Northern Strands
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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
Phone: (306) 242-7073
Toll Free: (800) 242-7073

Should Outrigger Tiebacks for Powered Suspended Access Equipment Be Wire Rope?

In the industry there is a misconception that portable outrigger beams and parapet clamps being used with powered suspended access equipment can be tied back using fibre rope, and often times it is old vertical lifeline rope that is used for this application.  However, using rope in this application is an incorrect practice.

Under the national CSA Safety Code For Suspended Platforms, the tieback cables for portable outriggers and parapet clamps must be of equal strength as the primary suspension rope.  Since most powered climbers use a 5/16” or 8.4mm diameter wire rope that has a breaking strength of 10,000+lbs, the use of 5/8” polysteel lifeline (which has a breaking strength of only 9,000 lbs when new) is not adequate.  In addition to that, ropes are usually terminated at the anchors with knots, and ANY knot will reduce the strength of rope by at least 25%.  While ropes of the proper strength and construction (and when terminated with the proper approved knots) can be used with rope access systems and manual bosun’s chairs, they should never be used with any powered suspended equipment that has wire rope as the primary suspension line.

At Northern Strands, we will always supply the proper tieback cables and wire rope clips for this connection, and provide complete instruction on proper rigging of tieback cables as part of our Suspended Access Equipment Training course.

The picture below shows an example of a correct outrigger tieback with wire rope

For more information visit

"Northern Strands is proudly Saskatoon, Saskatchewan owned and operated."

Do You Need a Commercial Roofing Fall Protection Plan?

Over the last few decades worker safety in Canada has become an area of utmost importance for our government, companies and workers.   Worker fall protection safety has been a particular area of focus in safety regulations and culture across Saskatchewan and Canada

Did you know that Saskatchewan's Occupational Health and Safety Regulations states that, "An employer or contractor shall develop a written fall protection plan where:
(a) a worker may fall three metres or more; and
(b) workers are not protected by a guardrail or similar barrier."?

What constitutes a fall protection plan or system?  OH&S regulations state, "The fall protection plan required by subsection (1) must describe:
(a) the fall hazards at the worksite;
(b) the fall protection system to be used at the worksite;
(c) the procedures used to assemble, maintain, inspect, use and disassemble the fall protection system; and
(d) the rescue procedures to be used if a worker falls, is suspended by a personal fall arrest system or safety net and needs to be rescued.
(3) The employer or contractor shall ensure that a copy of the fall protection plan is readily available before work begins at a worksite where a risk of falling exists.
(4) The employer or contractor shall ensure that a worker is trained in the fall protection plan and the safe use of the fall protection system before allowing the worker to work in an area where a fall protection system must be used."

Northern Strands Engineered Fall Protection Division recently completed a job where we installed an Engineered Fall Protection System for a commercial rooftop.  We completed the installation of two force management anchors on a standing seam roof.  Standing seam clamps are attached to the roof top. Bearer bars bridge the gap between two standing seams.  Anchor plates are the riveted to the bearer bars and the pull tested. Finally the anchors are assembled on the anchor plate and torqued.  These rooftop anchors are now ready for the customers use.

If you have questions regarding commercial rooftop fall protection plans, please contact the Engineered Fall Protection Division of Northern Strands at 306.242.7073, email or visit our webpage

Northern Strands is COR safety certified and is a Mission Zero Charter Member

We are proudly Saskatoon, Saskatchewan owned and operated.

Northern Strands recieves high praise from Winsafe!

Northern Strands and it's employees recently received a letter of thanks and appreciation from Winsafe  Corp. regarding the launch of the SaskPower Poplar River Boiler Maintenance Work Platform (BMWP).  Northern Strands Suspended Access and Training divisions were instrumental in the successful launch of the BMWP.

Below is the testimonial letter from Winsafe:

"I would like to take a moment to thank you, Northern Strands, and the Northern Strands team for their contributions to the recent successful first launch of the SaskPower Poplar River Boiler Maintenance Work Platform (BMWP).

As you may be aware, while in transit to Saskatchewan, a number of training, certification, and documentation requirements were conveyed to us. Ray Nemethi’s efforts on the ground while our team was in the air were instrumental in making it possible for our employees to be able to perform work at the SaskPower site and to be in a position to successfully perform the launch. It clearly tooka great deal of coordination in a short period of time, and we are very thankful for those efforts.

Also, Ryan Green was able to travel to our hotel in Assiniboia on equally short notice to provide Fall Arrest and Confined Space certification training. We were impressed with his presentation and teaching skills and are likewise thankful for his efforts and his flexibility.

This project carries a very high profile and has been of significant importance for both of our organizations. The efforts put forth by Ray, Ryan, and other behind-the-scenes members of the Northern Strands team are certainly solid reminders of why we are pleased to be partnered with you."

What a great testimonial letter from Winsafe!   Thank you Winsafe!

Northern Strands is proudly Saskatoon, Saskatchewan owned and operated and are the official supplier of Winsafe products in Canada.



Northern Strands featured in Business and Industry Magazine!

Northern Strands is on the cover of Business and Industry Magazine!  We are featured in the Mining edition of the magazine.  It's our 45th Anniversary and this is a great start to the year.  This is an exciting time for Northern Strands.  Check out the fantastic cover!  You might recognize him...

The article mentions all 5 divisions of Northern Strands and how we have evolved into the company we are today.   Mining and Attachments, General Rigging, Engineered Fall Protection, Suspended Access and Training are all referenced.   Very interesting article with some great quotes from our owner, Mr. Clarke.

Here is the link to the PDF of the article! 

Northern Strands cover page and article in Business and Industry Magazine.pdf (2.37 mb)


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  • Saskatoon, S7K 8G8


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