sites to tether tools and leaves ‘suitable and suffi cient’ up for interpretation. So, with no defi nite law, why bother to tether your tools?

BENEFITS OF TOOL TETHERING Naturally, safety is one of the biggest reasons as to why engineers should tether their tools. Did you know that a 2kg claw hammer dropped from a height of 6m has an impact of roughly a concrete mixer? A hard hat isn’t going to protect someone against this, for sure. T is is the result of Newton’s fi rst and second laws of gravity and by the notion of terminal velocity. According to Newton’s laws, an object will gain speed if the forces acting upon it are unbalanced; and, the amount of acceleration is directly proportional to the unbalanced force. T erefore, falling objects initially accelerate because there is no force large enough to balance the gravitational force. In 2017/18, 11% of the 38 deaths and 12% of 58,000 non-fatal injuries in construction were caused by being struck by a moving (including fl ying/falling) object. T at is according to the Health and Safety Executive’s latest injury statistics, published in October 2018. By not tethering tools, there are also

fi nancial implications. On a basic level, these include potential equipment damage from a falling object alongside any downtime to conduct a repair. At the worse end of the scale, falling equipment could result in costly litigation from serious injury or even death, plus there is the reputational damage to contend with.

TETHERING SOLUTIONS You might be thinking, due to the loose

regard in regulations for tool tethering – ‘why not make my own tethering system?” In most cases, a ‘homemade’ tool tethering set up includes attaching a piece of rope around the tool and securing it to nearby infrastructure. Although a cheap and instant way to tether your tools, a DIY approach to tethering isn’t ideal. Quality is, of course, a distinct issue in ‘homemade’ tool tethering. More often than not, DIY setups contain equipment not safe for onsite construction, this could include worn rope, faulty clasps, a tether that is insuffi cient for the tool weight and even unsecure anchor points. Investing in a safety accredited tool tethering solution is really the only option. T ere are many professional products

and confi gurations that engineers can use to tether their tools; too many to list here. However, some several key products and features are particularly useful and popular. Starting with the tethering points, the safety chuck is a type of coupling used in shafted centre wind and centre unwind applications. When working at height it allows free rotation of the tool. A safety pin is used on socket holders to avoid a socket drop and can be secured and held in place by opening and closing the clasp. Another handy tethering point is a safety plate. T e safety plate is a metal bracket which is attached to an existing product such as screwdriver or hammer. It is used as a tethering point for a lanyard to pass through. T e safety plate can be incorporated into most tools without losing product functionality.

Designed with wrenches in mind, a spring is a high resistance and fl exible solution used on tools where drilling has to be avoided. Not to be confused for a tool tethering ring which is specifi cally for high resistance tools with space limitation for drilling, a ring works best with pliers and wrenches where the hole on the tool is small. Moving onto tool lanyards, for heavy- duty tools, a double-loop wire is ideal for hammers, wrecking bars dynamometric wrenches. Kevlar and Dyneema string are a popular choice for lanyards. Kevlar is considered seven times stronger than steel, while Dyneema is 15 times stronger than steel, making it the world’s strongest fi bre. However, dependent on the type of work you’re doing, you might need to favour one over the other. Kevlar loses up to 25% of material strength after two days of UV exposure, so it best used indoors, while Dyneema only loses 5% of material strength after being exposed to the sun for the same period, so can be used externally. For a more comprehensive tool tethering

set up, it is advisable to consider the use of tools pouches and bags too. T ere are six basic solutions to suit an operator’s specifi c needs. T ese are the lifting bag, safety backpack, tool holster, safety pouches, heavy-duty belt and fi nally the safety pouch belt.

However, if you’re not sure about where

to start, a tool tethering kit might be most suitable. T ere are two main kits to be aware of, the rigid, upright case or the tool trolley, the main diff erence being how the tools are displayed, either upright or in horizontal cases; both can be tailormade to suit specifi c needs.

ENSURING BEST PRACTICE To ensure best practice, consider rolling out sitewide a tool tethering training programme. Covering all aspects of working at height and with tools, the programme should draw focus on how to handle equipment, to site safety protocols and what to do if a detached fallen tool situation was to occur. Be sure to consult your on-site Health and Safety offi cer or even your PPE specialist to tailor a tool tethering programme around your site.

Safety-acredited tool tethering solutions are far superior to ‘homemade’ versions

Andrew Egerton is with Brammer Buck and Hickman. 37

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