Safe Use of Powered Capstans

Thistle Marine are committed to ensuring the safety of our products and our clients on-going safe use of them.

The UK Health & Safety Executive have issued recommendations for the safe use of Capstans as follows:

“All capstans feature dangerous rotating components. Capstans are difficult to guard, so it is vital that all workers must be made to stand well away from the danger zone while they are in use.
This can be achieved by measures including careful design of the capstans and surrounding work area, for example to keep foot-pedals well away from rotating components.
Here, it is fortunate that an alert co-worker successfully operated an emergency stop device on the capstan, preventing further injury”


In response to the HSE guidelines and from what we have witnessed in the field with equipment supplied by other companies, Thistle Marine have brought to market a bespoke hydraulic bi-directional variable speed foot pedal to assist in the safe use of Capstans.
We recommended that all Capstans are operated via a foot pedal which is installed a safe distance away from the capstan to ensure that when in use the operator is away from the danger zone of the rotating drum.
The Thistle Marine foot pedal features a “dead mans” operation which means that the capstan will stop immediately once the operators foot is removed from the pedal.

We have witnessed many foot pedals that have the pedal above deck and the valve below the deck this makes for a non-straightforward installation and difficult serviceability and inspection.


old capstan photo   old style foot pedal

The Thistle Marine foot pedal is straightforward to install as it is a one piece unit which is fitted entirely above deck and can be retro fitted quickly and easily to existing vessels which don’t comply with the HSE recommendations

thistle foot pedal

To view our recommended foot pedal please click here: