Maintenance personnel performing tasks in underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, and silos typically enter the work area through long, narrow access points measuring less than 24’ in diameter. In the safety world, these working conditions are termed “confined space” applications. Confined space presents two basic challenges; providing a safe means of entrance and exit and providing for rescue if an employee succumbs to hazardous atmospheric conditions or sustains an injury. Davit arms solve both problems by allowing topside workers to assist with the controlled descent and ascent of a co-worker from a confined work space.
Davit arms fall into two main categories: fixed and portable systems. As the name suggests, fixed davit arms are permanently mounted in confined space areas requiring frequent maintenance. Access is a simple matter of tying off, removing the cover protecting the hole, and lowering the worker into position. Portable systems are ideal for work areas requiring infrequent access or in instances when a permanent installation will cause congestion. Until recently, workers had to choose between the secure connection and larger physical footprint of a permanent system versus the convenience of a portable or temporary davit arm.