LifeGuard system from T.A. Pelsue helps prevent manhole work injuries.

Falls and other confined-space work injuries are usually preventable. That is, of course, if the proper safety steps are taken to guard against accidents. The LifeGuard system, which T.A. Pelsue Company featured in the company’s booth at the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show, can be one of those big steps.

The arrest/retrieval manhole guard system is, in essence, a portable manhole guard, fall protection device and worker retrieval unit all in one system. According to T.A. Pelsue president Christian Miller, the unit can serve as an important safeguard across multiple applications.

“Not only is it a great fit for municipal manhole and sewer work, it really works for any confined-space application,” he says. “That includes onsite septic installation, underground tank cleaning, or cleaning large grease traps. Basically it’s for any time you are lowering a worker into a tight area.”

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The two-piece unit is easy to set up, and includes dual anchor points and leveling feet. It is rated for a load of up to 350 pounds, with its structural-grade aluminum and steel upper assembly providing an overhead proof load of 5,000 pounds. It includes certified fall arrest anchorage that keeps workers tethered at all times, and can be used with a man-rated winch, self-retracting lifeline, three-way device or a combination of devices. The system meets OSHA safety standards when used by a competent individual. While the product has been on the market for 10 years, the 2016 WWETT Show was Pelsue’s first as an exhibitor.

“We weren’t even originally planning on setting up at this show, but when we looked at the exhibitor list and the industries the show was geared toward, it just made sense for us to be here,” says Miller. “I’m very glad we decided to take the plunge at the last minute, because the response has been great.”

The mechanism is relatively lightweight, with the upper assembly coming in at 42 pounds, while the guard assembly is 33 pounds. When deployed, the unit measures 42 by 42 inches, with a height of 75 inches. Each kit includes the upper assembly, guard assembly, a set of four leveling feet for use on uneven terrain, a set of four rubber feet for indoor use, a winch bracket and mounting plate for use with a standard retrieval winch, a pulley assembly with auto-lock carabiner, and a set of flexible draw latches to anchor the upper assembly to the guard assembly.

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“It’s a relatively simple idea, but is very effective at keeping workers safe,” Miller says. “Our goal was to make a product without a lot of parts that’s easy enough for techs to carry on the truck at all times.”

Miller says the response to the product at the WWETT Show far exceeded his expectations. While the company typically targeted the municipal sewer and oil and gas markets, attendees found several additional applications for the LifeGuard throughout the week.

“Guys would show up at our booth, watch the video, and suggest new fits for it we hadn’t even considered,” says Miller. “The more we talked to people at WWETT, the more we realized how great of a fit it is for this product. We’ll definitely be back.” 800/525-8460;

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