Electrical engineers and technicians working at height, often in challenging workplaces and weather conditions, are well aware of the consequences of hand tools or equipment falling or being dropped. As well as creating a major risk to anyone working below, it can also cause serious damage and expensive down time to vital systems and machinery.
According to government figures, more than one million British businesses and 10 million workers carry out jobs involving some form of work at height every year. The main objective of the Health and Safety Executive’s legal requirements for working at height will always be the prevention of death or injury.
Employers and anyone in control of any work at height activity must ensure that work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people. A hand tool such as an adjustable wrench or spanner falling 200ft will accelerate to a speed of 80mph before it hits the ground. Its force of impact will be similar to that of a plunging domestic washing machine.
Within the tool manufacturing sector, 200 industry organisations are now addressing the problem through their support for a global work group called DROPS (the Dropped Object Prevention Scheme).
Its members consider all aspects of how the prevention of dropped objects can be improved, sharing their findings across the industry by building awareness and recommending best practice techniques.
SNA Europe, the company behind the global Bahco tool brand, is a member of the scheme. All Bahco tools and equipment likely to be used at height are approved according to DROPS practices. Each safety solution for each type of tool is certified and the tool cannot be disassembled.
Mark Haywood, who leads the Bahco team in the UK, comments: “Your safety is our concern. No responsible engineer or technician wants to work at height, with all its challenges, without knowing they can rely totally on their safety equipment to protect both themselves and others working below them, as well as safeguarding vital systems and machinery from damage.
“At Bahco we follow an extensive research, development and quality management programme which has resulted in advanced design, manufacturing, testing and operating procedures covering safety and dropped object prevention.
“Our objective is to continue being an unfailing company, professional above all, contributing to people’s wellbeing by offering the most valued safety and productivity solutions in the world.”
Tethering tools to their users is one of the many vital precautions which companies require of those working on platforms on within refineries and other onshore installations.
Bahco pioneered anti-drop solutions, developing its latest Tools at Height assortment in consultation with the most demanding users, including wind turbine technicians and industrial climbers, to understand exactly what functionality is required.
The result is a wide range of Bahco tools which incorporate fixings to enable hand and power tools to be securely tethered to Bahco’s lanyards, bags, pouches and belts. This is not only ideal for using tools but also provides secure tool transportation to the workplace.
Fixings include safety chucks, Kevlar strings or Dyneema strings for screwdrivers, spring connections for wrenches, loops, eye bolts, shackles and safety pins for pliers, hammers and other tools.
Retractable lanyards are certified against Bahco standard. They are quality tested in both static and dynamic tests in conditions more rigorous and demanding than any likely to be encountered. For the dynamic test a security coefficient 2, factor 2 test is performed.
Bahco lanyards, capable of holding up to 12kg, feature universal attachments for tools which do not have any integrated attachment point.
All have individual tracking numbers, maximum tool weight sew-in warning tags and user manuals. ITN labels are permanently attached to the products and give full traceability. Several types of lanyard are available, including carabiner, fixed loop, exchangeable loop, retractable and wrist lanyards.
The carabiner lanyard, manufactured in high tenacity polyester, fully extends to 120cm and can hold up to 3kg maximum tool weight (3daN). Its carabiners are non-removable and high strength webbing and self-retracting inner coil jointly absorb shock.
Bahco’s wrist lanyard extends to 60cm, holds up to 1kg weight and features an exchangeable loop with barrel lock.
Additional quick release connections are available but, for safety reasons, their locking system is compatible only with the specific lanyard they are intended to be used with.
Any climbing operation is safer using both hands. Bahco’s backpacks, available in small or large versions, allow users to move freely without carrying their tools or tool box with their hands. Both incorporate adjustable length shoulder straps and quick release attachments for added security.
Multiple inner compartments provide four or six hooks for loose connectors, with a maximum tool weight of 3kg per hook.
Pouches and belts
Designed to make life easier, as well as safer, Bahco tool pouches and belts are made from hardwearing 600x600d polyester to resist heavy duty wear and tear.
They provide flexible solutions with rings to attach lanyards and hooks to hold tools in loose connectors. Multiple inner compartments offer tool organisation, while quick-access external pockets include one to hold a socket set and another for a water bottle. Adjustable chest and shoulder safety straps provide maximum comfort.
Bahco’s three-pocket belts are available in different versions, providing up to four hooks for loose connectors, each capable of holding up to 3kg per hook, plus up to three rings for lanyards, with a capacity of 100daN per ring. Separate power drill and hammer holders are also available.
Bahco’s latest Safety at Work brochure, featuring Tools at Height, Non-Sparking tools and Insulated Electricians’ Tools, can be viewed here.