Cass County Electric Cooperative serves more than 50,000 members in 10 counties in southeastern North Dakota. The electric co-op maintains a fleet of more than 100 pieces of equipment, including about nine digger derricks and 13 aerial devices. Most of the aerial devices are under 50 ft. platform heights, and frequently used for servicing nearly 3,000 miles of overhead lines.
Last fall, the co-op was invited to pilot Terex Utilities' new positive attachment lanyard (PAL), a warning system designed to reduce the chance of an operator elevating the bucket without a safety harness lanyard attached. The device was installed on one of the co-op's LT40 telescopic aerial devices. “We engaged with Cass County Electric Cooperative through the various stages of the development, which allowed us to test how it supports safe work practices in the field,” explained Ted Barron, vertical market manager for Terex Utilities.
The electric co-op has a 100% tie-off policy in aerial devices, but sometimes a worker might be focused on the work at hand. On the off-chance that he or she forgets to clip into the harness, an alarm sounds as a reminder.
“I like that the device is easy to use. It’s not bulky and doesn’t require any extra equipment to deploy,” said Mike Mahlke, a Cass County lineman who used the PAL device over a period of about six months. “When you are called to work in the middle of the night and focused on urgent work to be done, you might forget to clip in. This is a great reminder to properly use fall protection.”
To build on this technology, Terex Utilities is also working on developing a Smart PAL, one that uses telematics data to time and date stamp every lanyard attachment and detachment, as well as activation and deactivation of the boom. “In the future this information could be used for corrective behavior, as well as for determining utilization in order to guide preventative maintenance and inspection,” said Barron. The PAL tested by Cass County did not integrate this technology because the main focus of the pilot was gaining full support from workers in the field.
PAL will be an available feature on Terex Hi-Ranger LT40 aerial devices and XTPro Series Tree Trimmer trucks by Fall 2019. Terex LT units with the PAL option will be on display during ICUEE, which takes place Oct. 1-3 in Louisville, Ken.
“Customer interest will determine how quickly we adopt the device to other Terex aerial device models, whether we will make it available as a retrofit to units in the field, and our adoption of it as a standard feature,” said Barron.