Descent

  1. Confined Space 101

    It’s no secret that working at-height, industry, and construction is dangerous. But confined spaces bring a whole slew of additional dangers. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down confined space and talk about some of the important things to keep in mind/remember when working in confined space.

    What is a Confined Space


     

    A confined space is an area that has an opening large enough for a worker to access and enter to perform work. The area has a limited or restricted means of entry or exit and is not designed for continuous human occupancy. Because of the restricted means of entry and exit confined spaces are considered one of the most dangerous job sites. Some examples of confined spaces include underground vaults, sewers, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, and silos.

    Confined Space Work


     

    It is important to know if your job site, plant, or shop requires confined space entry. If it does, you will need to ensure that you are following the appropriate safety precautions. Safety precautions include equipment that has been designed specifically for confined space applications (like a confined space kit). It’s also important to understand and be prepared for hazards that are common to confined space work.

    Hazards common to confined space work include unsafe air, toxic contaminants, electrical hazards, mechanical hazards like augers, and leading-edge fall hazards. While these are some of the common hazards, each confined space is unique and may feature some, all, or additional hazards that we haven’t listed in this post. Confined spaces should, under no circumstances, be entered unless you are trained and authorized and proper safety precautions have been taken.

    Safety First


     

    When it comes to confined space, the safety first mindset is extremely important. Untrained and unauthorized employees should never enter a confined space and a competent person should determine if the confined space is safe for entry before employees enter. Stay alert of changing conditions, know how to contact emergency services, and always have an emergency rescue plan in place.

    A safety first focus for confined space doesn’t have to be limited to inside the space itself. It’s also important to make sure to lockout and tag any mechanical equipment that could activate or energize while the confined space is occupied. You should also have the appropriate barriers and signs outside of the confined space to alert and prevent other people from entering or falling into the confined space.

    Equipment


     

    As we mentioned above, confined spaces vary in size, shape, location, and environment. That means that there isn’t a standard or typical application, so your confined space safety equipment must be flexible as well. Consistent anchorage is rarely found from one job to the next. Some confined spaces like a manhole on a street will require vertical equipment, but others like a tank would have a side-entry or horizontal requirement.

    Choosing the right confined space entry and rescue equipment can be difficult. Temporary jobs require lightweight and easy-to-use portable confined space systems. For areas that are accessed frequently a davit system with a permanently mounted base would be more ideal.

    Lifeline type and length are other variables to consider. In some situations, a back-up system may be required. Typical mechanical devices include man-rated winches and 3-way retracting lifelines with both fall protection and emergency rescue functions.

    If you’ve got questions about confined space solutions, click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any equipment is used.

    Click here to see our selection of confined space solutions

    Gas Detection 101: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts: The Podcast


     

    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® is available via your podcast listening platform of choice and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show and sign up for alerts, head on over to gearexperts.com.

    Get Social


     

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  2. ANSI Standard for Descent Devices

    Few devices in your gear bag are as versatile as your descender. Whether you need to descend quickly, slowly over time, or perform a rescue, this device can do it all and keep you safe in the process. This week our Gear Experts® are going to break down the ANSI Standards for descent devices.

    ANSI Z359.4-2013


     

    ANSI Z359.4-2013 outlines the safety requirements for assisted-rescue and self-rescue systems, subsystems and components. I know what you’re thinking: that title doesn’t say anything about descent devices. But, in the scope of the standard, it does mention descent control devices. An important clarification for you to know is that this standard is for rescue, not work positioning. We will cover more about that later.

    Section 3.2.7: Descent Devices


     

    The ANSI Z359.4-2013 standard is further broken down by sections. Section 3.2.7 specifically covers descent devices and is broken down into additional subsections for additional clarification.

    Section 3.2.7.1

    Section 3.2.7.1 covers descent energy and capacity for both single-use and multiple use devices.

    Section 3.2.7.2

    This section looks at descent speed – setting requirements for the maximum distance that you can lower yourself. For devices like the Petzl I’D Small Self-Braking Rope Descender or WestFall Pro D4 Descender for 7/16” Rope the maximum descent speed is 6.6 feet per second.

    Section 3.2.7.3

    This section covers static strength. Static strength is defined as a singular force being put on the device. Think of this a constant rate of force – similar to holding and maintaining a load.

    Section 3.2.7.4

    Section 3.2.7.4 covers dynamic strength. Dynamic strength is defined as a peak force being put on the device. Think of this as a sudden shock of force – similar to the force that is exerted in the event of a fall.

    Section 3.2.7.5

    This final section covers the general function of the device. This is where features like anti-panic come into play. If excessive force is applied or if you let go of the device completely, the device should halt the descent within 6 inches.

    Work Positioning


     

    Earlier we mentioned that the ANSI Z359.4-2013 standard is for rescue and not work positioning. In fact, at the time of this writing, there is no ANSI Standard that covers the use of descent devices for work positioning. This doesn’t make them unsafe or mean they are not suitable for work positioning. It just means that no official standard has been released for specifications and requirements. Devices like the Petzl I’D or WestFall Pro D4 are great devices for descending down to work in suspension in a range of situations like on a tower, painting, or cleaning windows. Of course, you still need to have proper fall arrest in place like a rope grab on a backup lifeline or an SRL.

    **The content of this blog is not intended to replace proper, in-depth training. Manufacturer’s instructions must also be followed and reviewed before any fall protection equipment is used.

    Not sure which descender is right for you or have questions about the ANSI Z359.4-2013 Standard? Click here to contact one of our Gear Experts®.

    Click here to see the Petzl I’D Small Self-Braking Rope Descender

    Click here to see the WestFall Pro D4 Descender

    Click here to see our full selection of Descenders

    ANSI Standard for Descent Devices: The Video


     

    Gear Up with Gear Experts®: The Podcast


    We're also proud to announce Gear Up with Gear Experts® - A podcast dedicated
    to at-height, industry, and construction. Gear Up with Gear Experts® will be coming to your ears in early 2019 and in each episode, the hosts (Alex Giddings & John Medina) bring in a gear expert or industry leader to talk about gear, gear safety, tips, and tricks. To find out more about the show, and sign up to get alerted when our first episode drops, head on over to gearexperts.com. There's a trailer there too, so you can get a sneak peek of the show.

    Get social


     

    Be sure to follow us on social media to keep up with everything GME Supply has going on.

    Facebook | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

    We’re Also on Snapchat


     

    Simply snap or screenshot this image ↓ to follow GME Supply!

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