In Drops prevention, ensuring that safety securing Nets are the right size for the objects they enclose saves lives.
Drops can occur when equipment and fixtures such as lights and CCTV cameras come loose and fall due to corrosion or as a result of impact or vibration. Without further mitigation, these can fall significant distances and strike personnel, equipment or structures below with force.
A safety securing Net is designed to securely wrap around fixtures, securing them at height. The size and shape of these objects can vary significantly, so achieving a snug fit requires a wide variety of nets that are specifically tailored to the fixture they secure.
We spoke to Mike Rice, Commercial Director of Dropsafe, to understand how the Dropsafe product range has evolved in step with the needs of operators. We also explore how bespoke Nets can ensure that even the most unique industrial equipment can be properly secured to reduce Drops risks.
The variety of overhead fixtures deployed across O&G, mining, and power generation facilities
Fixtures commonly installed overhead can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. With lighting alone, for example, there are floodlights, linear lights and strip lights, as well as those specific to offshore use, such as beacons or strobes.
CCTV cameras and loudspeakers are also frequently used in industries such as O&G, mining and power generation. These industries also have their own ranges of equipment, which can vary from facility to facility. In offshore O&G, crown block stoppers and housings for motors, pipe clamps, and junction boxes may be installed at height, requiring specialised safety securing equipment.
Mike recalls: “The involvement of Dropsafe in Drops prevention spans decades, and we’ve seen a constant evolution of key fixtures due to technological and operational innovation. A typical example would be LED lighting technology for linear lights, which expanded the range of floodlight shapes in use dramatically. Despite this, the basic aim of a high-quality Drops prevention Net is that it fits snugly around the fixture, driving a proliferation in Net shapes to keep pace with industry needs.”
The importance of a well fitted Net
Stainless steel is the best practice material for Drops prevention Nets due to its high strength. Elasticity is not a key attribute of stainless steel, however, so Nets should not be exposed to shock impacts. Loose fitting Nets allow heavy objects to fall and begin to gather significant momentum before the Net is impacted, increasing the strain placed on the wires and attachment points of the solution.
Loosely installed Nets can also cause additional risks in themselves, by attracting nesting seabirds or debris. If enough residue builds up, the accumulated mass can become a Drops hazard, pulling loose fitting nets away from their attachment points and potentially dislodging vulnerable fixtures.
Mike elaborates: “It is crucial to tackle the issue of loose-fitting Nets proactively before a severe incident occurs. Dropsafe produces over 100 different shapes and sizes to ensure that operators can procure a Net suitable for their specific needs, and can even develop bespoke Nets on request. Dropsafe Nets are also tested in hypothetical scenarios where they are improperly installed to build in an added safety factor.”
How Dropsafe engineers its Net designs to work in different circumstances
The design process for CCTV camera Nets provides a good example of the challenges involved in delivering solutions fit for ‘real-world’ operations.
CCTV cameras are usually installed to capture as wide an angle as possible, using pivoting brackets. If a non-specialist Net is installed, it might fit snugly when the camera is static, however, when the camera moves, it could cause snags and risks damaging both the Net and itself.
Mike says: “When creating our CCTV Nets, we included specific mounting brackets for the solution to prevent the Net from obscuring the camera lens, a common issue with makeshift or generalist net solutions. It was also necessary to ensure that the securing cable is channelled separately from the main Net to avoid any snags.”
Dropsafe takes a similar approach in tackling Net design challenges for other fixtures, from renewables to O&G, to ensure that operators can find the right Nets for their facilities.
Although there are currently over 100 shapes and sizes of high-quality Nets available, the increasing global demand for Drops prevention solutions means operators are looking to install an expanding variety of safety securing Nets.
With Drops awareness in the renewable energy sector gathering pace, this has led to wind operators with highly specific requirements seeking out bespoke Drops prevention solutions. Below, we highlight one example of how Dropsafe drew on its in-house design and manufacturing capabilities to help a wind farm owner proactively tackle Drops.
Bespoke Net case study: Formosa 1 Offshore Wind Farm
The 128 MW Formosa 1 project in Taiwan comprises 22 Siemens Gamesa wind turbines. It is the first operational offshore windfarm in Taiwan, enabling Formosa Offshore Wind (FOW), the owners, to set a benchmark for Drops prevention in the market.
Dropped Objects (Drops) in offshore wind include materials carried by personnel, lifted or carried from support vessels, and any fixtures fitted to wind turbines, such as lights or hatches, which are at risk of falling from height.
Off the coast of Taiwan, typhoons and storms are common, raising Drops risks as fixtures fitted to wind turbines are subjected to high wind speeds, potentially causing them to come loose and fall.
Without proactive measures to mitigate the risk, Drops pose a fourfold threat to safety of personnel, the integrity of equipment, financial performance and reputation of a company.
What Dropsafe did
FOW and Dropsafe designed and installed a bespoke Dropsafe Net system to mitigate the risk of fixtures on each turbine falling from height. A bespoke design was necessary due to the extreme weather in Taiwan, as the installed net had to be typhoon-proof.
The custom-designed Dropsafe Net, manufactured from SUS 316 Japanese stainless-steel, was installed between the external landing platform and the tower of each of the turbines.
Having conducted this initial rollout of the Dropsafe Net at Formosa 1, FOW is now looking to adopt the solution across its expanding portfolio of offshore wind facilities.
The custom Dropsafe Net system provided a successful and cost-effective solution to the heightened Drops risks affecting Taiwanese offshore wind farms. By adopting the system, the Formosa 1 project has set a high standard for Drops prevention for other offshore wind farms, not just in Taiwan, but worldwide.
For FOW, it creates a strong precedent, establishing the business as a health and safety leader as it continues to pioneer Taiwan’s offshore wind journey.
To learn more about Dropsafe’s Net range, its bespoke offering, and why choosing the right size for the right fixture is established best practice in industries from O&G to mining, get in touch with our expert team at email@example.com