The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is a special federal operating agency of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. It provides key maritime services to Canadians, such as search and rescue operations and navigational aid maintenance, among others.
Canadian Coast Guard Requirements
The CCG called upon Équipements JPB to design a new fall protection system for work at height around the wheelhouse of the CCGS Griffon. The CCGS Griffon is a high-endurance, multi-tasked vessel and light-duty icebreaker stationed in Prescott, Ontario. Currently in active service, the ship provides ice-breaking services along eastern Lake Ontario and upriver along the St. Lawrence River to Montreal.
Given the importance of the wheelhouse window washing crew’s job and the inherent risk of working at height, the goal of the new system design was to protect the safety of the workers while allowing them to efficiently and effectively perform the task at hand. Équipements JPB was entrusted with the design, engineering, manufacture and implementation of a customized fall protection system according these specific requirements.
To this end, Équipements JPB proposed a rigid rail system made of 6061T6 aluminum, designed to be a major improvement over the former system. Equipped with a trolley, the new system allows the window washing crew to move about the wheelhouse in total safety, without ever having to disconnect from the safety equipment.
Dealing with a single company for the entire duration of the project was a major benefit for CCG project leaders. By working closely together, supplier-client communication was more effective and streamlined; requests by the Chief Engineer were received and seamlessly assimilated into the design by Équipements JPB.
The project presented several interesting challenges. First: to develop a new technology that would bend rigid rails at 90-degree angles to fit around the rectangular wheelhouse. Second: to modify the trolley to manoeuvre around corners so that workers could move freely and safely. Third and final challenge: to design and manufacture rail supports (initially to be created by a specialized marine engineering firm), which ultimately led to much quicker project installation. Result: workers no longer have to disconnect from the trolley to move from one side of the wheelhouse to the other, making wheelhouse window washing more efficient and safe.
The new system designed by Les Équipements JPB exceeds existing Canadian standards to protect workers from falls at height. Made completely in Canada, the rigid rail system meets the needs and expectations of the Canadian Coast Guard. This innovative fall protection system allows workers to work hands free while staying safely attached to the rail.
Looking to the Future
The CCG was so completely satisfied with this project that it has led to the development of an aluminum rigid rail system for another light-duty icebreaker: the CCGS Martha L. Black will be the next vessel in the CCG fleet to be outfitted with a customized fall protection system designed by Les Équipements JPB.