Malta Dynamics is a full-service manufacturer of fall protection equipment, including harnesses, lanyards, helmets, safety glasses, and just about anything you would need to protect your workers while they are at height.
However, Malta Dynamics has become known for their XSERIES Mobile Grabber® fall protection unit in recent years. Malta’s CEO, Damian Lang, recognized a need for affordable, reliable, and well-built mobile fall protection equipment. Their goal was to deliver mobile fall protection equipment that is field-driven and field-tested.
The main problem Malta found was the inability for workers to tie off because the only point above them was the sky.
Places where this was an issue included:
- Manufacturing plants
- Airplane facilities
- Roofing industry
In this article, we’ll answer the following questions:
- What is The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
- How much training is required to use The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
- What are the unique features and benefits to using The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
- When and how do you inspect The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
- How much additional fall protection gear is needed to use The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
What Is The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® Fall Protection Unit?
The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® Mobile Fall Protection Unit is a piece of equipment used to provide tie-off points for workers at height who otherwise have no points to connect to that is above their working surface. In the last seven years, Malta Dynamics designed multiple models that provide tie-off points for between one and five workers at one time.
The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® meets OSHA fall protection anchorage codes and ANSI Z359.6 design requirements for fall arrest systems, and has been validated by an independent third-party ISO 17025 testing laboratory.
How Was The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® Developed?
In those early models, The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® was described “as a little green machine” with wheels on it, but nothing of what it is today. While the original unit does not quite resemble one manufactured today, it had a far-reaching effect on Malta, most notably, in getting the conversation going on what improvements needed to be made.
From that initial model, Malta then developed the X1240 Series with an early footprint of 11’. That has since been reduced to 5’9”, and it was one of many improvements made to The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®.
It used to have a sliding counterweight, which made them very easy to tow, but at the same time, was more of a hindrance in setting up the units. The sliding counterweights were removed to simplify the setup and operation of the unit.
Why Is The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® Gaining Popularity?
Improvements made to The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® have resulted in increased interest from companies who want to use this unit, or one of the similar models, to provide mobile fall protection for workers at height.
Along with giving users a tie-off point, three main reasons for the increased popularity include:
- Availability for rental or sale
- User-friendly maintenance level
- Easy setup
Once you arrive on site, back The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® up to your hazard, put your riggers down, and get the unit within two degrees of level. After undoing the two ratchet straps, you then raise the mast to eye level and inspect all of the anchor points.
After checking all anchor points for proper operation, you will install your SRL (self-retracting lifeline) and tagline to the snap hook. Then, you’re going to raise the mast in the air to the working height you need. You want to keep the SRL in tension at all times.
How Much Training Is Required to Use The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
Malta Dynamics recommends going through their manufacturer-based training, and believes it is “essential” to the successful and safe use for The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®.
During this training program, you will learn about:
- Basic operation of The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®
- Swing fall
- How to make your rescue plan before you face the hazard
- What you need to do if there is an accident
- How you will conduct a rescue
What Controls Are Available for The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
There are two options to control the setup.
You can use a 15’ corded pendant, or choose the wireless remote option, and each choice features a simple, easy-to-use button pad. You have two boom buttons, one to lower and the other to raise the mast and a power button. Two telescope buttons are available on select models to extend or retract the telescope when you reach the desired height for use.
The X1240 model has only up and down options for the boom, as it does not have the ability to extend its tie-out points. The X1250 and X1260 have the ability to extend out 5’ with a telescoping arm, and their remotes feature five buttons.
What Are the Unique Features and Benefits to Using The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
In addition to its ease of use, The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® offers users many other features and benefits.
Friction-drive motors are one of the most popular options for The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®, and they clamp onto the tires of the unit. Then, with your wireless remote, you will have the ability to rotate the unit 360°. If you’re in a tight space where you cannot get a forklift, you’re likely not going to be able to trailer The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® into the desired location for a fall protection system.
Along with the 360° rotation, these units have crane pick points. If you just can’t get The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® into place by trailering it on site, there are four designated crane pick points that allow the unit to be lifted and placed on:
- Building roofs
- Other elevated working surfaces
While overhead fall protection is its main goal, The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® is more than a fall protection unit, as it can help with confined space rescue, too. The Razorback system, which is mounted to the rear of the unit, is a 100’ three-way rescue system. Each XSERIES Mobile Grabber® unit can handle two of the Razorback systems.
In the event you need to rescue a worker, whether its confined space or you have a fall, you pull a pin to release the Razorback’s handle. Then, you can access the winch and raise or lower that worker to safety.
What Applications Are the Perfect Fit for The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
Currently, Malta Dynamics is seeing a large number of rentals in the construction industry. The rentals are being done by companies routinely doing flatbed truck offloading or other material handling industries with a work-at-height hazard.
Additionally, The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® is being used more commonly in:
- Airport hangers for maintenance
- Power generation when companies are conducting maintenance tasks around their facilities, and in the field, including at substations with no tie-off points above the elevated work surface
- Repairs on heavy equipment
- Confined space situations
- Open trench environments for rescue
Are There Any Bad-Fit Applications?
The main limitation for The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® is its size.
While the product’s footprint is small for what it is and what it does — 5’9” wide and up to 15’6” in length — it’s not quite so small that it can fit in every application. Also, there are times where people say, “You know, I just need this thing to be 2’ taller.”
Although some models of The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® are not good for environments with severe space limitations, there are other options available for your mobile fall protection needs. The X500 is a single-person unit. It has a footprint of about 5’6” by 5’6”, goes up to 20’ in height and has a 10’ reach.
What Is the Inspection Criteria for The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
Before using The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®, you need to conduct a pre-use inspection. Malta Dynamics includes a manual with the unit, which is located to the rear of the battery box, and in that manual, there is a checklist for pre-use inspections. Depending on the model of The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® you are inspecting, there are 11 or 13 checkpoints that need to be examined before each use.
There is nothing too complex about the inspections, i.e. to say you will not be checking torque on the bolts. This is just a simple once-over to make sure there’s none of the following:
- Structural damage
- Hydraulic leaks
- Anchor point instability
In addition to the pre-use inspections, Malta Dynamics requires an annual inspection conducted by a competent person. This is someone who has gone through the OSHA-competent training and has knowledge of the unit. Malta recommends the person that does the inspection also has gone through the manufacturer’s training.
Inspections After a Fall Occurs
If The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® is used to arrest a fall, you will need an OSHA-competent person to inspect the unit. If needed, Malta Dynamics will come out and do a field inspection for you, and structural damage will be their focal point.
The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® comes with a one-year limited warranty, but a five-year structural warranty.
If you have any structural damage, your XSERIES Mobile Grabber® needs to be taken out of service. If it is determined that the unit is structurally sound, it can be put back into service. However, you will need to change the anchor point where you had the fall. If you contact Malta Dynamics, they can send you a new anchor point to bolt onto the unit.
What Are the Maintenance Requirements for The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
There are three main points of emphasis for maintenance on The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®. You must check your hydraulic fluid, and on every unit, there’s a magnet on the top of the battery box lid that will tell you what type of fluid you’re using and how much the system takes. All of the information is available in a very convenient and easy-to-use format.
Also, you want to check the water level of your 12-volt deep cycle batteries. You want to make sure the water level is about a ¼” above those cells.
Then, there are several Zerk fittings throughout the unit. Those need to be greased regularly to help maximize the lifecycle of The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®.
What Other Fall Protection Gear Is Needed to Use The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®?
To use The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®, you will need a full-body harness, and you want to be sure that full-body harness has been inspected and approved for use, and is inspected before use. Additionally, you want to make sure it fits you securely and properly. Also, Malta offers training to help you find a proper-fitting harness.
Then, you want to use a Class B SRL or something equivalent. The main goal of this SRL is to limit the maximum arresting force to 900 lbs. or less on the worker in the event of a fall. Also, you want to use basic PPE (personal protective equipment) as required for your specific tasks in addition to those needed to use The XSERIES Mobile Grabber®.
How Does The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® Compare to Other Types of Mobile Fall Protection?
While there are some similar units in the market, The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® is a trailered piece of mobile fall protection equipment, which makes it more accessible to job sites. Malta Dynamics believes The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® stands apart from the competition because it is easily moveable, can reach a height of 34’, and has a maximum stretch of 9’8”. With another unit already in development, Malta Dynamics is preparing to reach new heights.
Also, Malta has found the ease of setup and use are huge selling points. Once the unit is on site and setup is complete, you will be ready to work in less than five minutes. This is a rugged, durable unit developed through years of engineering and designing.
The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® can be used in any form, any stage on its way up, from 2’ off the ground up to its maximum height, whether that’s 22’, 30’ or 34’ depending on the model you purchase. It can be used in any configuration on the way up or down.
How Has The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® Made Fall Protection Easier to Use?
“How are we going to get this set up and not cost us a day?”
The issue was not people looking to avoid tying off while working at height, or companies not wanting to provide a solution for their employees. They just didn’t know what to do sometimes, or aren’t aware that solutions do exist. Malta Dynamics is trying to make consumers more aware that The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® exists, and that includes monthly free LinkedIn live demonstrations of the units.
Actually, Malta Dynamics has had customers say, “Look, we thought this was going to be a battle.” However, what project managers have found is when workers see how easy it is to set up The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® and go to work, it acts as an encouragement for people to use and take care of their fall protection equipment.
Malta Dynamics commonly hears the following from customers: “If it’s hard, workers are not going to put on or use the fall protection equipment.” With this unit, you back it up to the fall protection hazard, set it up, tie off, and you’re safe on your way up to the hazard, not just while you’re working at height.
Helping the workers understand why mobile fall protection use is necessary is pivotal to their adopting better practices when working at height. Malta Dynamics trainers and Mazzella FHS Fall Protection Specialists are trying to break the old way of thinking about fall protection, combating the ideas of:
- We’ve never done it before
- It’s such a pain to setup and tie-off
How Can Mazzella FHS Help You with The XSERIES Grabber®?
Mazzella FHS has custom-configured several types of fall protection systems for businesses across the country that have diverse needs based on their working conditions. Also, we are a distributor of The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® fall protection units and have helped several customers select and use these pieces of equipment in the field.
Mazzella is a leading supplier and installer of engineered fall protection systems in the U.S., as well as a distributor of soft goods like harnesses, lanyards, self-retracting lifelines, scaffolding and netting. All of our engineered systems and products meet or exceed the federal criteria required by OSHA and ANSI and can be customized with your individual fall protection and financial needs in mind.
We specialize in site analysis and evaluation, as well as employee training for equipment installed or products sold. Also, we offer general training, system inspection, documentation storage, and procedure development, like rescue plans.
Call us at 800.362.4601, or click here to contact a Mazzella FHS Fall Protection Specialist for more information on The XSERIES Mobile Grabber® fall protection equipment.
We are a leading supplier and installer of engineered fall protection systems in the U.S., as well as a distributor of soft goods like harnesses, lanyards, self-retracting lifelines, scaffolding and netting. All of our engineered systems and products meet or exceed the federal criteria required by OSHA and ANSI and can be customized with your individual fall protection and financial needs in mind.
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