MSA SmartArm improves safety and efficiency in confined spaces

18 September 2013
Industrial workers can exit or gain access to confined spaces with greater ease than ever before, by making use of the SmartArm portable modular arm introduced to the local market by the African division of MSA - a global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of sophisticated products that protect people's health and safety.
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MSA Africa fall protection product manager Emmanuel Manaka explains that confined space rescues can be technically challenging due to the environment in which they occur. "Confined spaces are often narrow and constricting, and are usually either unlit or poorly lit, forcing rescuers to provide their own light source. Confined spaces often contain hazardous materials in liquid or gas form, which can be harmful or fatal to humans."

These hazards therefore create a limited window in which to perform a rescue. The general rule is that after four minutes without oxygen, a person in a confined space will likely suffer asphyxia resulting in either brain damage or death. The urgent need to rescue someone from a confined space often leads to ill-prepared rescue attempts, with two-thirds of all of deaths occurring in confined spaces attributed to persons attempting to rescue someone else.

Due to the unique nature of confined space rescues, specialised equipment is necessary to perform a safe and successful rescue. In the event that an entry rescue must be performed, Manaka notes that rescue personnel will wear protective clothing appropriate for the situation. "This may include a self contained breathing apparatus, protective headgear and the use of explosion proof lighting. The rescuer may also wear a full body harness with an attached safety line, especially if a vertical descent is required. To assist in vertical descents, a mechanical winch and tripod may be set up over the access point, if the bottom of the confined space is more than five feet from the entrance."

Manaka points out that the SmartArm is a simple modular device that allows workers to quickly set up for entry into or exit from a confined space with flanged horizontal or vertical access points. "The SmartArm is easy to use, transport and install. The device is compliant as an anchorage connector, thereby providing a safe option for entry and emergency extraction by eliminating the need for rescue workers to enter the confined space. It also provides a speedy single-action recovery process that greatly reduces the potential for injury even further."

Manaka notes that the MSA SmartArm is ideal for industries where there is limited space for worker manoeuvrability. “Local industries such as offshore oil and gas, mining, emergency services and any other business with confined spaces can ensure the improved safety of their employees, while complying with increasingly stringent safety legislation through the MSA SmartArm,” he concludes.



Notes to the Editor
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About MSA
MSA been the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality safety products since 1914. MSA products may be simple to use and maintain, but they’re also highly-sophisticated devices and protective gear - the result of countless R&D hours, relentless testing, and an unwavering commitment to quality that saves lives and protects thousands of men and women each and every day. Many of MSA's most popular products integrate multiple combinations of electronics, mechanical systems, and advanced materials to ensure that users around the world remain protected in even the most hazardous of situations. MSA's dedication to safety has been the key to its impressive year-over-year growth. In eight of the past ten years, MSA has achieved record growth numbers, with annual revenues of more than US$1 billion.

MSA Africa Contact Details
Emmanuel Manaka
Fall Protection Product Manager
Tel: (+27) 11 610 2626
Cell: (+27) 71 681 8675
Email: Robbie [dot] Taitz [at] msasafety [dot] com

Media Contact
Benjamin Iwisi
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867 7763
Fax: 086 512 3352
Cell: 076 263 2001
Email: renay [at] ngage [dot] co [dot] za

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