Product Focus: Safety tools and lighting

Trends in ... safety tools and lighting

Plenty of advancements

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Safety tools, including hard hat and tool tethers, and lighting products such as intrinsically safe flashlights help keep workers safe on jobsites across the country. And, according to industry insiders, there’s plenty to talk about.

Safety tools

When your workers are at height, are their tools tethered to protect people below? John Salentine, co-founder and vice president of Ventura, CA-based Hammerhead Industries Inc., told Safety+Health that new retractable tethering technology allows heavier tools to be tethered without hindering safety or productivity.

“These retractable safety devices are particularly useful because their ultra-low profile keeps heavy tools close to the body when stored while still allowing complete accessibility when in use,” Salentine said. “The reduced tether length also helps avoid entanglement issues when climbing or working in close quarters.”

However, some tethering tools aren’t so useful and can lead to frustration for workers. “When the tethering device limits mobility, recoils too fast or exerts too much resistance upon extension, fatigue, reduced productivity, and annoyance and non-compliance are typical,” Salentine stated.

“Most companies that sell safety equipment or personal fall arrest systems fill out their product line by importing a basic tether in two or three sizes,” he said. “When tool tethers are ordered from them without specifications (beyond the weight of the tool), chances are good that the tether may not be appropriate and can impact user safety and inherently lead to reduced productivity and exposure to injury.”

To avoid using the wrong device, do your research, Salentine recommends. “There are thousands of tethering choices for safety engineers available from U.S. manufacturers specializing in tool, gear and instrument tethers,” he said.

Lighting

Advancements also are occurring in lighting. Dawn Dalldorf-Jackson, director of sales – industrial division – for Eagleville, PA-based Streamlight Inc., said new trends in professional-grade flashlights are resulting in a number of safety benefits. These benefits include “high-lumen (500-2,000+ lumens) products that can light up entire work scenes, including potential hazards; USB-rechargeable products, giving industrial professionals the ability to charge on the go from most any USB power source; a growing number of Division I safety-rated lights designed for use under hazardous conditions; flashlights that combine spot and flood beams to create uninterrupted light that eliminates slips, trips and falls; and low-profile scene lights that can be positioned over a manhole, for example, to increase worker visibility in tight, dark spaces,” she said.

But none of these benefits matter much if workers don’t understand the new technology. Dalldorf-Jackson said training is crucial. “By taking the time to understand ongoing enhancements in flashlight technology, managers can better prepare workers to optimize their use and, in general, help maintain a safer working environment,” she said.

Employers also need to understand how to select the proper flashlight, lantern or headlamp for the job at hand with its corresponding appropriate approval rating. This can be complex. “In the U.S., some lights now have safety-rating approval based on the requirements of the ANSI/UL 783 standard – the specific standard for flashlights used in hazardous locations – or ANSI/UL 913, the intrinsically safe standard for general electronic equipment,” 
Dalldorf-Jackson said. She acknowledged that either standard can direct certification to Division 1 level, but noted that “it is important to note class, group and temperature code requirements to select the correct flashlight for specific applications.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:
Hearing protection

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