Due to the size, weight and the work they have to carry out on a day to day basis it is obvious that deck equipment such as tender lifting cranes, ladders and passerelles need both regular inspection and to undergo annual load testing procedures. But, what about all the loose lifting gear used to support the individual crew members during their daily tasks? Often crew are unaware of the inspection and testing procedures governing the safety equipment onboard, what equipment and hardware needs to be inspected and how often. In the last 18 months a team of riggers at RSB Rigging Solutions have been back to school and studying for the LEEA (Lifting Equipment Engineers Association) Heavy Lifting and Load Testing certification which qualifies RSB to perform inspections, load testing of heavy lifting equipment on board yachts, and certifying the equipment according to class.
“The answer is simple,” says Chris Dogterom, one of RSB’s LEEA certified riggers and Head of the Load Testing and Inspections team, “all loose lifting gear should be visually inspected at least once a year by certified personnel under the regulations governed by the flag state the boat is registered under. This will ensure the safety of the equipment which is ultimately the most important factor for crew using this gear.”
Chris continues “It has also become evident that many crew members are unaware of the safety and protection regulations when working at height. There is a difference between fall protection and positioning protection while working at heights; positioning is when you are supported by your equipment, and fall protection is when you are supported if a fall occurs. For example, when you wear a harness without the top section it is good for positioning but not for fall protection.
When working on exposed decks or in areas that a slip or accident could result in a fall you need a full body harness with a safety line. Hanging from an external access track on the side of the boat you need a certified harness for positioning. The difference here is that if you fall you need a shock absorbing appliance in the equipment however if you are already hanging in position on the external access tracks you are supported by your equipment.”
The team at RSB Rigging is unique in their abilities as not only are they fully certified they are also highly experienced in fabricating custom systems and lifting solutions and are able to test and certify these in house. Chris states, “We have been fabricating custom systems, cables and lifting equipment for many years, however since our team has become LEEA certified it now means we do not have to to outsource the testing and certification of the new gear. This is great for the client as we can be more competitive on price with everything being carried out in house.
The ability to consult with a team certified to perform these tests or inspections and able to educate crew on safety is paramount not just for insurance and class legalities but also for general safety on board… and of course, piece of mind that the equipment is safe, fit for purpose and capable of withstanding the working loads and conditions experienced on a day to day basis in the marine environment”
For all enquiries regarding you load testing, or lifting equipment you can contact the team at RSB here: Chris@rsb-rigging.com