C&L, Products, Safety

BlokCam: A system to reduce lifting hazards

BlokCam is a wireless camera system that provides view and sound to the crane operator enhancing safety on construction sites. Cranes and Lifting finds out more about its uses.

BlokCam is a wireless camera system that provides view and sound to the crane operator enhancing safety on construction sites. Cranes and Lifting finds out more about its uses.

A high percentage of crane-related injuries are caused by uncontrolled loads striking personnel in the area surrounding the hook block; this is an extremely hazardous area where 21 per cent of injuries occur.

BlokCam is a wireless camera system that can be quickly and easily deployed to the hook or block or boom tip of a crane. The sound and view from the camera are then transmitted and received wirelessly via the antenna systems to a screen in the cab. This allows the operator to see and hear the load and surroundings, providing an unobstructed, live audio-visual feed of the critical areas that working in the blind would never allow.

Modern construction sites are becoming more and more congested and as buildings are going higher, crane operators are required to place their loads in even more restricted and tighter areas than before. The probability of impacts and collisions are still as great if not more so. Having BlokCam fitted with its clear and uninterrupted audio-visual feed allows the operator to respond to any adjustments to avoid any potential accidents before they happen, allowing for a safer and more productive lift.

According to a university study in the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, having a camera system installed on a crane can help increase productivity by up to 39 per cent in the blind and 27 per cent in the open.

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The highest factor in many below the hook accidents occur in blind lift situations where the operator is completely reliant on the radio communications, which can fail for a number of reasons, leaving a delay in the message and a potential incident happening. BlokCam reduces the blind lift by giving the operator live audio and video footage and the ability to see and hear what’s going on below the hook and around the load.

The crane operator can now have eyes and ears from BlokCam allowing detailed views of the load, site and its surroundings. This provides the ability to communicate with the dogman, slingers and signallers with any information necessary to move from point to point in a more controlled environment and enhances the ability to communicate more efficiently.

Crane operators have a lot of responsibility when operating a crane; long shifts in difficult conditions can cause additional stress, especially in all weather conditions. BlokCam helps to reduce this stressful activity by verifying the radio communications, bringing the operators that step closer to being in touching range of the load and site areas with a visual view that confirms the loads security, balance and any hazards below and around the load.

JD Rigging is the New Zealand distributor for BlokCam. Leigh McDonald, Auckland Managing Director, exhibited at the recent CANZ conference and exhibition.

“We first used the BlokCam product over a year ago and we have been the official agent for 10 months. We had been using an American system for a client which we found to be very basic and not well designed or built,” said McDonald.

“There were also a number of issues around water damage and different packages had to be purchased to be able to use the system with a luffing or hammer head crane, and this increased the cost quite considerably.

“Our client needed a second system and I found BlokCam through Linkedin. We purchased a unit which was much cheaper than the American brand and it could be used on any crane. The client’s job was operating two cranes, so we were able to directly compare the performance of the American system with BlokCam. BlokCam was by far the better system,” he said.

According to McDonald, the BlokCam system provides a number of features and benefits.

“The system is compact with military-spec designed housings and plugs, so the risk of water ingress is basically zero. It’s very quick and easy to install and maintain and features a high-definition (1080) wide lens camera with audio and full 30-day loop recording function.

“With a multi camera system, you can monitor load under hook and also the winches and it has the option for full remote access. The system can be installed on any crane by the operator and swapped between cranes very quickly. It can cover any type of crane, from a tower, mobile, crawler, ship to shore, luffing or hammer head/flat top etc.,” he said.

“BlokCam is very proactive in its approach to research and development and also technical support. We have been looking at more specific systems for the gantry/overhead and Ship to Shore (STS) cranes, following a few enquiries from clients. The system also comes complete in its own rugged carry case, which can be couriered or flown to any site without the risk of damage.

“The response from the market has been very positive. Clients have received good feed-back from sites and one client who has four units, has made it a policy that no tower crane is to be used on a site without a BlokCam installed. At present, interest is mainly from vertical construction sector and tower cranes, but a few mobile/crawler crane operators have shown interest. Clients have also been surprised at the low cost of the system, compared to others that offer less specification and functionality,” said McDonald.

“Response from clients has been very positive and they are surprised at what the system offers compared to other products. With the new approach to health and safety on sites and new legislation about to be introduced, we can see these types of systems becoming the norm in the near future. We took on the BlokCam agency knowing we had to be ahead of the game by offering a quality solution to the New Zealand market place,” he said.

According to McDonald, BlokCam was well received at the NZ conference and exhibition

“This was the first time JD Rigging has exhibited at a conference and the feedback from delegates was very positive. It was interesting to see how many companies were not aware of the technology now available. We were able to present JD Rigging as not only a rigging and equipment service provider, but also a company offering full turn key solutions,” he said.

“We are working with a couple of companies from the conference which have specific uses requiring some system upgrades and additions. JD Rigging will also offer a lease unit in the near future for tower, mobile/crawler customers, so they can use it on a short-term hire basis or on trial for a future purchase. I strongly believe that once a company has hired the BlokCam system a few times, they will see the true benefit of owning a system,” said McDonald.

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