome you to call us at PK Safety with any questions at 800-829-9580.
There’s a new kid on the block, and not everyone is happy to welcome them.
Gas Clip Technologies gas monitors have been around since 2009 and these days they’re starting to compete with the big guys like BW Honeywell and Draeger. While they don’t have the track record of reliability these companies enjoy, Gas Clip does offer prices and features that put them into the conversation when it’s time for your company to purchase new equipment. For instance, their Single Gas Clip H2S Monitor is a portable gas detector that’s as well-priced as our far-and-away most popular H2S monitor, the BW Honeywell GasAlert Clip Extreme, and that’s saying something. Gas Clip distinguishes themselves from other producers with models like the Gas Clip Plus for H2S. This single gas monitor offers a feature that’s not available with other single gas disposables. If Gas Clip can do it, we wonder why others don’t. The Gas Clip Plus has a hibernation mode. Instead of continually operating for two years once it is activated (like most gas detectors in this segment of the market do), the Gas Clip Plus can be turned off, and only when the monitor is actively in use will it eat up the 24 month fixed life span.
In the multi-gas personal gas detection area, Gas Clip again sets itself apart. For the same price as monitors using the old pellistor sensor technology, Gas Clip offers the Multi Gas Clip with an IR Sensor. IR sensors for LEL have a number of distinct advantages. They don’t get sensor poisoning from silicon or too much H2S, and only need to be calibrated every six months. IR sensors also use less juice. The Multi Gas Clip can run up to two full months on a single charge. Other monitors need to be charged every day – sometimes twice a day. Typically the IR technology is more expensive to produce, and other manufacturers have been charging top dollar for the improved performance. Gas Clip is delivering the technology without a big jump in price, and companies who can benefit are sure to be paying attention.
While we’ll have to keep an eye on the continued quality, service, and long-term cost of ownership, early indications are that Gas Clip monitors are delivering what customers want – function at the right price. While it may be making the big gas monitor producers unhappy to have a new player, competition is always good for the consumer.
For more information about safety products, please don’t hesitate to call 800-829-9580 or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Confined space 4-gas monitors need to be calibrated. We all know it, and the time is probably coming up soon. Just how often you are required to calibrate depends on you and the recommendations of the manufacturer. (See calibration intervals for more information.) There are several possible methods for tuning up your gas monitor, and whether you do manual calibrations, use an automated calibration and bump test device, or send it in for a professional calibration service is up to you.
Each calibration method has advantages. If you have more time than money (a situation I personally am familiar with) manual calibrations are not terribly difficult or particularly time consuming. This is a great option if you have only a few monitors. Typically a monitor can be fully calibrated in about 5 minutes start to finish. Using a constant flow regulator isn’t the most efficient in terms of calibration gas usage, but what the heck, you’re only doing a couple monitors, and the cal gas will expire after 12-24 months anyway.
If you have lots of monitors you might not be so thrilled about the prospect of spending days calibrating. If you have hundreds, it may be completely unfeasible. Automated calibration systems like the MicroDock II Docking Station for BW monitors or the RKI Instruments SDM-2009 Calibration Station which fits (not surprisingly) the RKI Instruments GX-2009 make upkeep about as simple as you’re likely to get it.
Automated systems are, well, automatic. Push your monitor into the cradle at the end of the day, and these systems will recharge and bump test or calibrate. Whatever is required. When workers come to use the monitor in the morning, they’ll know right away that it’s charged and ready to go because there are nice green lights or an “OK” message on the monitor screen. If you don’t have those messages, it’s better to know before you go into a confined space than after you’re in one. You’ll get a message letting you know what actions need to be taken.
The Draeger X-am Bump Test and Calibration Station might be the simplest and most elegant solution on the market. No need for regulators or extra tubing. Your 4-Gas cylinder simply screws in, and the system is ready when a monitor is plugged in. No electricity involved, so this system is intrinsically safe, and can be placed close or in the to the work area. This system doesn’t expand like other systems, but it is a fine solution for an individual monitor.
Of course there are organizations out there – yours might be one – that doesn’t want to mess with all the equipment and making sure the calibration gas hasn’t expired. For them, we offer our calibration service. PK Safety Supply is a Factory Authorized Service Center for both BW Honeywell and RAE Systems gas monitors. We also carry a complete line of pumps, gas, regulators, internal electronics, and replacement sensors if your monitor requires additional care. We know it’s important to keep your monitors up and running, so we make every effort to calibrate and return monitors within 24 hours whenever possible.
So there you have it, the complete breakdown of your calibration options. If you are still not sure which group you fall into, please give us a ring at 1-800-829-9580 or contact us online at PkSafety.com.
By Dan Hudson
Ever wondered if cold weather adversely affects your monitors? And if it does, what can you do to minimize the effects? Industrial Scientific’s Brad Day provides helpful insights for all you unfortunate souls who have to work out in the cold. Thankfully, with summer around the corner, maybe you can just tuck this article away for the next few months!
Download publication by Brad Day: Operating Gas Detectors in Extreme Temperatures
This post was originally published on http://confinedspacework.blogspot.com/
Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, HVAC techs and many other tradesmen find themselves crawling around attics and crawlspaces on a regular basis. Now they are going to need to bring one more piece of equipment with them – a personal 4-gas monitor. OSHA has recently clarified their standard concerning these very routine work areas and they are officially now classified as confined spaces.
Confined spaces are inherently dangerous, and OSHA’s not unreasonable response is to require additional safety. There is sure to be some eye-rolling from the folks affected by this new clarification. But OSHA is a force of nature. Slow and plodding, sure. But now that the ruling has come down, folks working in attics and crawl spaces will either suit up with an appropriate confined space gas monitor or run the risk of OSHA fines.
We all know this will affect the small businesses and contractors the most. While even the least expensive monitor is several hundred dollars, there are four-gas personal detection units that are relatively inexpensive and provide very good protection and value for the money. Gas Clip Technologies makes the Multi Gas Clip with Pellistor Combustible Sensor detecting H2S, CO, O2 and LEL. This monitor has a typical battery life of 25 hours and all the bells and whistles of the more expensive monitors.
However, as modern as they have become, gas monitors are a pain in the neck. There are no two ways around the fact that buying the monitor is just the first step, and probably the easiest. All monitors must be charged, maintained, calibrated with specific cal gas, and the information from the monitors may need to be downloaded in the event of serious accident. That’s a lot to add to the plate of independent plumbers and construction workers.
Here are some of the highlights of the clarification of the PRCS standard. Each company will have to assess their job site to determine the presence of confined spaces. Workers required to go into confined spaces will need to test with a “calibrated direct-reading instrument” for 02, LEL, CO, and H2S. Permits are required, but the contractor doesn’t need to go to the building department for this and can write them up and post them themselves. However, only those employees specifically trained and authorized will be allowed to enter the permitted confined space and this adds another burden to business owners and responsible parties on the job sites. In some cases, an attendant will need to be monitoring the confined space from outside.
So to recap, extra safety equipment, increased training, and ongoing maintenance. Safer is better, but some companies will find this a tough change to make.
If you have questions about this new clarification in the permit-required confined space rules, please feel free to give us a call at 800-829-9580 or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
There are so many answers to that simple question. One answer might be the cheapest, but that one likely won’t be the safest. Far from it. And if you happen to have the pleasure of entertaining an OSHA inspector on your jobsite, it certainly won’t end up being inexpensive in the long run.
Completing your work without someone getting injured should always be a priority. No job is worth having someone hurt or killed. Some crews might say it depends on the worker, but we’re a safety company and prefer everyone to be protected equally.
A good tripod for many companies is simply one that meets OSHA requirements. No need for bells and whistles because it’s mostly sitting in storage. That’s fine. We understand there are lots of folks out there who don’t do regular confined space entry, but nevertheless need to be able to pass inspection when they do perform that type of work. For this group, we’d recommend a simple Protecta 8 ft. Tripod AK105A. This sturdy aluminum tripod retracts fully for easy storing and deploys quickly.
For companies looking for an all-in-one solution, the Protecta 8 ft. tripod is included in the Protecta Tripod Kit which also features a man-rated winch and mounting bracket, 50 ft. of 3/8 in. galvanized steel cable, and a snatch block pulley to guide the wire from the apex of the tripod down the middle of your confined space opening.
This type of set-up is not ideal for folks required to enter confined spaces regularly. It’s not bad, but there are tripods that are easier to set up, and winches that are more robust and allow for raising and lowering equipment as well as workers. For regular confined space entry teams, we’d recommend the DBI-SALA 7 ft. Confined Space Tripod and Winch Combo. This system also meets all applicable OSHA standards, but is an upgrade both in terms of hardware as well as ease of use and durability.
The Salalift II Retrieval Winch in the DBI-SALA Combo can be used to move up to 350 lbs. of equipment, or it can support a total combined weight of a worker with his tools of up to 310 lbs. It also has a freewheel setting which allows for much easier descent if the CS entrant is climbing down. A quick flip of a switch changes the winch back into retrieval mode.
If you know how often you’re going to be required to perform confined space entry, you’re on your way to answering our initial question of which tripod and confined space entry kit is best for you. Of course if money is no object, you probably aren’t reading this post. But for the majority of companies, they want the best equipment for the type of work they are doing at the best price. If you’d like more information, please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580 or chat with us online at PkSafety.com.
Circulation of fresh air is critical for many confined space entries. Teams are turning to the efficient and easy to use venturi blowers for a number of reasons. To start with, Plastic Allegro venturi blowers are lightweight, efficient, and intrinsically safe because they have no moving parts.
Power for the blower is created by compressed air or steam being introduced to the cast chamber at the base of the unit. Circulating air creates a Venturi effect pulling air in through one end and blasting it out the horn-shaped diffuser. The Venturi blowers are able to clear large volumes of air containing gas and vapor as well as dust and particulate matter.
Venturi air blowers are available in a range of sizes depending on the dimensions of the space you are trying to ventilate. The smallest blower is 16.75 in. overall can move from 815 – 1182 CFM (cubic feet per minute) while the largest option, 46.06 in., is capable of moving between 3152 and 4152 CFM – A massive amount of air when compared to traditional axial blowers.
DBI-SALA recently made a significant upgrade to their Force2 and EZ-Stop lines of fall safety lanyards. The company has replaced their traditional shock packs with smaller, lighter absorbers. The new shock packs are 66% smaller and 44% lighter than previous models. That’s a major advancement especially for workers moving at height where every ounce counts.
For confined space workers, the less bulky lanyard shock packs mean greater mobility. The interior of the packs is made of Hi-10 Vectran shock absorber. This stuff is amazing – stronger than steel, it has high abrasion resistance, minimal moisture absorption, very high chemical resistance, and outstanding cut resistance. All in a unit roughly the size of a tennis ball.
Another big breakthrough with this line of lanyards is their modularity. Some of the EZ-Stop and Force2 lanyards have the capacity to change out the shock pack in the event of a fall. Since the rest of the lanyard is typically unphased by the event, DBI-SALA decided it would save companies money if they could simply swap out the used shock pack.
Lanyards like the EZ-Stop 6 ft. Web Lanyard are typical of the line. Lighter overall, with coated webbing, incredible durability, and proven to meet all applicable safety standards. The same technology is included in lanyards like the Force2 WrapBax Lanyard 1246173. This model is capable not only of foot level tie-off and handling a 12 ft. free fall, but also has reinforced attachment hooks which can be wrapped around an anchorage and hooked back to themselves. And of course, the same shock packs have been incorporated into their EZ-Stop 100% Tie-Off Lanyards.
If you feel like watching the DBI-SALA EZ-Stop & Force2 Lanyard Video go ahead and rock on, my friend. Rock on.
RKI Instruments isn’t a sexy company. They don’t spend their money on fancy marketing handouts or ad campaigns, and they often name their instruments after the year they were launched. So why do so many companies prefer RKI gas detectors to all others? Maybe it’s because their products flat-out work, and continue to work (properly cared for) for years and years.
RKI Instruments has been in business for 20 years and produces some of the most sophisticated gas monitoring devices on the market. While many manufacturers have launched themselves into the disposable monitor sector, RKI takes the longer view with their devices. Their philosophy is, properly cared for, your RKI instrument should be built to last for as long as you are.
The RKI GX-2009 is typical of this focus on quality. While this 4-gas confined space diffusion monitor is about the size of a pack of cards, it displays real time concentration readings of your standard gases (H2S, CO, O2, and LEL) and is tough as nails. Single gas monitors are also likely to be very compact and reliable. The 01 Series Single Gas Instruments from RKI feature a constant readout of gas concentrations on the screen and the signature reliability of RKI as another great selling point.
More powerful and exotic monitors like the RKI Eagle 2 can detect up to 6 gases and feature a PID sensor for detecting either high or low ppm levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It’s not named after the year it was introduced, which is unusual. But these heavy duty detectors are used by many cities and government agencies as well as large companies with sophisticated gas detection needs. Is it streamlined or fancy? No. Does it work incredibly well? Can it pull samples from up to 125 ft. away? Is it made in the US? To all of these question – Yes.
So while RKI isn’t the largest manufacturer in the world, the fact that most companies that use RKI instruments stick with them speaks not only to the reliability of their monitors, but also to the following they have developed in the sectors of the gas detection market that matter most. Maybe it’s time you try one of these tough, simple units and find out what all the lack of fuss is about.
Let’s face it, people don’t read so much anymore. That’s why OSHA has decided to put more pictorgrams and fewer blocks of tiny, difficult-to-read text in their new Safety Data Sheets (SDS). SDS will replace the traditional Material Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS). See? Fewer words in the title as well.
OHSA has transitioned to the new SDS format in order to provide workers with clear representation of the dangers, safe handling, and use of hazardous chemicals. Their hope is the new format will aid in preventing injury and illness related to hazardous chemical exposure.
The first three sections of the form have the greatest changes. Section 1 contains clear identification of the product. A non-flammable gas mixture, for example, with one or more of the following components, etc. etc. It lists up-front the manufacturer or distributor name, the address (I suppose so you could write them a letter or visit their production facilities), website address, email contact, and phone numbers for local, toll-free, and for calling from outside the US.
Section 2 identifies the hazards. It lists the classification of the substance right after a long string of regulations, stipulations, and brackets within brackets (According to Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 (CLP)/REACH 1907/2006 [amended by 453/2010] According to EU Directive 67/548/EEC (DSD) or 1999/45/EC (DPD)). The label elements is contained in the second section of the second section (It’s also here you might realize this form is just as confusing as the old ones), and thus begins the expanded hazards statements and precautions. It’s also the beginning of the pictograms. (The Jolly Roger is apparently the universal symbol for danger these days.)
Section 3 gets into the nitty-gritty of each chemical contained in the compound, the identifiers, percentages, and further classification with regards to the regulations of each component. Later sections follow the same format as the old MSDS regarding first aid and firefighting measures, handling and storage, environmental impact, etc.
Making safety sheets easier to understand is certainly a positive step. OSHA, while it moves at a glacial pace, does apparently still move.
Ventilation is one of the central pillars of confined space safety. Fumes, vapors, and volatile organic compounds accumulate and create an atmosphere that is not conducive to breathing. And I think we can all agree that breathing is a central pillar of living.
OSHA calls ventilation one of the most important engineering controls available to maintain a safe work environment. We agree. And we’ve got a number of smart ways to accomplish replacing the atmosphere of your toxic environment. The question is how much ventilation is needed, and how can you best keep track of the situation.
While the actual standards for an acceptable atmosphere haven’t changed over the past few years, there is disagreement over the length of time needed to ventilate a space before entry. In OSHA’s confined space standard CFR 1910.146, they do not specify how many air exchanges must be circulated per hour. Some state laws require a minimum air exchange amount of 6 times per hour, but that number is by no means universal.
A common rule of thumb has always been 5 complete air exchanges. There are other experts who advocate 7 or 10 complete changes before work begins. Allegro Industries, manufacturers of ventilation products, recommend 20 air exchanges just to be on the safe side, but they suggest the best way to determine safety for your particular space is by having a professional perform a complete and accurate atmosphere evaluation with proper instrumentation to determine what their recommendation would be.
In practice, our customers typically ventilate for as long as possible before entry, and those who plan their days well often set up the equipment and get it fired up far in advance of the scheduled work. Whichever guidelines your company decides to follow, ongoing monitoring of the space using a confined space gas monitor allows entrants to make sure the atmosphere stays safe.
To calculate the time needed to purge the air while workers are in a space requires taking the loss of airflow from bends in the ducting into consideration. This nomograph, or alignment chart, is a graphical calculating device which can help you figure out what capacity blower you need.
Depending on the size of your space, you may find the Ecko K2025 Blower/Ducting/Canister Combo a good choice. This all-in-one unit stores and protects the ducting as well, and is easy to haul around your site. Another advantage of the K2025 is that it can move up to 980 cubic feet per minute (CFM) without making you deaf like some blowers. While 74dB isn’t quiet by any stretch of the imagination, it’s pretty darn subdued for a ventilation unit that moves this much air.
Another favorite of our customers is the Ecko K30 12 in. Blower from Euramco. The Ecko line is Euramco’s economy line of blowers, and they don’t come with the costly certifications of the RamFans. But they also don’t come with a $2000 price tag. The K30 moves up to 2400 CFM for less than $400 and the available ducting is easy to attach on either end of the unit depending on whether you’re pushing air in or pulling it out.
If you have questions about the size or capacity of the blower that’s right for your application, give our Customer Service folks a call at 1-800-829-9580. They can help you breathe easy (if you’ll pardon the pun).
The two things we hear most about the 8 inch ECKO K2025 Blower and Ducting Combo is that it works great and you can’t beat the price. And really, what else do you want?
You need a good warranty? The motor has a 1 year complete warranty. So check that one off the list. It’s also lightweight and easy to carry. At only 38 lbs. it’s pretty svelte. But the feature that makes it manageable is the built-in handles. Both the blower and the attached canister have big, easy to grip handles that make it no problem to lug around the site or swing up into your truck.
Durability is another reason why folks like these blowers. In the olden days (about 7 or 8 years ago) most of these units were built of metal. They dented fairly easily. You know as well as we do that these things take a beating on the job site. The housing material on most of these portable units is now made of a UV- and chemical-resistant polyethylene. That’s tough stuff. And it doesn’t bruise so easily.
Unlike lots of these blowers, the K2025 comes with a 20 ft. AC cord to make connecting to your power source easier. So you’ve got that going for you too.
Additional flexible ducting in 25 ft. lengths is available and attaches easily. This is handy if you need to extend the range of your exhaust or go farther to find clean air. This ducting is the same reinforced, super strong, professional-grade exhaust duct that comes with the K2025 set. It comes with a handy nylon storage bag with a shoulder strap so carrying all the ducting and the blower/canister isn’t going to be that bad. Hopefully there’s a new guy who will schlep it for you.
While this confined space entry video is strictly about a rank beginner, the gear the confined space training facility at Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) uses is exactly the type of equipment we offer at PkSafety.com. The spot features an attractive local news anchor facing her fear of confined spaces. Spoiler alert – she doesn’t freak out even a tiny bit.
The TEEK campus features state of the art emergency preparedness facilities and is home to the Texas Task Force 1 elite urban search and rescue team. The confined space entry and rescue tank even has realistic features like smoke to obscure visibility. For equipment, the video shows our intrepid anchor woman not only sporting solid basics like a Petzl Helmet with the Pixa 2 Headlamp, but also specialized access equipment such as the DBI-SALA Rescue Y-Lanyard.
And what better to extract a completely untrained, admittedly claustrophobic confined space entrant? If things go south with Ms. TV Personality, just crank her on up to the surface. No muss, no fuss. Now that would be some compelling TV. But nobody asks the blog guy.
The Y-lanyard attaches to a rescue-style harness with extraction rings on the shoulders. Since her anxiety didn’t seem to be that great (or she was controlling it really well – either way it’s boring) they strapped a SCBA or Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus to her back, cranked up the fog machine, and sent her back in. I think a few hungry rats would have livened up the scene and created a better test for her so-called anxiety. But again, my insight wasn’t solicited before (or after) filming.
If you have questions or anxiety about your next confined space entry, contact us. We’ll either set you up with the right equipment, or offer some helpful tips on how it could be way worse.
Ventilation is the number one way for workers to control and disperse hazardous atmospheres in a confined space. For this discussion, the prime objective in ventilating a confined or enclosed space is to render it safe for workers. To reach this level of safety three requirements must be met. If your ventilation unit is too small to handle the job, a safe atmosphere can’t be maintained, and workers should not be permitted to enter.
Let’s go over our atmospheric checklist before we get into the calculations for air turn over and the size of an appropriate blower/ventilator. First off, oxygen (O2) content needs to be maintained between 19.5 and 22 percent. If flammable vapors or gases are present, they must be kept below 10% of their lower explosive level. Finally potentially toxic materials must be kept below their personal exposure limit (PEL) or under the IDLH levels (immediate danger to life and health) if using anything less than supplied air respirator protection.
In addition to ventilation, an appropriate gas monitor needs to be used to test the atmosphere in the space at all levels (top, middle, and bottom). Depending upon the hazards believed to be present in the area, a simple 4-gas monitor measuring hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide, oxygen, and the lower explosive levels of combustible gases with an internal pump will suffice.
Initial testing with the monitor will let you know when the air in the space has cleared. But ongoing monitoring using personal diffusion monitors like the BW GasAlert MicroClip XL in the space must continue as well to make sure levels don’t spike while workers are completing their assignments.
Ventilation air exchange is the rate which your ventilation unit is able to replace the air inside a space. Units such as the Allegro 12 in. Axial Blower with Canister and Ducting have a specific Effective Blower Capacity (CFM) which takes into account the movement of air through the ducting and can be graphed on a ventilation nomograph to figure out how long it will take to clear your specific space.
Another thing that should go without saying, but it couldn’t hurt to point out is the blower/ventilator should be set up in a clean air environment. Too many teams have set the unit next to a generator or truck with a running engine. Pushing the confined space atmosphere out only to replace it with carbon monoxide from a gas engine would be funny if it wasn’t so dangerous.
If you’d like more pearls of wisdom such as this, or want a recommendation on the right blower/ventilator for your needs, please don’t hesitate to call 800-829-9580 or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.
Radios just don’t work in confined spaces. Cell phones? If your local carrier is like mine, it isn’t reliable above ground, much less down below, or in heavy metal environments. Yelling? Please. If yelling worked, you wouldn’t be reading this. Tugging on a rope or banging on a pipe are also terrible ways to pass information back and forth, especially in an emergency. The only viable answer is a hardline communication system. And nobody provides a better product than Con-Space Communications.
Con-Space equipment is designed with the KISS system firmly in mind (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Connections between the various components use durable twist locks that are military-grade with gold-plated contacts and O-rings at each opening. This simple, thorough construction guarantees that you can drag this unit through the mud, get it wet, pull it around corners, and it’s going to keep working.
Con-Space systems like the Con-Space General Industry Kit provides communication 100% of the time. The throat mic is the best on the market, ensuring clear communication even in the noisiest environments. It takes its sound directly from the vibration of the vocal chords, so it’s remarkably understandable, even in the loudest locations you can think of.
The CSI-1100 Mini Modular Base unit powers the system for up to 200 continuous hours of use with 4 regular AA batteries, so it’s a unit that doesn’t need to be connected to an outside power source. There are no extra power cords to trip over or jumble up the work site. The base unit is made to handle two workers.
One interesting thing about this system is how easily it can be expanded by attaching the optional splitters. More interesting is the fact that sound quality will not diminish no matter how many additional users or how much extra cable is added.
Another popular upgrade for the system is the CSI-2131 Power Talk Box. This simple, powerful box allows for hands-free, two-way communication between both sides of the line. A durable fiberglass housing protects state-of-the-art electronics – a high-output speaker, and a microphone that picks up even subtle sounds. And of course this unit is completely waterproof.
The cable is sheathed in triple Santoprene thermoplastic which has a longer life and greater durability than rope cables. The tensile strength of the cables is 164 lbs. and the coating is resistant to a wide range of solvents, oils, and chemicals. They also feature strain relief and snap hooks to keep the connections together, and make handling the cable easier.
A speaker harness holds the throat mic ear speaker in place, and fits comfortably under a hardhat or other personal protective equipment. Workers can complete whatever kind of physical work their trip into a confined space requires while staying connected to the other members of their team. Workers on the other end of the line can keep in touch using the Con-Space Headset which is also water resistant, but is larger and provides better hearing for the controller or outside attendant.
If you need your confined space entry team to communicate, don’t rely on hand signals (“This means there is no air”) or banging on pipes to get your message across. Con-Space Communications systems help get your workers back safe every time.
Construction welders regularly need to enter confined spaces in boilers, tanks, or pressure vessels to perform repairs or during the manufacturing process. Both MIG welding and TIG welding use inert gas that’s heavier than air and that has the potential to displace oxygen and create a major hazard for the welder.
Because of the inadequate ventilation of confined spaces, the heavy gas has the potential to literally submerge a worker. And because it’s colorless and tasteless, it’s easy to miss until you really have a problem.
To avoid a very regrettable displacement of your oxygen supply, you’re going to need to ventilate. One of the simple systems we sell are the ECKO K2025 Confined Space Blower, Duct and Canister. This is an 8 inch blower/ventilator that’s attached to canister that holds 25 ft. of flexible ducting to direct the airflow. The blower and canister are made of durable, lightweight, dent- and chemically-resistant polyethylene. Durable enough for the types of jagged edge locations where welders often find themselves.
Generally speaking, supplied air ventilation, or the act of pushing clean air into a confined space, will provide better results than trying to pull the bad air out. Though requirements differ by state and country, a complete air refreshment of 7 times per hour is standard. To accomplish this, you’ll need to know not only the size of the space you’re about to work in, but also the CFM rating of your ventilator. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. Us the chart below by drawing a straight line from the size of your space to the capacity of your blower, and you’ll have a good idea of how much time you’ll need to purge the area of foul air.
If you have questions about confined space ventilation, please don’t hesitate to give us a ring at 1-800-892-9580.
Some say there are only two types of confined spaces: Those you’ve been in before, and those you haven’t. And while things can certainly change even in spaces you’ve entered a thousand times, the need for solid anchorage is a constant.
Because so much is literally riding on the anchorage equipment you choose, all the gear we offer is from manufacturers with extensive expertise in the area of fall protection. Companies like Capital Safety and the brands under their umbrella such as DBI-SALA, Protecta, and UCL, as well as Miller and rope access and climbing experts Petzl all make products that can be relied upon for difficult confined space entry.
Petzl specializes in rope access and their equipment for anchorage is typically lightweight and easy to deploy. The ANNEAU webbing loop is a simple loop of extremely durable polyester that can be wrapped around a variety of anchorage points, and even with its very light weight has a breaking strength of 22kN (or 5,000 lbs.) in a static situation. It’s impressive, and useful, and easy to carry around with you.
Petzl also makes CONNEXION FIXE anchor straps which are also lightweight, easy to deploy, and a great way to form a secure tie-off point. The CONNECTION FIXE straps have a load strength of 35kN so with the proper anchorage point, you and your truck could likely hang from one if necessary.
If you have a connection challenge, or need more information about the anchorage equipment we offer, please please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.PkSafety.com.
It’s a no-brainer. When it comes to choosing the right ventilator for confined space work, it needs to do three things really well:
How does one go about shopping for these bad boys? Look no further cause we found “The One” in the ECKO K30 blower/ventilator from Euramco.
Unlike traditional blowers with their easily dented metal housings, the portable ECKO K30’s corrosive and UV resistant polyethylene shell is built for less than ideal storage conditions and weighs only 37 lbs. A molded handle means less moving parts. Older ventilation fans have screw attached handles that would loosen over time and rattle when in operation.
And since we are on the topic of sound, here is another thing we love about the K30: it’s relatively quiet. For a fan moving over 2400 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air, this is impressive. At 10 feet, you can expect decibel levels of 84dB. According to NIOSH, permissible daily exposure time before damage occurs at this level is 8 hours. With adequate ducting, you can reduce levels even further. Communicating effectively with your crew in permit-required confined spaces can be a little less taxing on the vocal cords with this ventilator.
Lastly, an arrow adjacent to the molded handle points to which direction air is flowing out. It’s a simple feature that allows you to quickly set up without much guess work.
So if you’re going to pick up an OSHA required ventilation fan to provide air and exhaust toxic vapors during confined space entry, you need to consider the three features we mentioned above. The ECKO K30 is a cost-efficient fan that does it all. For an in-depth look, check out our features video below.
Like what you see, yet still have confined space equipment questions? You’re always welcome to contact our technical product experts. Call us toll-free at 1-800-829-9580 or visit us online at PKSafety.com.
In addition to new requirements for manufacturers of self-retracting lifelines when meeting updated ANSI Z35914 regulations, companies using the SRLs have work to do if they want to stay compliant with the American National Standards Institute’s voluntary consensus standards. In creating this new standard, ANSI is trying to create a culture of SRL and fall protection inspection and certification across industries involved in at height work. It’s now up to end users to inspect and maintain their equipment if they want to stay compliant.
On-site inspection of a company’s SRLs needs to be completed by a competent person. ANSI and OSHA both define a competent person as someone who is capable of identifying existing and predictable dangerous conditions, and who has the authority to take corrective actions. This person is designated by the employer to be responsible for the immediate supervision, implementation, and monitoring of the employer’s managed fall protection program.
If it sounds like a lot of work and responsibility, you’re right. The person in this position has a very serious responsibility to both the company and the workers.
One of the new requirements for the manufacturers is to include some kind of visual signal to show potential users or a competent inspection person when an SRL has been involved in a serious fall. Typically SRLs with wire lifelines will have a red band around a portion of the self-closing snap hook that is revealed in the event of strain from preventing a fall. SRLs with nylon webbing lifelines have tear-away sections that show exposed red stitching after a fall. This is the first step in the SRL inspection.
To perform an SRL inspection, it’s a good idea to wear gloves. Metal barbs on the cable lifelines can be particularly nasty, and sooner or later you’re going to come across one.
After a visual inspection looking for impact tell-tales at the end of the lifeline, it’s time to check the snap hooks are functioning properly. They must close fully and when released. The carabiner on top of the device which connects to the anchor point must also be self-closing and self-locking, and close fully.
Next take a careful look at the housing. Make sure no cracks in the housing are visible, and check for missing or loose screws holding the housing and hardware together.
Labels on the housing must be legible. Model number, serial number, and date of manufacture must all be easily read, as well as the user capacity and other specifications unique to the SRL. Inspection records are also on the retractable’s housing. It’s important that records of these regular inspections are marked down and easy to read during the next inspection.
To make sure everything on the inside of the unit is functioning well, you’ll next need to withdraw the entire length of the cable from the unit. As you pull out the cable, make sure there are no cuts, burrs, or kinks in the line. With webbing lifelines make sure there are no burn holes or cuts along the length. Also look for dirt, grime, or residue that may impede the unit from retracting the lifeline completely. If the lifeline doesn’t retract fully, or if it sticks in certain places, it’s a sign that the internal spring may not be functioning properly.
If any of these tests fail, the unit needs to be removed from service, and sent in for servicing.
Another test your SRL will need to pass is the brake check. Give the lifeline a quick tug and make sure the braking mechanism engages. With cable lifelines remove the rubber bumper and check the connection to the snap hook. Look to make sure the cable crimps are all in place and there is no rust or abrasion where the boot covers.
If you have any questions about ANSI requirements or SRL inspections, please contact us Monday through Friday 6am till 5pm online at www.pksafety.com or give us a call at 1-800-829-9580.
Rehabilitation of underground pipes and subterranean confined spaces through a process known as CIPP or “cured in place piping” is quickly gaining momentum around the world. Water, sewer, gas, and chemical pipelines and other subterranean systems with difficult accessibility can now be cleaned and resealed without digging up the entire system.
CIPP creates a pipe within a pipe and can be used in a system with as little as a 4 in. diameter. Much larger pipes, over 100 inches, can also be serviced using this method. Little or no digging is required in this environmentally friendly operation. The process involves resin-saturated polyester tube liners being inverted or pulled through a compromised or structurally unsound pipe. This liner can be inverted using water or air pressure.
Curing of the resin liner is accomplished using hot water, UV light, or steam and takes from five to 30 hours to cure completely. In the end CIPP forms a tight-fitting, seamless, and corrosion resistant tube within the original pipe.
Of course there is quite a bit of confined space entry safety required for this type of operation. Entrants must be carefully trained using gas monitors as well as entry and retrieval devices. And there are several safety standards associated with CIPP including ASTM F1216 which uses test specimens oriented parallel with the pipe axis, as well as the Europe standard EN ISO 11296-4, which tests samples oriented in the hoop direction.
At the end of the day, this is a smart technology for many applications and helps utilities and municipalities as well as private projects avoid costly dig and replace methods.
If you have questions about CIPP as it relates to confined space entry safety, please give us a ring. If you have experienced any specific challenges installing CIPP yourself, we’d love to hear about it.
Ideal for real-time monitoring of hazardous gases in confined space work, BW Honeywell’s GasAlert Quattro is a four-gas monitor that’s easy to love. It’s not apparent at first, but our five reasons will have you falling head over heels.
Generally speaking, full-size sensors last longer than their smaller counterparts. While the Quattro won’t win prizes for its physical dimensions, it is packed with four sensors for full spectrum gas monitoring. Now think about it for a moment. Multi-gas monitoring of Hydrogen sulfide, Carbon monoxide, Oxygen and combustible gasses in a single unit? Who can say no to that!
One Button Operation
You would think a multi-gas monitor requires a handful of buttons to configure. Not at all with the Quattro. From the very beginning, BW Honeywell envisioned a one-button system that’s simple and fool-proof to operate with or without gloves on. You save both time and money on personnel training. Most of all, you can be confident that should anything occur, your team can react in a timely fashion.
Long Battery Life
The portable Quattro shares many of its features with the BW Max XT II. The major difference being the Quattro does not possess an internal sample motor for pulling remote samples. As a result, the monitor lasts longer between recharges.
The Quattro is made for open air monitoring through diffusion. However, if confined space entry is required, a Confined Space Entry Kit is an option that allows you to remotely draw and test air samples before entering a permit-required confined spaces.
Tough as Nails
Dust and water resistant, the Quattro’s impact-resistant housing makes it suitable for even the most rugged of work environments. We are not suggesting you try, but Quattro gas monitors have a reputation for surviving long drops onto concrete floors without losing sensing capabilities.
Was there anything we overlooked? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’ve got questions about whether the GasAlert Quattro is the right monitor, feel free to call us at 800-829-9580 or visit us at PKSafety.com.
Confined space entry is a complicated business. But buying the tools you need to perform regular, compliant entry of a permit-required confined space (PRCS) doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve been in business longer than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been around, and it’s our business to know exactly what you need to be compliant with their most current regulations.
We’ve put together two confined space entry kits together that fit the unique needs of the two main groups of folks performing these tasks: city and utility workers and contractors. If you work for a water treatment facility, MUD, or site maintenance for light, medium, or heavy industry, chances are you have regular need for confined space entry equipment, and you’d prefer that equipment stays in good working order even with heavy use over the years.
Not to make too sweeping a generalization here, but many of the contractors we talk to aren’t in that type of situation. They often encounter a job where confined space entry will be required, and they need to do it the right way. And when this project is over, they don’t expect (or probably want) to be performing loads of confined space work. The kit we have put together for the contractor’s kit does not cut corners on safety. But it does arrive at compliant package that’s about $1,100 less expensive than our other kit.
The CS Entry Kit is our heavy-weight offering. Not in terms of actual weight: With an aluminum tripod and a blower that’s made of UV-resistant polyethylene, this kit can be lugged from site to site without much effort. It’s a complete Confined Space Entry System that utilities, water works, and wastewater treatment facilities all over the country are using on a regular basis. And that’s the real difference between these two kits: The CS Entry System kit is designed for teams that are performing PRCS entry on a regular basis. The equipment is a bit more robust, and the harness is more comfortable.
The Confined Space Entry Contractor’s Kit on the other hand also meets all OSHA requirements for confined space entry while still being economically priced.
For gas detection, the Entry Kit features the BW Max XT II 4-Gas Monitor. This handheld monitor features a big LED screen that’s easy to read, and it has an internal draw pump that can sample the atmosphere from up to 75 feet away. And while we don’t recommend it, the Max XT II has been thrown across a room, and dropped from significant heights, and it keeps on working.
The less expensive Contractor’s Kit also has a solid 4-gas monitor, the QRAE II. The QRAE II has an easy, two-button user interface, as well as a strong sample draw pump. Is this a durable, reliable monitor for gas detection? Absolutely. Is it the best you can buy? Probably not. No. But it’s a tool that has been used by thousands of our satisfied customers, and can be trusted to keep your team safe. The real question is: Does it provide safety to the levels required by OSHA. And for that, the resounding answer is Yes.
If you have questions about the kits, or you fall somewhere in between the two groups we have identified, give us a call, or contact us online at PkSafety.com Monday – Friday from 7am to 5pm PST. We are happy to answer your questions or help you put together a kit that best suits your needs.
As always, thanks for reading and stay safe.
When making a confined space entry, experienced teams know how important it is to have a reliable topside monitor. It’s a critical part of both pre-entry and an “active-passive” monitoring procedure during entry.
Confined space entry teams that value reliability often turn to RKI Instruments for their high-quality gas monitoring devices. RKI produces the GX-2012 which is an active, pumped 4-gas monitor with sensors to detect Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), combustible gases (LEL), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Oxygen (O2). The strong internal pump of the GX-2012 can pull samples from up to 50 ft. away. This makes it an ideal topside monitor that can be run continually while a team is deployed doing water treatment facility work, work in sewers, silos, or other potentially hazardous locations.
For the confined space entrants, a diffusion monitor is part of any comprehensive safety program. While the topside monitor can confirm the initial entry conditions are acceptable, winding or compartmentalized structures may contain micro-atmospheres that won’t be picked up until the worker comes in contact with the gas.
RKI Industries also makes a top-rated 4-gas diffusion monitor, the GX-2009. The GX-2009 makes an ideal passive component to your “active-passive” gas detection program because it’s so small and so light. Workers aren’t encumbered with a bulky detection device while trying to complete their tasks. And like the GX-2012, it’s a monitor that will lower the overall cost of ownership because of its reliability and durability over time.
If it’s time to make an investment in confined space gas detection equipment, check out out the GX-2012 at PkSafety.com or contact us online to answer any additional questions. If you are interested in the GX-2009 4-gas diffusion monitor, take a look at our GX-2009 video.
When the oxygen content drops below 17%, but work has to go on, count on the PAS Lite SCBA system from Draeger. The PAS Lite is designed not just for breathing in dangerous atmospheres, but also for working in them. The components of the PAS Lite system work seamlessly together for comfort and extreme protection in some of the world’s most dangerous work or rescue environments.
The PAS Lite SCBA systems is comprised of a Draeger Panorama Nova P mask, a lung demand valve and hose, a 30-minute aluminum pressurized air tank, and a lightweight pack frame and fasteners. The system comes with a high-impact plastic storage case that is hi-viz orange so it’s easy to pick out in the event of an emergency.
The Nova P mask is made of EPDM rubber which is a synthetic elastomer with outstanding flexibility and comfort. The double-sealed design creates a tight, but malleable fit for a wide range of head and face shapes. The lung demand valve attaches easily to the front of the mask and immediately supplies air from the positive pressure air cylinder.
The entire system is supported by a carbon space frame and attached to the worker with non-metallic buckles. The carbon frame helps keep the overall weight of the system down to a very manageable 15 lbs. Like a hiking backpack, the PAS Lite system has shoulder straps, but most of the weight is carried at the hips with the wide, comfortable belt that snaps in the middle for easy donning and doffing.
Both the air supply hose and gauge hose are closely attached to the backpack frame to reduce the chance of getting them caught or tangled while working. These hoses can be switched to suit the individual worker’s preference. Another advantage is the hoses, if they become damaged, can be switched out without replacing more costly SCBA parts.
SCBA systems are used for confined space rescue, as an escape system for workers trapped in areas with serious IDLH atmospheres, and for required work in areas with less than optimal atmosphere. Draeger is a recognized worldwide authority on SCBA and gas detection technologies. For more information about SCBA, confined space entry safety equipment, or gas detection, please visit us online at www.PkSafety.com, or call us at 800-829-9580.
Setting up a tripod can be a pain in the neck so it’s gratifying to use a product like the Miller 7 ft. aluminum confined space entry tripod. Properly machined and easy to click into place, each leg is independently adjustable so the system can be constructed on an uneven surface.
Confined space entry is tricky enough with all the gear and the lifelines and the harness pinching you in places that you really don’t want to be pinched. So it’s helpful to have equipment that works like it’s supposed to. Once you’ve extended the legs, make sure to hook up the chain. Too many hotshots skip this step or leave it loose or coiled out of the way.
The safety chain runs through each tripod foot and is essential in creating a system with sufficient vertical strength to withstand a sudden fall and jerk on the system. With the chain in place and properly deployed the Miller tripod can withstand an incredible vertical pull – up to 5,000 pounds minimum. Without the chain, I wouldn’t like to know what it could handle. I’m not getting any thinner.
Each foot of the 7 ft. Miller Tripod has a rubber skid pad so the whole system doesn’t slip and slide if placed on a slick surface. Sometimes your confined space will have a perfectly acceptable level concrete or asphalt slab around the entry point. Sometimes you just don’t have that luxury. The Miller tripod is going to give you sufficient adjustment options to get your entry system set up for the majority of mostly-level ground entry points.
Because it’s made of aluminum, it’s not a giant cumbersome back ache waiting to happen. Total weight for the Miller tripod is only 42 lbs. It’s light enough that you can put it up on your shoulder and carry it across the job site if you need to. Hopefully you’ve got a couple other guys to carry the SRL and your ventilation blower. Actually, if you have the chance, pick the blower to carry. It only weighs 38 lbs. and it’s better to be smart than strong sometimes.
If you have questions about the Miller Tripod or confined space entry system accessories please feel encouraged to contact us through live chat online at PkSafety.com or call us at 1-800-829-9580 Monday through Friday 7 am till 5pm PST.
Paddle-gate! The great ping pong doping scandal of the 2012 Olympics. How did we miss this when it happened? The one opportunity for levity in our confined space world? How often does Olympic Ping Pong collide with sophisticated RAE Systems gas detection devices? Not often enough, in our view.
Since the 1970s serious ping pong players have apparently been souping up their paddles to increase performance. Early spin doctors found they could gain more control and even add speed by smearing bike tire repair glue and other substances on the rubber that covers the blades of their rackets. Up until 2008 this so-called speed glue was allowed in international competition. However new rules in 2012 banned it from Olympic play.
To catch paddle dopers, London Olympic officials used a MiniRAE Lite PID Monitor from RAE Systems to detect the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released by modified racquets. Perhaps regulators chose the MiniRAE because it can display results from the testing in English, Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian, and Arabic.
The device is made to detect gases released from organic compounds, though it seems unlikely RAE Systems had this use in mind while developing this line of gas monitors. More often photoionization detectors (PIDs) are used for environmental monitoring on landfill sites, in petrochemical production, and for measuring spillage dangers and effects.
Paddle speed glue detection is serious business for those who play clean and have been practicing their table tennis moves 14 hours a day since being edged out of the medal rounds in 2008. A fair playing field (or table) free of VOCs isn’t too much to ask. Kills, drops, and chops, for those who have practiced long enough to be in the Olympics, must be done with skill, not glue.
Just because you aren’t entering a drainage system, silo, septic tank, or some other confined space every day, or even every week, doesn’t mean you can avoid getting the equipment necessary to make you OSHA compliant. But it does mean that you will be perfectly satisfied with a basic confined space entry system.
For folks working in city waste water treatment facilities or manufacturing which requires regular maintenance and inspection of confined spaces, it makes sense to have the most durable, heavy-duty confined space equipment possible. But those descriptions don’t cover the vast majority of contractors who may occasionally be required to do work in a space where atmospheric hazards may be present, or may develop while working.
OSHA requires certain basic equipment for entry and egress of confined space. You need to be able to test the air of the space you are planning on entering before you actually go there. Of course this is a good idea, especially since most of the atmospheric hazards such as lack of oxygen, or high levels of hydrogen sulfide or methane aren’t something you’ll be able to see. Since you can’t drop a canary down into your coal mine, or sewer (well, you can, but it’s not an OSHA-recognized gas detecting device), you’re going to have to get a 4-gas monitor. To test the air before you enter, plan on getting one with an internal pump (not a diffusion monitor) that will be able to pull a sample from the space and give you a reading.
Next you will need to have a way to ventilate your space. Holding your breath isn’t an option. The most common method includes positive-pressure ventilation, or pushing air into a space so that old, stagnant, or dangerous air is pushed out and replaced with fresh clean air from outside the space. But you are going to need a blower or industrial fan that is capable of replacing the air several times over in order to create a safe space to work.
OSHA requires that confined space entrants have a method in place for outside attendants – someone who does not enter the potentially dangerous space – to pull a disabled or unconscious worker out. This generally means a tripod or overhead attachment point must be in place with a pulley and winch system attached to the worker with a cable to their full-body harness. This does not mean tying a rope around your waist and climbing on down with Jim hanging onto the other end. I don’t care how strong Jim is, he’s not going to pull you up and out without seriously hurting you or him, or both.
We put together our basic contractor’s confined space kit precisely because it’s often difficult to know which pieces of equipment actually comply with the OSHA regulations. The equipment in this kit is reliable and rugged enough to trust your life to. And it won’t kill your bank account.
If you have questions about this kit, confined space entry, OSHA regulations, or you just want to talk safety, feel free to give us a ring, or chat with us online at PkSafety.com.
Thanks for reading.
Have you ever been looking for your glasses and then realized they were on top of your head? The great thing about the Petzl VIZIR face shield is that is the first place you are going to look for them. The cleverly named VIZIR visor mounts to the top of a VERTEX VENT or ALVEO helmet creating convertible eye protection. Down when you need it, up when you don’t. But your eye protection is always available as long as your helmet is on your head.
The VIZIR has several advantages over regular safety glasses. First of all, the VIZIR shield has a lip that settles down on the front of your helmet and creates a barrier to falling debris. The VIZIR doesn’t just protect your eyes, but guards the whole upper part of your face from particles and unplanned head-butts.
The clear plastic shield is treated to be both fog- and scratch-resistant. And let’s face it, the VIZIR looks cool. It also comes with a 3-year factory warranty, which is great.
We think the VIZIR is a smart addition to the confined space head protection offered by Petzl. The VERTEX helmets are made to accommodate accessories such as eye and ear protection. The VIZIR is at the top of the list for our recommendations. Built-in ear protection for the helmet may be required, or at least a smart idea, on some sites. Petzl products are thoughtfully designed to fit well and last.
If you care about your tools, you take care of them. And nothing in your tool bag is as important as your eyes. Keep them safe with a durable face shield like the Petzl VIZIR.
If you have questions about the Petzl VIZIR or the additional ear protection we’ve mentioned, please contact PkSafety.com customer service.
Thanks for reading.
Gas produced and put into bottles for bump testing and calibrating gas monitors has a finite shelf life, and paying attention to that expiration date might save your life. Using expired gas can lead to incorrect calibration of your gas monitor.
Gas concentrations have been known to drop over time. Reactive gases such as hydrogen sulfide react with the material of the cylinder container, and tests have shown some levels to slip from 20 parts per million (ppm) to 6 ppm over a 12-month period. Since calibration gas can change so rapidly, it’s important to buy only from a reputable source. Saving money on gas is simply not worth the danger posed to workers who rely on correct readings for their safety. Remember, you only need one accident to make that $100 gas savings seems like the worst decision you ever made.
Because cal gas is regulated as a hazardous material when it is shipped, it will take longer and probably cost a bit more than most packages. Be sure to order a few weeks or even a month early if you see your gas supply is about to expire.
If a workspace contains hazardous permit-required spaces, OSHA mandates the employer must inform exposed employees of their existence, location, and the hazards they pose. This can be done by posting unambiguous warning signs such as “DANGER-CONFINED SPACE- AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.”
And while signs like that are pretty clear, there will still be folks who assume it doesn’t apply to them. So OSHA also requires physical barriers such as locks, chains, and other impediments to entry. Signs aren’t going to stop everyone from entering, but they are one step in an overall plan for keeping workers safe.
One problem with confined space signs is that they can degrade over time. They might corrode even in fairly benign atmospheres, or the paint or printing may fade. Just because you put signs up in 1975 doesn’t mean they are still readable today. As a facility grows, or safety programs change, additional signs will likely be required. The signs we offer at Confined Space are made from a variety of materials – vinyl stickers, aluminum, plastic, magnetic.
The type of confined space you are attempting to define and warn workers and others about will determine the best type of sign for you. Is it metal? Would a magnetic sign work for this space? You don’t want to have a sign easily removed if the danger is permanent. Will vinyl sticker signs suffice? They are the least expensive, but also have a greater propensity to peel and crack over the years, especially if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Aluminum safety signs deliver enduring characteristics such as corrosion resistance, and may be best for a long-term solution.
In addition to the signs that go next to confined space entry points, any Permit-Required Confined Space (PRCS) that requires regularly scheduled entry should also have a confined space permit holder board. This is simply a handy place to put your permits so everyone in the area can see the scope of the work to be completed, as well as the time required, and who is in charge of the work.
The important thing to remember as far as confined space entry signs are concerned is to keep them as up-to-date as your confined space entry program. If new spaces are determined to be PRCS, if the site expands, or if new equipment is installed, or the facility changes, your site safety plan needs to change too. Your signage requirements grow as your business grows in most cases. In fact, any time new equipment is purchased, it’s a great time to review your safety program as a whole, and your confined space entry procedures in particular.
Help keep your workers safe by taking a look at your confined space entry signs, and make sure they are legible, and posted everywhere they need to be. If you have questions about what you need, or where you need it, please give us a call at 800-829-9580 or contact us online at PkSafety.com. Thanks for reading.
Having a quality 4-gas monitor like the QRAE II is a step in the right direction for confined space safety. However gas monitors require bump testing and regular calibration to maintain peak performance. Since your gas monitor might save your life one day, peak performance seems like a very practical bar to set.
To get the most from your QRAE II, RAE Systems created an Accessories and Calibration Kit (CKS2). The CKS2 provides tools that extend the capabilities of the monitor as well as providing the components for calibration and bump testing. All of the tools come in a hard carrying case with foam cutouts for the monitor and other tools.
For those doing confined space entry, the expanded capabilities gained by the CKS2 kit can be invaluable. If your QRAE II gas detector is a diffusion-only monitor, the kit includes a squeeze bulb hand pump. By attaching the hand pump and Tygon tubing to the monitor, air can be pulled from the confined space to your monitor and give you a reading before employees enter the area. If the space you are entering is wet, the kit also includes three water trap filters that will prevent water from being sucked into your detector and spoiling the results (and maybe your detector). These filters come in handy if you are doing work in tanks or sewers where it’s often soggy but all strata must be tested for gas levels.
Calibration of the QRAE II monitor is relatively easy once you have the proper tools. Check the video below for step by step instructions. The CSK2 Calibration Kit help simplify calibration by keeping everything you need it one place. It comes with a 4-gas canister of calibration gas and the required demand flow regulator.
The Confined Space Entry Kit for the QRAE II allows a diffusion monitor able to pump air, it provides tools for proper calibration and bump testing, and it keeps the sensors free from water. It makes the QRAE II a more powerful device, and provides all the necessary tools for proper calibration. All of this while keeping the QRAE II and kit organized in a handy carrying case that is easy to find when it’s time to test or service your monitor.
Looking for a great confined space fan that won’t break the bank? The Ecko K30 ventilation fan is the newest ventilator from the experts at Euramco. This 12 in. blower/exhauster and has a .62 horsepower motor and is part of Euramco’s economy line of blower. The features of this fan are similar to much more expensive models.
The K30 is capable of moving over 2400 cubic feet of air per minute. That’s a whole lot of air. It has a precision-balanced 11-blade, polypropylene impeller. The balanced blade makes the unit highly efficient and keeps the air moving amazingly well. The grill is powder-coated.
The bottom-mounted on/off switch has a water-resistant cover and, like the rest of the unit, is pretty rugged. Unlike the Ecko 1210 which this fan is replacing, the K30 has a polyethylene shell that won’t dent, and makes the unit lighter – only 37 lbs. An easy-grip handle is molded into the unit so you don’t end up with the shaky, rattling handle that plagued other fans.
When you turn the fan on, it does create some noise. But maybe not as much as you’d expect. That air direction is clearly marked by the large arrow on the top of the unit. You’ll also be able to tell by turning it on. It’s pretty hard to mistake.
If you want to push air into a space, turn your fan’s arrow in that direction. I know this is a little simplistic, but you’d be surprised. Ducting attaches easily to the either end of the unit so you can pull or push air, depending on your need.
For more information about the Ecko K30, call us at 1-800-829-9580 or contact us online at www.pksafety.com.
Thanks for reading.
SCBA, or self-contained breathing apparatus, is critical for areas where the atmosphere just isn’t fit to breath. Confined space workers and firefighters both utilize this equipment. But what happens when that equipment fails? If you are like a DeKalb Georgia firefighter in the news lately, you jump out of a second-story window.
Firefighters say the problem with the Draeger equipment has been ongoing and the most recent malfunction is part of an ongoing problem. Draeger, on the other hand, and perhaps not surprisingly, says the problem is with the DeKalb County fire department and their maintenance of the SCBA equipment. They even produced a video saying it wasn’t their fault.
NIOSH recently released the results of their tests of the equipment and agreed with Draeger that lack of preventive maintenance was to blame in the event in Georgia.
So what are keys to keeping your SCBA equipment functioning properly? In this case, the facepieces and regulators submitted to NIOSH testing both failed the pressure tests because of dirt on the exhalation valves.
SCBA gear is often subjected to really dirty environments. Dirt, grime, soot, sludge, all have to be cleaned from the mask, hoses, and tanks on a regular basis. Check you manual, but most manufacturers recommend you first remove the filters, cartridges and tanks, then take the respirator mask apart by removing diaphragms and air hoses. Remember to inspect as you go and replace any broken or defective parts.
All the parts should be washed in warm water with a mild soap or detergent. Any dirt or contaminants that may have collected on the respirator gear needs to be scrubbed or otherwise washed away. Once everything has been washed, rinse the equipment with clean water.
Another option is ultrasonic cleaning where pieces of the SCBA system are submerged in a special tank where ultrasonic frequencies create bubbles that can get into even the smallest crevices and seams to remove all dirt or carbon residue. Once the ultrasonic has run its course, dry the equipment using an air dryer or a lint-free towel.
If you have any questions about SCBA equipment, maintenance, or any other aspects confined space safety, please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online at PkSafety.com.
We wanted to take a few minutes to talk about our Confined Space Entry Contractor’s Kit. This is perfect for folks doing occasional confined space work who don’t want to make a big investment in equipment. The Kit meets all relevant OSHA standards but won’t break the bank.
It comes with a QRAE2 four-gas monitor. It’s one of our best sellers for confined space entry. The QRAE2 has an internal pump and a hose attachment that allows you to pull air samples from the space you’re about to enter. It’s is simple to operate – only 2 buttons – and it’s highly resistant to water and dirt.
The Harness, Winch, Tripod and Pulley in this kit are all from Protecta. They are designed to work together if there is an accident. This system allows an outside attendant to pull an unconscious or injured worker out of a confined space without having to enter themselves.
The Full-Body Protecta AB17530 Harness offers 5 points of adjustment and should fit folks in the medium to extra-large size range. It has a single dorsal D-ring where the winch cable attaches.
The tripod in this kit is a Protecta AK105A. It’s made of aluminum. It’s light enough for one person to carry and set up. The legs are retractable and marked so it’s easy to set up right the first time. This tripod meets or exceeds the 5000 lbs. required OSHA load capability.
The Protecta AK205AG winch that comes with the Contractor’s Confined Space Entry Kit attaches to the tripod leg and works well for occasional confined space entry jobs. If you are doing this stuff every day, there are winches that may provide easier movement through the site. But for the one-time or periodic confined space entrant, this is going to work great and meet all safety standards.
It comes with 50 ft. of cable and, like the other components, meets all the OSHA standards for entry. The cable from the winch goes through another component that folks often forget – the snatch block pulley – which hangs from the tripod.
All of these products are made to work together and the set-up is very simple.
The final piece of this Confined Space Contractor’s Kit is the Allegro 8-inch blower. This lightweight, durable blower has a corrosion- and UV-resistant polyethylene housing. It is designed to flush your work area with clean air and comes with 25 feet of ducting. The ducting can be put away for storage in a convenient case with built-in handles.
This is a great kit for contractors and other folks needing to perform occasional confined space entry. Assembly is a snap, and you can be sure all the components are going to work together just right. The Kit provides both compliance with the OSHA standards and real safety for your workers.
If your work requires more frequent confined space entry, you should consider our upgraded kit –the Confined Space Entry System – which features a more robust equipment list.
If you have questions regarding your specific confined space entry, please call 800-829-9580 or contact us on the web at PkSafety.com.
Thanks for reading!
For effective communication, a message must be sent, received and understood. Sounds simple enough, but when working in a confined space with noise, machinery, and respiratory protective equipment in place, communication can be a challenge.
Confined spaces can also create an echo that interferes with clear communication. If there is an emergency situation, you can add anxiety and labored breath to the equation. All this highlights the need for a clear and reliable confined space communication system.
Radios are often a popular way for teams to talk back and forth. But radios are significantly limited in a confined space by signal strength, interference from nearby electrical equipment, and other issues like battery strength. The solution? The Con-Space Hardline communication system.
Our basic Con-Space Communications Kit provides clear communication between an outside attendant and a confined space entrant. And it works 100% of the time. It includes a throat mic, headset, and alarm button for the entrant. The throat mic is the best on the market. It straps around the throat (obviously) and provides clear communication even in high noise environments or when the speaker is wearing a respirator mask.
The headsets are connected with thermal plastic cable that is just as tough as the rest of the system. Military-grade connector with gold-plated contacts and o-rings attach the different pieces of the system. These connectors are ready for anything, and will continue working even if the components are dragged through the mud or get wet.
Up top, the attendant’s headset attaches to the CSI-1100 Mini Module, which is the power supply for the unit. It’s intrinsically safe and with just four AA batteries the system will last up to 200 continuous hours.
Don’t trust the lives of your confined space team to tugs on a rope or hand signals. Get a Con-Space communication system and make sure you get your message across.
If you’d like to discuss options for customizing the Con-Space Hardline System beyond the basic kit, please contact PK Safety’s Customer Service Department at 1-800-829-9580. We’ll be happy to assist in matching the Con-Space Hardline System to your specific needs.
The sensors in your gas monitor work in different ways to keep you safe. Some wear out relatively quickly, while others could conceivably last forever. Here is a very quick overview to help you understand basic gas sensor technology. We hope this information will allow you to see the benefits of regular maintenance, bump testing and calibration.
The most common sensors used in confined space work are Oxygen, % LEL (Lower Explosive Level), Carbon Monoxide, and Hydrogen Sulfide. However all sensors are not created equal. The methods used to detect the levels of these important gases are very different, and the sensor life and durability vary.
For instance, sensors for Oxygen (O2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) are generally electrochemical-type sensors. A measurable electric current is produced when a chemical reaction takes place inside the sensor. The measure is generally displayed for toxics such as CO and H2S in parts per million (ppm) and percentage of volume for O2.
While these are all electrochemical sensors, an Oxygen sensor is a “consumable” sensor, while the toxic sensors (CO and H2S) are generally “non-consumptive”. For an Oxygen sensor to work, it needs to convert lead into lead oxide and measures the chemical reaction. Even if the monitor is turned off, as long as oxygen is in the air, the lead is being converted and the life of the sensor is decreasing. Some folks remove their sensors and put them in air-tight containers, but since you have to warm up the sensor for anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours each time you plug it back in, the sensor savings can be negligible.
Toxic sensors are non-consumptive, meaning they don’t need to convert an element to create the reading. Generally these sensors have various electrodes and a small reservoir of some type of acid electrolyte. A measurable current is created as gas is encountered by the sensor, but neither the electrodes or the acid are depleted, so in theory, they could last forever. In the real world, however, they are damaged by contamination or leakage and that reduces the actual life to something like two to four years. Also, remember the little pools of acid? If these sensors are damaged, waiting to replace these sensors can sometimes create even more costly repairs to the monitor.
Finally we’ll talk about Lower Explosive Level (% LEL) sensors. These are solid-state catalytic sensors. Stick with us if your eyes are starting to roll up in your head from the excessive tech talk. They derive readings from two ceramic rings that go around a coiled wire. Each ring has a catalyst system that makes one ring active while the other is completely inert. When the monitor is on, the active ring burns any combustible gas it encounters, while the inert ring does what inert things do – namely nothing. The imbalance in the sensor circuit is measurable and can be displayed by the monitor (typically, but not always) as a % LEL.
LEL sensors, like the toxic sensors, can realistically last for quite a while and have been known to last for over four years. However, they are the most sensitive sensors in a four-gas monitor, and can break if the monitor is dropped. Highly fuel-rich but oxygen-deficient atmospheres can also lead to LEL sensor failure due to build-up of tar and unburned fuel on the activated ring.
All of this is just to remind you – sensors don’t last forever. Regular bump testing and calibration is the only way to assure the gas monitors on your job sites are performing and keeping workers safe as they are designed.
Thanks for reading.
Confined spaces are far from the cleanest places around. Sometimes they are soggy as well. If your work requires you to be be in a space where the water cannot be turned off – a storm drain or other water system for instance – a dewatering or sludge pump may be the answer.
Confined spaces require small pumps that are portable and can move major amounts of water. Allegro Industries makes top quality pumps specifically for clearing work spaces and they can continue running for long periods of time.
Since our confined spaces often also have debris in the water, a sludge pump that suspends the solids and can keep pumping without getting clogged is a big help.
The Allegro Sludge Pump weighs about 25 lbs. Not something you want to drag around all over town, but certainly light enough to get into almost any confined space for water clearing.
Along with their portable size, Allegro Pumps offer quick, high-volume discharging. Even if the water level is quite low, the pumps will continue to move water and are designed resist overheating. And if the water level isn’t so low, the Allegro pumps are submersible up to 39 feet.
Wristlets are deployed when there is no other way to get a rescuer or victim out of a confined space. Most often this is because the entry is too narrow or restricted to allow retrieval with a regular harness and a D-ring attachment.
Wristlets must be used carefully because they can put so much strain on a persons joints and muscles. This can be painful and may cause injury, but in an emergency they can be an excellent rescue tool.
Wrist straps are also used for horizontal extraction. In some cases rescuers may be required to crawl into a very narrow pipe that would make their getting out difficult. These wristlets from DBI-SALA have sliding straps that are big enough to go over feet and shoes as well as wrists. With a line attached to wristlets on the rescuers’ ankles, they can be dragged back out once their work is completed.
Confined space entry requires a method of extraction for the entrant if they become incapacitated. Often this requirement is met by erecting a tripod over the entry point.
At ConfinedSpace.com we offer two types of tripods, and people generally choose one or the other depending on how often they will be using them.
The less expensive model is the AK105A 8 ft. tripod. It’s great for occasional use, and is lightweight and easy to assemble.
One drawback is that the Protecta AK205AG winch which is made to go with this tripod mounts onto the side of one leg of the tripod and uses the same detent pin that lengthen and shorten the legs. This set-up makes it inconvenient to adjust the legs once the tripod has been set up.
Again, for occasional use, this is something you can deal with. The AK105AG sets up without tools, and is less expensive than the other comparable tripod, the DBI-SALA 8300030.
The 8300030 is heavier than the AK105AG, and is a sturdier piece of equipment. This tripod also requires no tools for set-up, but the winch mounts to a plate on the tripod leg and remains adjustable. It’s simply a better solution for mounting, and if you are going to be using the tripod on a regular basis, this is the one you’ll want.
Both tripods from PkSafety.com are available in kits that have the pulley system and winch included. The 8300030 has a pulley built into the head of the tripod, and a winch that features a break release system for easier descent, and an automatic break.
The AK105AG is included in the Protecta Confined Space Tripod Kit with a snatch block that attaches easily.
Both systems also have specific winches that fit the unit. The less expensive model has a winch that looks quite a bit like the simple crank you might have to pull a boat onto a trailer. When your confined space entrant goes into the space, the person up top needs to unwind the cable from the drum with the crank handle.
The 8300030 tripod kit comes with a Salalift II 8102001 winch that has a braking system and easy release button that lets the entrant descend without the top-side attendant having to crank the handle. Again, this is the kind of system you want if you are going to be using it for confined space entry on a regular basis.
One final note about tripod systems: Use the chain. Each of these tripods come with a chain that attaches to each leg and keeps them from spreading apart in the event of a big fall. If you consider the geometry of the design, the tripod with the chain deployed is incredibly strong, and they really can take 5,000 lbs of weight described in the OSHA standards. But many people just don’t use the chain because it can be a trip hazard and isn’t always easy to deploy. Do yourself a favor, if you deploy the tripod, make sure to put the chain on the legs.
If you have other tripod or confined space entry questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-829-9580. Thanks for reading.
Some confined spaces just aren’t fit to breath in. Respiratory protection, whether for work in a space with Immediate Danger to Life and Health (IDLH) or in a rescue operation where air filtering or purifying respirators are not an option, has two critical requirements: First, it must provide a clean air supply. Secondly, it cannot interfere with safe entry and exit from the space. The two types of breathing devices that fit these requirements are a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) or a supplied air respirator (SAR). Both SCBA and SAR have inherent limitations to their designs that are important to take into account when figuring out the right protection for your team.
SAR systems require the entrant to carry an escape bottle of air in the event of a failure of the airline or the external air supply. These bottles typically last for 5 or 10 minutes, and sometimes much less if the person is breathing hard. Additionally, there are limitations on how long an air hose can be, and the pressure must be regulated to make sure the user is receiving a proper air flow.
The good thing about SAR systems is that they have an almost unlimited supply of air once the worker is safely at the work site.
SCBA systems, on the other hand, have very finite supplies of air. Typically they come in 30-, 45-, or 60-minute tanks and just like the emergency tank on the SAR, they can be drained quickly if the user is exerting themselves physically or under stress. SCBA systems are also fairly bulky and can inhibit entry into confined spaces with narrow openings.
Whichever system your team chooses, make sure they know everything that can go wrong. IDLH and emergencies are the worst times to find out new limitations of your equipment.
If you have any questions about SCBA or SAR systems, please give our folks in customer service a call at 800-829-9580.
Just as heat in confined spaces can cause added danger to entrants, so too can cold temperatures. Here are a list of procedures to follow to avoid cold-related injury while working in a confined space:
Protecting your hands is critical when performing confined space work. But what is the best way to keep them from harm? Is there a possibility of contamination or chemical exposure as well as sharp edges? Do your gloves allow you to perform rope access work?
Unfortunately, there is no one type of glove that covers every situation. You will need to understand what hazards your confined space offers before you can know how best to protect your hands. We’ve put together a few guidelines to help you choose the best gloves for your confined space entry.
If you are performing rope entry work, you need to have gloves that will protect against rope burn as well as provide a good grip. Petzl is a company that is on the forefront of rope access work. Their CORDEX Belay and Repelling gloves have reinforced palms and provide excellent dexterity.
Firefighting gloves are made to NFPA standards and are excellent at keeping out heat and water. They are also resistant to cuts and tears. However, they are bulky and not great for confined space work because they make it difficult to work gas monitors and machinery.
Contamination is another issue to be addressed when choosing the right gloves. Latex, nitrile, or vinyl gloves are designed to prevent transmission of disease and can be helpful in sewers and or when treating injured workers. They are limited because they tear and rip easily.
Confined space workers that are expected to come in contact with chemicals have another set of problems. Neoprene gloves like the MCR Safety gloves (sold here by the pair) offer good resistance to most solvents, but they are not particularly great for cut resistance. HazMat gloves like the B131R Butyl Gloves from North offer extremely good protection to toxic chemicals and cut resistance due to their 13 mil. thickness. But they are much more expensive.
Sometimes the best solution is a combination of gloves. For non-chemical environments, leather work gloves provide good grip and cut resistance, and when combined with nitrile or other gloves underneath can provide protection against contamination as well.
A final note: Remember that latex, nitrile or other gloves that become contaminated must be properly discarded. Any gloves that are worn over them must also be properly decontaminated or discarded as well.
Each type of glove has a purpose and limitations. Knowing what specific hazards you will be encountering during your confined space entry will guide you in choosing the correct hand protection. If you have questions, we have folks who know a ridiculous amount about just which gloves are best for your situation. Please don’t hesitate to call us.
Hydration is often a forgotten element of safety in a confined space. With so many potential hazards during confined space entry, loss of water because of sweating isn’t high on the list for many workers. However, hydration is just as important as many of the other safety considerations of a confined space project.
Fluids lost in a hot environment, or because entrants are wearing protective, and non-breathable clothing, must be replaced to help prevent heat-related injuries.
To prevent heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke have each team member drink water or sport drinks to replace electrolytes both before and after entry. Remember to start hydrating early since it can take up to 20 minutes before the liquid is available for the body to use.
After exiting the confined space, the entry team as well as others working in the same conditions, should hydrate even if they don’t feel thirsty. Thirst is not always a reliable dehydration indicator. If team members wait until they feel thirsty they may already be well on their way to heat related problems.