Leading rope access specialist Skyriders has supplied a fall-arrest solution for a contractor undertaking maintenance at a massive petrochemical storage facility in southern Gauteng.
Maintenance was essential at the storage tanks due to suspected water leaks on the roofs, which posed a potential hazard of fuel contamination, explains Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn. Another company was contracted to undertake the specialist maintenance work itself.
“We were requested to provide a fall-arrest solution to allow the appointed contractor to carry out the necessary work safely, in addition to having a team on standby for any rescue situations,” Zinn elaborates.
In terms of the latter, Skyriders deployed a technician with Level 3 IWH certification, which is the highest level of rope-access training. Initially the team on-site comprised eight people, with three demobilised at the end of May. The contract commenced in early March, and was completed within three months.
Zinn highlights that the solution provided by Skyriders comprised temporary horizontal lifelines, consisting of cables and slings. “While the concept of a fall-arrest system is quite simple, there are a few critical factors to take into consideration,” he notes.
These include the number of people that the lifelines are meant to service, as this dictates the overall strength of the system required. “You also have to ensure that the actual anchor points are strong enough. In other words, the structural steel used to secure the system must be able to take the total load,” Zinn points out.
“If you have three people on a lifeline, you need to take into account a worst-case scenario of all three people falling at the same time, with all three generating a shock load. Normally we allow for a safety factor of ten.
Zinn stresses that, from an end-user perspective, it is imperative that the client understands its own obligations in ensuring that all personnel are medically fit, in addition to having the necessary IWH accreditation for basic fall arrest and fall arrest with rescue.
“It must be a complete system. Skyriders, as a responsible and reputable IWH member, cannot just install a lifeline that is safe to use, within design limitations, and then walk away. We have a basic duty of care to instruct the client about the requirements of the fall-arrest system as a whole.”
It is in this area of specialist advice and expertise that Skyriders excels, as it has a unique flexibility in not only being able to provide customised solutions, but also in providing the necessary training and equipment if need be, Zinn concludes.
Skyriders (Pty) Ltd, established in 1998, is a leader in the South African rope access industry, providing cost- and time-saving solutions to clients in the power generation and petrochemical industries who require rope access aided inspection, NDT and maintenance work to be done in difficult to reach, high-up locations.
Skyriders Marketing Manager
Phone: (011) 312 1418
NGAGE Public Relations
Phone: (011) 867-7763
Fax: 086 512 3352
Cell: 083 4088 911