Skyriders Access Specialists (Pty) Ltd. was recently called upon to carry out consultancy work at a major project at a platinum smelter. According to South Africa’s construction regulations, any workplace involving a risk of a fall must have a verified fall-protection plan drafted by a competent person accredited by the Institute for Work at Height (IWH).
This plan encompasses the entire site, the scope of work, and the different personnel involved during that work, Skyriders Marketing Manager Mike Zinn explains. The client had a number of contractors on-site for this particular project, and hence the planning had to take work-at-height into consideration.
“The main contractor wanted to verify that the fall-protection plan in place was sufficiently comprehensive, and complied with all of the necessary health and safety standards and regulations pertaining to work-at-height in particular,” Zinn highlights.
Skyriders dispatched its own highly-experienced Safety Manager to site, who spent a day ascertaining the scope of the project and the client’s specific requirements. For example, general fall-arrest principles require workers to wear a safety harness for any work-at-height.
The fall-protection plan encompasses appointment letters for all contractors on-site, a detailed risk assessment of the scope of work, and a full record of any training conducted and competencies verified. For example, a worker cannot carry out any work-at-height if they have not undertaken a certified fall-arrest course.
In addition, medical certificates have to be secured for all workers involved in any work-at-height. This requirement is especially stringent with mining operations, due to the arduous operating environments and the attendant hazards and risks. Also, all equipment to be deployed on-site has to be deemed as being fit-for-purpose, as well as having been properly stored, tested, and inspected.
“We also examine the access techniques that are to be used, such as rope access, scaffolding, man boxes, cherry pickers, or cranes. Lastly, a rescue plan needs to be outlined that includes an evacuation plan and appropriate rescue techniques,” Zinn elaborates.
Skyriders often carries out such consultancy work as a value-added service for its clients. Due to the rope-access specialist’s experience and skills in this area, it is able to sign off on fall-protection plans, for example, which means that the client has peace of mind that any risk in this regard has been ameliorated.