Going up! Lindsey Anderson reports from World of Concrete, Las Vegas, US

By Maria Hadlow05 April 2011

Canadian-based Hydro Mobile was one of the sponsors for World of Concrete’s Masonry Construction Cha

Canadian-based Hydro Mobile was one of the sponsors for World of Concrete’s Masonry Construction Challenge.

The World of Concrete show held January 17-21 in Las Vegas, NV, offered attendees a variety of options when it came to seeing and visiting mast climbing companies. On hand were Beta Max Hoists, Hydro Mobile, Fraco Products, EZ Scaffold and more. Lindsey Anderson reports from the show.

EZ Scaffold had its new Mini Mast climber on display at its booth in the north hall and according to vice president Clint Bridges, the Mini Mast has been getting a lot of inquiries lately due to an onslaught of restoration work across the US.

"Existing buildings are difficult to scaffold because of access issues like landscape, other buildings or limited access with forklifts or cranes," Bridges said. "The Mini Mast can be set by hand."

The Mini Mast can go as high as 100 m (330 ft) and Bridges says it is similar to a heavy duty swing stage "but does not have the limitations of a swing stage scaffold."

Personnel are not required to wear harnesses and work can be done in wind speeds of up to 30 mph, where traditional swing stages cannot be used in winds that exceed 12 to 15 mph.

"For new construction, it goes up with the building," Bridges says. "You do not have to have a roof above you to suspend from."

EZ also had a new monorail system that is fitted on a mast climber's deck to allow workers to move heavy loads for placement such as setting stone.

Also on hand was the Quick Lift system, which his 7.3 m (24 ft) long by 10.3 m (34 ft) tall, is fully trailered and available with either gas or electric power options.

Florida-based Beta Max Hoists had a handful of products on display, but most notable was its Max Climber 2000PMB man and material hoist. The unit features a lift capacity of 909 kg (2000 lb) or up to seven people.

The lift speed is 24.4 m (80 ft) per minute and its maximum anchored height comes in at 152 m (500 ft).

The unit features an anchoring distance of every 20 feet and its base system footprint is 2.36 by 2.41 m (9 by 95 in). Mast sections come in at 46 kg per 1.52 m (102 lb per 5 ft) section.

The 2000PMB can attach to scaffolding or anchor directly to the building and its aluminum car wall panels with car support frame and mast sections are made of hot dipped galvanized steel.

Beta Max safety features on the Max Climber 2000PMB include: upper, lower and intermediate floor stop switches integrated into the system; manual brake release lever in case of power interruption during use and; a failsafe brake that holds the load securely when not lifting or lowering loads.

Other safety features include: removable overhead protection that keeps workers safe during loading and unloading; sensors that detect when the basket is in load or unload mode which make the hoist non-operable; and fold-down loading and unloading ramps with guardrails to ensure worker safety.

Meanwhile, instead of being only product-oriented, Canadian-based Fraco told AI it is focusing on different applications for its units. Jacques Laine, director of marketing for Fraco Products Ltd., said the company sees its future in new markets.

"We are getting results from demolition and power generation," he said. "Two years ago we started looking at these markets and now we are moving forward."

Laine said Fraco is working in infrastructure, masonry and chimney demolition work as well.

Safety and Health

Meanwhile, a lot of talk from United States-based mast climber companies came in the wake of the new US Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule that addresses the use of cranes and derricks in construction, specifically in New York City, where a wave of fatal crane collapses shown a spotlight on the area, causing the city to create a cranes and derricks division.

New York City's cranes and derricks division oversees the design, installation and safe operation of equipment used for hoisting or lifting purposes. This equipment includes truck-mounted, rough-terrain and crawler-based cranes, as well as tower cranes, mast climbing work platforms and suspended scaffolds.

The new rule replaces a standard that was established in 1971. OSHA estimates that 267000 construction, crane rental and crane certification establishments employing about 4.8 million workers will be affected by the rule published on July 28, 2010.

"The significant number of fatalities associated with the use of cranes in construction led the Labor Department to undertake this rulemaking," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.

"After years of extensive research, consultation and negotiation with industry experts, this long overdue rule will address the leading causes of fatalities related to cranes and derricks, including electrocution, boom collapse and overturning."

OSHA said stakeholders from the construction industry recognised the need to update the safety requirements, methods and practices for cranes and derricks, and to incorporate technological advances in order to provide improved protection for those who work on and around cranes and derricks.

The rule addresses provisions for crane operator certification, and crane inspection, set-up and disassembly, OSHA said.

The new rule is designed to prevent the leading causes of fatalities, including electrocution, crushed-by/struck-by hazards during assembly/disassembly, collapse and overturn.

The complete rule is available at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2010-17818_PI.pdf.

The regulation text is available at http://www.osha.gov/cranes-derricks/index.html.

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