Johan Viklund and Dag Knutsson, the founders of Nord Access in Umeå, understand the importance of a safe workplace. They perform various services and are specialized in hard-to-reach places, tight spaces and heights. A normal day at work may include disassembly of a radio mast hanging from a helicopter, inspection of a wind turbine or hoisting themselves down into a mine shaft.
For Nord Access, security is paramount. All employees of the company are certified according to SPRAT, an international standard for working with rope access.
– Securing our tools is a foundation in everything we do in addition to securing ourselves. To some extent we do it for economic reasons, that is, not to waste time or damage material below us. The biggest reason, however, is not to hurt anyone. The consequences of a dropped objects can be huge since we sometimes work at heights up to 300 meters, says Johan Viklund.
– Planning the work before it starts is a prerequisite for high safety and productivity. To bring nothing but the safety equipment, tools and other parts that are really needed for the task makes the work smoother, easier and faster. Before the work begins, we also fence off the area below. Despite this there is always a risk that a dropped object can bounce and fall outside the barrier. There have been cases in the construction industry where bouncing objects have resulted in deaths outside a fenced-off area. This is another reason to always secure tools, and you can’t be careful enough!”, says Johan Viklund.
Johan continues by saying that there are also many cases where the consequences of dropped tools become large even at lower heights. Within both construction and industry there are several risk areas, such as dropping tools into a running machine, in tanks with liquid, or on sensitive surfaces. Hence, they are careful to secure their tools even when working close to the ground.
The tools are secured with lanyards. Nord Access use different lanyards adapted to various tasks. They prefer models that are elastic, have the right length and the right type of carbine hooks. The elasticity is important to absorb the energy of the dropped tool and reduce the jerk that might otherwise occur. It also reduces the risk of the lanyard being worn out prematurely. Important is also that the straps never by accident can detach from the harness or the tool, it must be properly locked in both ends. When it comes to rotary tools like screwdrivers, Nord Access uses swivels to avoid tangle.
– The safety requirements are increasing every year. The Swedish Work Environment Authority regulates the overall requirements to prevent accidents in workplaces. There are also local requirements from customers that reflects their safety policies, and our own requirements within SPRAT and the rope access industry. As awareness increases, so does the requirements. Also, the suppliers of safety equipment have an important role to continuously supply companies with the right products and education to minimize the risk of accidents, concludes Johan Viklund.
Read Luna Tools handbook about tool fall protection >>