It is not unusual for one of our customers to call with this question, "I've been told I can't have a steel cable rescue winch in our confined space due to an electrical hazard. What do I do?"
If there are unguarded or uninsulated energized lines in a confined space, one certainly doesn't want a 50 foot long steel cable running up the space to the tripod. This would expose all of your workers, including those monitoring the space top side, to enormous dangers from the electrical hazards present in the space. How does one mitigate these risks?
Moreover, OSHA 1910.269(t)(5) requires that your cables are clearly distinct from any energized cables. The steel cables from a typical tripod rescue system may not look all that different from energized cables in the space. A worker may grab on to an energized cable to keep from tripping thinking he or she was grabbing on to a rescue winch cable.
OSHA 1910.269(t)(7)(ii) also requires that workers in an energized confined space be protected "from the possible effects of a failure." Entering a space with a steel cable connected to a metal tripod is certainly not protecting anybody.
So how are all these issues addressed? In the past, the solutions offered weren't great. Often, the only option was to just throw a rope down the space, or use a complicated rope pulley system.
We now have a better solution. Our popular FrenchCreek tripod system is now available - MT-CSKit-25T - with both a Technora rope winch for rescue and a Technora rope self retracting lifeline for fall protection. This system is the perfect answer to the questions asked in this post. It removes the hazards of a steel cable from your entry into the space.
Technora rope has a high tensile strength, is incredibly tough, is highly cut resistant, and has a low electrical conductivity. It is perfectly suited for confined space applications that contain electrical hazards. It helps comply with both of the OSHA requirements noted above. It provides an additional layer of protection and, as a rope lifeline, would be quite different from any energized cables in the confined space.
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