AmQuip installing new fall prevention system
By D.Ann Shiffler12 September 2011
AmQuip has become the first crane rental company in North America to fit the TRAM fall prevention system to its cranes. TRAM, which refers to travel restraint access module, is a movable total restraint system that allows employees to move on top of cranes with no risk of falling.
The TRAM system was originally developed for worker safety on bulk liquid tankers. It has been refined for cranes after several pilot installations in Europe and Australia. TRAM is produced by Chicago-based Standfast Corporation.
AmQuip's TRAM retrofit program is initially targeting its largest telescopic boom cranes, where workers need access to the top of the crane to assemble attachments.
"We have identified 20 of our largest all-terrains as a priority for TRAM," said Jeff Hammons, AmQuip vice president for risk management. "We take safety seriously and most of our business is with customers who are equally safety sensitive. Neither AmQuip nor its customers can accept employees being unprotected on top of cranes any longer. TRAM provides a safe and convenient solution while still meeting compliance with OSHA's new Crane and Derrick standard, 1926.1400."
The first AmQuip units to be fitted with TRAM are four of its Grove GMK 7550 cranes, including two that have Grove's Mega Wing attachments. The first installation was completed mid-August. The next three installations will be completed by the end of September, the company said.
The GMK 7550 is a 550-ton (450 metric ton) capacity telescopic crane with a five-section, 197 foot (60 meter) main boom and jib extensions up to 240 feet (73 meters).
The TRAM system comprises provides a secure handlebar at waist level that moves along a rail installed at foot-level along the length of the main boom. A lanyard or pair of lanyards attach to the handlebar and to the rigger's harness. By tying off at waist level rather than foot level, the TRAM user has no distance to fall in the event of a slip or trip, yet still has total freedom to do the work required.
Meanwhile the movable handlebar provides support while walking along the boom of the crane. The handle rotates 180 degrees, if required, to aid maneuverability and folds down for storage when not in use.
Ascent and descent is often the riskiest part of working at height. TRAM makes this safer. As the user climbs up the side of the crane, he or she clips the lanyard onto the handle. Squeezing the hand brake releases an air-powered spring that pushes the arm gently but firmly to vertical, helping the user climb up and over onto the top of the boom. Similar assistance is given in descent. A deadman's brake prevents the arm from moving along the rail unless the hand brake is squeezed.
"We spent a long time researching ways to assemble large cranes in a safer way," says Hammons. "When we discovered TRAM, it was a clear choice not just because it is so effective, but because it is also convenient and very easy to use. I have found, in my 20-plus years providing safety and risk management services, that if something is not convenient and comfortable, people won't use it. TRAM meets all our criteria. It allows the employees to go about their work at their normal pace with no impediment - it prevents them from falling, and it stows away when it is not in use."
TRAM has been tested and certified by accredited laboratories as meeting all relevant international standards.