An on-line training course that will enable customers to perform their own annual product inspections has been launched by Henriksen Hooks of Tønsberg, Norway.
In what is believed to be a first for SOLAS regulated lifting gear, users of Henriksen Hooks are now able to undertake an on-line training course that will teach them how to inspect their products for safety-critical defects. They will then be qualified to submit a completed check-list that details the condition of various Henriksen products that they may own. These may include the range of off-load lifting hooks, towing hooks and painter hooks. When the inspection check-list has been approved by Henriksen the hook will deemed to comply with SOLAS regulations.
The introduction of remote training for SOLAS certification inspections is seen as a way of overcoming the shortfall in the inspections that occur every year. Henriksen readily admits that the cost and logistical complications of contracting a Henriksen inspector to perform the checks is a deterrent for many companies even though they may want to comply with all safety commitments.
Henriksen sales manager, Ole-Rasmus Undrum, explained the difficulty. “There are roughly 10,000 Henriksen hooks in use around the world yet we believe that only a minority of the hooks are inspected by qualified personnel. We believe that this is because it necessarily costs several thousand Krone to get an inspector to the vessel just to perform an inspection. Hook users may want to comply with the SOLAS requirements but they often cannot cover this cost and choose to neglect the inspection as a result.
“Hook inspections are not seen as a revenue-earner for Henriksen, we just want to ensure that our products are safe to use. It is for this reason that we have devised an on-line training course. For just Kr 3000 (USD $ 385.00) someone can now be trained to undertake the necessary inspection tasks on behalf of their company so that each year they can submit an annual inspection form for the hook that they can certify.”
The on-line course combines clear graphics, animation and video clips with a straightforward English commentary that makes it interesting and easy to follow for non-native English speakers. It takes about two hours to complete and shows the student how to inspect any hook in the Henriksen range. This includes direction on what to look for during a visual inspection such as structural deformation, welding cracks and defective springs. If the student can submit a report to confirm that the hook is free of defects Henriksen will issue its annual approval. Every five years all hooks must still be given an in-depth inspection in the Henriksen factory to renew its warranty.
Henriksen Hooks are manufactured in a modern factory beside the Oslo fjord in Norway where there is a tradition of high quality engineering for the maritime industry. The company is well known as a specialist in the manufacture of single point lifting hooks for which it enjoys an unblemished safety record. The company’s reputation is known to provide reassurance to boat crews around the world when they see the Henriksen name on a hook that their lives may be depending on. Whatever type of Henriksen hook is being used, vessel owners are aware that the entire weight of the boat, its passengers, crew and cargo are dependent upon the integrity of a single, relatively small piece of metal. Because of this, ship owners are always advised that they should never be tempted to cut corners with the quality or design of any hooks that they install and that they should ensure that their maintenance is carried-out professionally and on time.