Detailed Inspection of Winches

The winch Detailed Inspection interval has been changed by manufacturers.

According to The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998, it is the prerogative of the manufacturer to set the inspection and service interval.

Capital Safety man riding winches and Tuff Built man riding winches must undergo a Detailed Inspection by a competent person every 12 months. A Detailed Inspection may include disassembly of the winch to ensure that all components are sound and functional.

This means that your winch should be returned to Abtech Safety Ltd every 12 months instead of the previous interval of 6 months, unless an Interim Inspection is required. An Interim Inspection is additional to detailed inspections. Interim Inspections will be required where the employers risk assessment has identified a risk that could result in significant deterioration, affecting the integrity of the equipment before the next detailed inspection is due. The need for and frequency of interim inspections will depend on the use and environment.

Pre-Use checks should still be carried out each time, before the product is used. Pre-Use checks should be tactile and visual and where appropriate, functions. The whole item should be subject to the check. A visual check should be undertaken in good light and will normally take a few minutes.

Abtech AB15RT Fall Arrest Recovery Winch

With reference to fall arrest retrieval blocks and Man riding winches. 

Regulatory bodies hold the manufacturer responsible for use of equipment and service regimes.

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to decide if their fall arrest retrieval block may be used for access and egress from a confined space. The block needs to have been tested to the same standard as the man riding winch (BS EN1496) and the manufacture should be confident that the device will fulfil all requirements of use.

BS EN1496 is not a harmonised European standard. This means that not every country in Europe adopts the standard. The standard is adopted in the UK. So it is best practice that any device used as a man riding winch in the UK is approved to this standard. Man riding winches should have back up brakes that will activate if the winch mechanism fails.

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer as to how often and when their products need to be serviced. Some manufacturers do want fall arrest retrieval devices returned after they have been used for either a fall arrest or if the winch mechanism is used. Many other manufacturers only require the device to be returned for service if the fall arrest indicator is activated. There is a commercial aspect to this.

There is quite a long boring history to these devices. It is relevant to the development of the actual devices and how they are used today.

It is generally accepted that the first fall arrest blocks with a retrieval capability came from a German company and a British company at approximately the same time. A gear ring was added to the rope drum and a pinion shaft with a handle located in the housing. The pinion shaft was fitted through a one way bearing in the housing that allowed the shaft to move in only one direction. This device would only raise the user after a fall. This is the source of the name retrieval device or recovery device.

The next design modification was to make a device that would allow the user to be lowered and raised. The one way bearing was taken away. A winch mechanism was added to the pinion shaft; ratchet for raising and two friction discs and a thread for lowering. This device was meant to be used for access and egress to and from a vertical confined space. The problem at the time (1980’s) was the quality of the friction discs. It was found by the UK manufacturer that after approximately thirty uses (lowering of user) the friction discs wore out. The user could still be raised and would still have the fall arrest facility but they could not be lowered. At this point it was decided to specify the retrieval a device as a rescue only option.

Since that time (1980’s) the friction discs of the winch mechanism have improved significantly. A user can be lowered and raised many hundreds of times. As a result of these improvements some manufacturers (Abtech Safety included) have deemed it safe and appropriate to use their fall arrest retrieval device for fall protection and access to and from vertical confined spaces.

This history may not be completely accurate as it comes from a couple of old fossils who work for Abtech Safety who were there at the time and involved in these developments. 

Holland America Koningsdam

Holland America is in preparation to launch one of their finest ships yet. In April 2016, Holland America Koningsdam will be making its maiden voyage.

The ship carries 2650 passengers. The pressure on the maintenance regime is high. Ensuring that personnel carry out their duties in the safest possible manner Abtech Safety in Partnership with Resmar have supplied the new liner with all their safety equipment for working at height, confined space working and rescue. Outreach Rescue trains the crew in the safety systems and the selection and use of equipment.

For more information on work at height and confined space equipment visit www.resmar-safety.co.uk

Police & Fire Fighters allowed to take 'reasonable risks' to save lives

Under new guidance from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) police officers and firefighters will not be prosecuted for breaking health and safety laws by putting their lives in danger.

There have been a number of stories in the news recently about the emergency services being prevented from rescuing people because of health and safety.

In March, a 41 year old man was left to die face down in the shallow water of a boating lake because rescue workers were worried about their own health and safety.

Crews from two fire engines, two police cars and two ambulances were not allowed to enter the water because they didn’t have specialist training in water rescue. The “specialist” finally arrived around half-an-hour later to remove the body. Unfortunately, it was too late to save him.

In April, a 33 year old woman was left with severe brain damage after having to wait almost two hours for paramedics who ironically were parked just yards away. The ambulance crew had to wait for a police escort before attending because the address had been highlighted as a “high risk” area.

Under guidelines, all paramedics must wait at a “safe rendezvous point” for a police escort before entering potentially threatening areas. This was also an issue in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings in London and the massacre caused by Cumbria gunman Derek Bird.

And more recently, more than 20 firefighters were sent to rescue on cat that was trapped on a roof in Suffolk because the majority did not have the specialist training in working at height.

These instances have occurred because the emergency services have not been expected to put themselves at unreasonable risk, both in regards to their own safety and welfare, and for fear of being prosecuted if an act of heroism goes wrong. It seems a threat of prosecution has created a risk averse atmosphere in society.

Lord Young, in his Common Sense, Common Safety report, stated: “Police officers and firefighters should not be at risk of investigation or prosecution under health and safety legislation when engaged in the course of their duties if they have put themselves at risk as a result of committing a heroic act.” He suggested that further guidance be drawn up by regulators to put this to put this into effect.

This recommendation is jointly owned by the Home Office, Department for Communities and Local Goverment, and HSE, who are working with the CPS and others to develop the revised guidance.

In its guidance, the CPS says it “recognises that, in performing a heroic act, police officers and firefighters may breach section 7 of the Health and Safety Work Act 1974 in that they fail to take reasonable care of their own safety. In those circumstances, and where the safety of others is not put at risk, public interest would not be served by taking forward a prosecution under section 7 of the Act”.

Bariatric Stretcher on Channel 5

Look out for our Bariatric Stretcher being used on an upcoming show on

Channel 5 - Big Body Squad - Starts 22nd Feb at 8pm



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