Northern Strands
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Latest News

Northern Strands, a company built on safety leads by example in 2020

Safety was at the top of mind for everyone in 2020. Like the rest of the world, we were faced with developing protocols focused on reducing the transmission of Covid-19 while continuing to manage work-place safety. At Northern Strands in 2020 we managed to successfully handled implementing Covid-19 best practices and had our best year in workplace safety. We followed all government Covid regulations and recommendations. Our Health and Safety team worked around the clock to implement internal policies, react quickly to announced changes and communicate these changes to staff. They continually stressed the importance of following current regulations in the workplace. Employees physically distanced, washed hands, used hand sanitizer, and wore masks. Northern Strands implemented enhanced cleaning, put up physical barriers, modified showrooms, staggered lunches, and the list goes on.

 Although great effort and time was devoted to Covid safety, Workplace safety remained a priority. Regular employee virtual safety meetings replaced the standard in-person meetings. With an emphasis on preventative safety measures and maintaining a safe work environment, Northern Strands Management, our Covid Pandemic Committee, and employees put a year-around focus on workplace safety and the result was a serious injury-free year. We are proud to say Northern Strands had a TRIF(total recordable incident frequency), score of zero in 2020. This means we had zero recordable injuries in 2020! This is a huge accomplishment for Northern Strands and its employees. It shows that our company and employees value a safe working environment.

One of the reasons our employees understand the importance of safety is because many of them work in the "Safety" industry. Three of Northern Strands Divisions offer safety services and equipment: our Engineered Fall Protection, Safety Training, and our Industrial Rigging, Equipment & Supplies Division. Furthermore, Northern Strands has employees working in industries that put extreme importance on safety. The Canadian mining industry has strict safety requirements and requires contractors to have a low TRIF score to work on site. Northern Strands excellent TRIF rating allows us the privilege of working with Canadian Mining Companies. Northern Strands is literally a company built on safety. 

Northern Strands also supplies the construction, mining, and agriculture industries with safety gear and equipment. We sell Fall Protection Harnesses, Lanyards, SRLs, Roofer Kits, Dog Leashes, Grain Bin Fall Protection, and more.

Another safety accolade Northern Strands received this year was the Silver Safety Award from the AWRF(Associated Wire Rope Fabricators), for having a green rating. This is awarded to companies that have a low LTIR(total lost time incident report), and TRIR(Total Recordable Incident Rate).

We are confident that Northern Strands and its employees will have another exemplary safety record in 2021. We will remain educated, diligent, and remember that a company that provides Safety Training, Engineered Fall Protection, and Safety Products should and will lead by example! We wish everyone a safe and happy New Year.

 To learn more about: 

Safety Training Courses visit https://www.northernstrands.com/training.aspx :

  • Below the Hook Rigging
  • Fall Arrest
  • Air Winch Safety
  • Wirelock® Socketing
  • Crosby® Rigging
  • Suspended Access Equipment
  • Overhead Traveling Crane Operator

  • Engineered Fall Protection services visit https://www.northernstrands.com/fall-protection.aspx

    Industrial Rigging, Equipment & Supplies visit https://www.northernstrands.com/wire-rope-rigging.aspx

    or contact us by:
    Phone 306-242-7073
    Email info@northernstrands.com 


    Suspended Access Division completes first job in Ontario

    Recently Evolution Mining purchased the Red Lake Gold Corp mine in Northern Ontario. Northern Strands was contracted to replace the Gold Corp logo on the headframe. Recladding over the existing cladding. North West Industries set up all the cladding before the job and had it logo’d. We had to provide access to hang the sheets. Headframe was about 200’ tall. They couldn’t launch the system off the ground due to the location of hoist ropes and crane location. We had to install the system with the use of the crane. Northern Strands developed a rescue plan as well.

    Our Suspended Access Division can rent out our swing stage equipment or we can quote a job with manpower provided. We also provide Suspended Access Training. 

    Contact us today for a quote:

    Phone: 306-242-7073

    Email: staging@northernstrands.com: 

    Website: https://www.northernstrands.com/suspended-access-systems.aspx

    Suspended Access Brochure: https://www.northernstrands.com/pdf/suspendedaccessbrochure.pdf





    How are Self-Retracting Lifelines rated in Canada, and when you need to recertify them

    At Northern Strands, we are often asked questions regarding Fall Protection regulations and equipment recertification. One of the most common questions we receive is, "How are Self-Retracting Lifelines rated in Canada, and when do we need to recertify them?"

    Here is how the governing body classes and rates SRL’s in Canada. Most of what you will find online is written in the US and the standards they use for fall protection are the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z359 series, in Canada, we go by a different standard, CSA Z259.

    Where SRLs are concerned, the specific volume of the CSA Standards that pertains to them is the CSA Z259.2.2-17 standard. The “-17” part means that it was last updated in 2017, but did not come into force until 2019. 

    This iteration of the standard also introduced a new “revalidation schedule”:

    Type of useApplication ExamplesExample Conditions of UseUser Inspection FrequencyCompetent Person Inspection Frequency Revalidation Frequency
    Infrequent to lightRescue/confined space, factory maintenanceGood storage conditions, indoor use, room temperature, clean environmentsBefore each useAnnuallyAt least every 5 years but not more than the intervals required by the manufacturer
    Moderate to heavyTransportation, residential construction, utilities, warehouseFair storage conditions, indoor & extended outdoor use, various temperatures, clean & dusty environmentsBefore each useSemi-annually to annuallyAt least every 2 years but not more than intervals required by the manufacturer
    Severe to continuousCommercial construction, oil and gas, mining, foundryHarsh storage conditions, prolonged or continuous use, all temperatures, dirty environmentsBefore each useQuarterly to semi-annuallyAt least annually but not more than the intervals required by the manufacturer


    This standard’s predecessor, the Z259.2.2-14, classified SRLs into one of three types:

    Type 1 – SRL length is 3m or less

    Type 2 – SRL Length is greater than 3m, must be recertified 2 years after date of manufacturer and annually thereafter

    Type 3 – SRL is designed with a retrieval system, every manufacturer is different, but it is usually some version of a hand crank on the SRL case. These also were required to be recertified 2 years after the date of manufacturer and annually thereafter


    However, with the publication of the Z259.2.2-17 standard came a new classification system:

    SRL:  Self Retracting Lifelines

    SRL-LE: Self Retracting Lifeline, Leading Edge (where the lifeline might come in contact with a sharp edge or abrasive surface during a fall)

    SRL – R: Self Retracting Lifeline, Rescue (retrieval system on the SRL)

    SRL – LE – R: Self Retracting Lifeline, Leading Edge Rescue (combines the benefits of leading-edge protection and retrieval SRL)

    The confusing part for everyone is that manufacturers are still producing and selling units that meet the specifications of both versions of the standard, but it’s important to know that ultimately either version of the standard is acceptable under provincial legislation. The most important thing is to find an SRL that suits your needs and keeps its users safe. An added benefit of seeking out an SRL that complies with the newer, “-17” version of the standard is that it may not have to be sent in for recertification as frequently depending on the conditions you are using them in.

    Bring your companies SRL's to Northern Strands to have them revalidated / recertified. Or alternatively, you can purchase a new 3M SLR from Northern Strands. 

    Phone: 306-242-7073
    email: sales@northernstrands.com


    What is the Difference Between IPS and EIPS Wire Rope and Why Does it Matter?

    In the past (pre 19th century), most heavy haulage and lifting needs were met by bulky chains or big ropes made of fiber. In the early 1830’s, a mine in Germany dropped a mine conveyance full of ore to the bottom of their mine and it was found that the heavy chains they were using to haul the conveyance to the surface suffered from work hardening and became severely brittle, leading to its failure.

    As time progressed, other nations and people began to experiment with the fabrication of wire rope and, initially, each of them were essentially drawing hot steel through some dyes to create wires which were then laid helically together to form the wire rope. The type of steel that was readily available at the time was the same steel used to create ploughs for agriculture; thus the “Plough Steel” designation was used to denote what grade of steel was used to fabricate the rope.

    Improvements were made to the ingredients of Plough Steel that allowed for a higher tensile strength of the wire rope. This new grade was aptly named, “Improved Plough Steel” or I.P.S. for short. Improved plough steel became the de facto steel to be used until it was once again improved upon, to the point where it is actually difficult to find Plough Steel grade wire rope in inventory at a sling shop.

    Speaking of improvements made to the already Improved Plough Steel, once the recipe was perfected and it was found that wire rope could be made to have some extra strength. What did the powers that be name this new and improved wire rope…You guessed it, “Extra Improved Plough Steel.” EIPS offers approximately 10-15% increases in tensile strength over the old IPS depending on diameter. The higher tensile strength improves the minimum breaking strength of the wire rope. This, of course, will change the breaking strengths of the rigging mines and other industrial uses. This makes it important to know what type of wire rope your rigging is constructed from. If for example, a worker is referencing a sling chart for minimum breaking strength of a sling they should:

    • a) check to see if the chart is referencing IPS  or EIPS 
    • b) know if his sling is IPS or EIPS.
    • Referencing an EIPS chart while lifting with a IPS sling could result in the sling being overloaded and breaking.

    Currently, most rigging shops have transitioned to EIPS or are in the process of doing so. EIPS wire rope should be the standard in a modern day rigging shop and used for rigging such as wire rope slings, winch lines, and wire rope assemblies.


                                                                                      EIPS Sling Chart



    Northern Strands has been a locally owned company for over 50 years. We carry the largest supply of wire rope and rigging in Saskatchewan. Contact us today for a rigging quote or visit our showroom.


    Visit Northern Strands at any of our three locations:

    Saskatoon (Head Office)
    3235 Millar Avenue
    Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3
    Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
    Phone: (306) 242-7073
    Toll Free: (800) 242-7073

    Regina
    125 Henderson Drive
    Regina, SK S4N 5W4
    Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
    Phone: (306) 352-7073
    Fax: (306) 352-9112
    Toll Free: (800) 242-7073
    Email: regina@northernstrands.com  

    Esterhazy
    816 Park Avenue, Esterhazy, SK S0A 0X0
    Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
    Phone: (306) 745-4640
    Inside Sales Email: cgriffin@northernstrands.com

    Should Miners Have Professional Wirelock® Socketing Training? Seems Easy Enough...

    In 1962 there was a breakthrough invention of a revolutionary product that we have all come to know as Wirelock® cold socketing compound. Why was it revolutionary? If a product came along that made it easier and faster to put a stronger termination on a wire rope, it could be argued that a lot of the mining sector would stand to benefit from such a product. 

    Wire rope in and of itself is not very useful. To get any work out of a wire rope, something must attach to each end of it to enable it to pull. This is how most raw materials are brought out of underground mines. Usually one end of the wire rope is fastened to a winding drum and large, bulky thimbles or cappells must be installed on the opposite end to provide an attachment point. Although, where space was limited, some wire ropes would have to be terminated with sockets.

    How sockets were installed (up until 1962 that is), required sliding the socket onto the rope, prepping the rope end, and pulling it down into the socket. The next step was to melt zinc babbit by heating it up to around 427°C to pour it into the socket. The socket itself would also have to be preheated so that the molten zinc would not stick to the socket wall.

    Along came Wirelock®, which is touted as the world’s first “cold-socketing media,” which is much cooler than molten zinc, as it only ever reaches temperatures as high as 100°C after mixing. All of the other steps remain the same, but instead of starting the forge, you just get a stir stick, mix some sand into a pail of resin for 2 minutes, and pour it into the room temperature socket and wait for it to set. 

    Wirelock all but eliminates the possibility of burns and other injuries from resulting from extreme heat of the Zinc process and the only real downside is that mechanical failures and downtime are quite prevalent when Wirelock® ends up in the hands of the untrained. Reading the manual supplied with the Wirelock® and hoping for a good socket is like reading the owner’s manual of your car and expecting to be a good driver. 

    The best way to minimize socket failures when using the Wirelock® socketing media is to ensure that employees have participated in a formal, hands-on training course that reviews the core fundamental principles that everyone should know before they pour a socket that lives depend on.

    The Northern Strands Wirelock® Socketing course reviews the fundamentals from the application manual and includes valuable lessons that we have learned through using this product extensively as a company over the last 50 years. We then walk the students through the process of pouring a socket step-by-step using a 16mm wire rope and corresponding socket.  Once the sockets are complete, they set for the requisite amount of time and then are destructively pull tested to ensure all the steps were followed correctly.

    Put simply, Wirelock® has the potential to be one of (if not the) best ways to terminate wire rope. The benefit of using it can be found across many different industries, but just like any other tool in the toolbox, it needs to be used correctly to fully realize these benefits. An incorrectly poured socket that fails can lead to expensive downtime, injuries and even death should a socket fail.



    Saskatoon (Head Office)
    3235 Millar Avenue
    Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3
    Hours of Operation: 7:30am to 5:00pm Mon - Fri
    Email: training@northernstrands.com 
    Phone: (306) 242-7073
    Toll Free: (800) 242-7073

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    Saskatoon (Head Office)

    • 3235 Millar Avenue
    • Saskatoon, SK S7K 5Y3

    Regina

    • 125 Henderson Drive
    • Regina, SK S4N 5W4

    Esterhazy

    • 816 Park Ave
    • Esterhazy, SK S0A 0X0
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