As mentioned, in partnership with our global manufacturing partner, Dropsafe, Teksal Safety was featured in the latest edition of the Australian Mining Review in the technical article, Don’t drop the ball on safety.
Here’s the article in full or you can download it here.
About 15 years ago, some of the biggest players in the oil and gas industry came together to form a steering committee to tackle one of the biggest issues facing the sector.
Dropped and falling objects were not only causing Lost Time Injuries (LTIs), but were leading to the permanent disability and even death of too many workers.
The issue became a major focal point in the offshore oil and gas industry in the North Sea, one of the world’s key exploration and production centres, where representatives from companies such as Shell and BP formed the committee to tackle the problem head on.
Dropsafe, now a global leader in dropped object prevention, became involved from the early days in the work of the committee, which quickly became a platform for the industry to share best practice solutions and learnings from incidents.
The company’s founder, Rob Schlipper, who is from WA, brought valuable expertise to the table with his marine engineering background.
Dropsafe Commercial Director Mike Rice said the company has spent the past 15 years refining a range of products to respond to the industry’s call for a solution to the issue.
There were 89 fatalities caused by falling objects over five years between 2015 and 2019, representing 10% of all workplace deaths each year, according to Safe Work Australia’s report on work-related traumatic injury fatalities across the nation.
Globally, about 21% of reported LTIs were caused by a people being struck by moving or falling objects, according to the International Marine Contractors Association (ICMA).
Fixtures such as lights, CCTV cameras and speakers, handheld devices, unsecured tools, and loose items can become deadly weapons if they fall from height.
Since the start of that initiative in the North Sea, dropped object prevention programs have been rolled out at drilling hotspots across the world, including the Gulf of Mexico, South America, South East Asia, and of course, Australia.
Dropsafe’s solutions have been adopted worldwide by more than 300 leading businesses across sectors including oil and gas, mining, marine, power and renewables.
Industrial safety supplier Teksal Safety is the Australian distributor for Dropsafe, and provides dropped object prevention solutions across these sectors throughout Australia.
Designed to prevent dropped object incidents, the Dropsafe Barrier is a robust and versatile modular barrier system.
It consists of impact-resistant and fire-retardant panels, with a small honeycomb aperture.
It attaches along the inside of the guardrailing of elevated walkways, stairways and access ways of permanent or temporary structures, using a universal attachment system.
The barrier prevents loose tools or equipment slipping through cracks and falling from height.
- High impact resistance
- Small mesh aperture of less than 20mm
- Designed to withstand high winds up to CAT 5
- Suitable for harsh environments
- Fully tested and certified. Achieved ABS DOPP+ Type Approval and DNV-GL certification
- Instant safety solution compliant with relevant standards
- Fast and easy to install with minimal tools
- Closes gap in human error
- Fully recyclable
These safety devices enclose and tether fixtures, such as lights, beacons, speakers, self-retracting lifelines, CCTV cameras, and pipe clamps above personnel that are at risk of falling due to corrosion, poor maintenance, vibration, or impact.
- SUS/AISI 316 stainless steel wire and components
- Designed and tested to more than five times the product Safe Working Load (SWL)
- Withstands extreme temperatures from -40°C to 500°C
- 100+ sizes to securely enclose any type of fixture and mounting bracket
- Instant safety solution for personnel
- Fast and easy installation – no tools required
- Custom designs also available
- Fully recyclable
- Achieved ABS DOPP+ Type Approval
These safety devices are designed to secure hand-held items used at-height, such as two-way radios, portable gas detectors, aerosol spray cans and multimeters.
The pouch fully encloses the item being secured and tethers it to the user, preventing it from being dropped or becoming a falling objects hazard.
- Designed and tested to more than 2.5 times SWL
- TPU-coated wires prevent scratching of item
- SUS/AISI 316 stainless steel wire and components
- Includes removable heavy-duty belt clip
- Instant safety solution
- Fully encloses and tethers item being secured
- Available in a range of sizes and custom designs
This fully customisable chain barricade system enhances the health and safety of employees in high-risk environments.
Designed to be modular, the flexible polymer chain system allows the interconnected chain links to be easily detached and reattached by hand to suit the distance of the cordoned area with no excess chain or wastage.
- Suitable for harsh environments
- Durable weatherproof and reflective document pouch
- Attachable DANGER and CAUTION signs
- Fully customisable chain length
- Effective solution to reinforce and enhance onsite safety
- Fast and easy with no tools required
- Modular design provides flexibility and adheres to best practice
Designed for Worst-Case Scenarios
Dropsafe Commercial Director Mike Rice said Dropsafe had always set itself the highest quality standards when developing safety products, even in the absence of industry benchmarks.
“For example, with the first range of products we launched — the Nets — at the time there was no standard in the industry of the strength and durability these products had to adhere to,” Mr Rice said.
“As we were aware of how dangerous, dynamic, and corrosive the environments our products sit in are, we set ourselves very high standards to achieve in regard to strength, durability and quality control.
“We have owned our factory for 20 years and all our products are manufactured in-house, as we believe that is the best way to ensure quality and reliability, so that is one of the things that differentiates us from competitors.”
Dropsafe is about to launch a new range of Nets, which will have an inbuilt RFID tag, a type of tracking system, to improve traceability and quality control.
The tags will make it easier for third party inspectors to trace the quality of the product and contribution to safety on offshore rigs, where many of the nets are used.
Similarly, when Dropsafe was developing the barrier system five years ago, there were no standards in the mining industry for that product category.
“We just try to imagine the harshest environment the product would have to operate in so, for example, it is designed to withstand a category five hurricane,” Mike said.
“The material we use is an advanced co-polymer that we have conducted extensive weather testing on. It only degrades by 8-10% over a 10-year period under harsh UV and salt spray exposure.
“From a strength point-of-view, when we designed it, we had in mind a clumsy rig-hand swinging a 10kg sledgehammer, which slips out of their hand and hits the barrier.
“We try to imagine the worst-case scenario, and design products to exceed that worst case. We then go through a rigorous internal and third-party testing process to check they live up to the high standards we set.”
Mr Rice said Dropsafe products would slot perfectly into workplaces in Australia, which “leads the way when it comes to ensuring worksite safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind”.
“I certainly think our products will be seen as a real positive for the Australian market, and that is why we believe our products will do well, as they are designed to the highest standards and specifications.
“The initiative started in the offshore industry, but what we have seen over the last five to seven years is that industries outside of oil and gas are becoming much more aware of dropped objects and the risks they pose. They are now implementing programs to address those risks.
“So, we have certainly seen a growing interest in the mining sector, as well from power plants and other industries.”
Teksal Safety is the Australian distributor of Dropsafe.
Teksal Safety managing director Joe Hischar said the partnership with Dropsafe perfectly aligns with Teksal’s mission to “protect people, plant and process”.
“We are pleased to be associated with a global leader in dropped object prevention and Dropsafe is a natural and complementary fit for our other products and services,” Joe said.
Mr Hischar said Teksal focuses on comprehensive solutions.
“We’re not a wholesale supplier, we’re not just a reseller of equipment.
“We work closely with customers to come up with tailored solutions, so we feel Dropsafe lends itself well to our suite of solutions-driven products.”
Joe said Dropsafe was technically superior to any other product on the market and since being selected as the Australian distributor in July, the uptake had been positive.
“There is a large focus in the industry on dropped object prevention, and it just seems to be getting more and more widespread,” he said.
“In a short time, we are seeing it being rolled out not only to oil and gas, but in mining and anywhere where there is corrosion, lots of vibration and high winds, such as the Pilbara.”
In WA, 26% of reported LTIs were caused by people being struck by moving or falling objects, according to statistics released by the Department of Mines and Petroleum, Industry Regulation and Safety.
“As we have offices in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, we service many of Australia’s largest resource and energy producers,” Joe said.
Teksal Safety supplies premium industrial safety equipment, controls and systems for diverse projects throughout Australia in the oil and gas, mining and industrial sectors.
Its huge range of products includes industrial automation and energy isolation systems and solutions, including safety sensors, safety PLCs, safety relays, gas detection, switchgear interlocks, valve interlocks, rupture discs, machine guards and lockout products.
In partnership with Dropsafe, Teksal Safety provides dropped object prevention solutions, including:
- Dropsafe Barrier – Barrier system for guardrailing and stairways for permanent and temporary installations
- Dropsafe Nets – Safety nets that enclose and tether overhead fixtures
- Dropsafe Pouches – Safety nets attached to the user, which securely enclose and tether handheld items used at height
- Dropsafe Barricades – An access prevention system allowing good signage display and housekeeping measures