Rope access makes cooling tower repair and maintenance a breeze

15 January 2016
A well-maintained cooling tower is essential for optimal system performance. Leading rope access specialist Skyriders is demonstrating the most efficient way of achieving this result in a project to repair a 140-m-high cooling tower at a petrochemical plant in Secunda, Mpumalanga.
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The petrochemical plant engaged the services of Aveng Grinaker-LTA, a specialist in concrete repairs, to execute the project. Aveng Grinaker LTA, in turn, saw the need to utilise rope access in order to reduce the downtime incurred and increase the overall safety of the project.

“We have been assisting Aveng Grinaker-LTA with rope access related services for a few years,” Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn comments. The project commenced in November 2014 and is scheduled for completion by mid-2016. Rope access allowed the team to move freely, while affording a great deal of flexibility on the massive cooling towers, thereby accelerating the project’s progress.

Skyriders’ scope of work on the project comprised installing life lines, assisting with the installation of access systems, removing loose concrete that posed a risk to maintenance, acting as a standby rescue team, as well as assisting with the maintenance and inspection of the temporary access systems supplied by the other sub-contractor, Riggers Steeple Jacks (Pty) Ltd.

According to Zinn, one of Skyriders’ main focus areas is that of standby rescue in the event of any emergency situation. A 9-m-high structural scaffold was installed by Skyriders for such rescue purposes, and also used to familiarise the project team with the site conditions.

“Working at height poses many challenges. For this project, we were faced with a total height of 140 m, in addition to the dangers posed by loose concrete, the wet and slippery conditions, plus the shape of the cooling tower, along with ensuring that we adhered to the project timeframe,” Zinn elaborates.

The Skyriders team on-site consisted of rope access technicians with temporary suspended platform (ITP) supervisors training, who boast solid rope access and concrete skills. The company adheres to strict ISO rope access standards, in addition to complying with Aveng Grinaker-LTA’s own safety requirements, as well as providing additional training for the project teams.

Skyriders is not only accredited by the Institute of Work at Heights (IWH), but all of its technicians are trained in accordance with its regulations. “Delivering a quality service while adhering to a strict deadline, all against the background of 100% compliance with all safety requirements and standards, is our motto,” Zinn concludes.



Notes to the Editor
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About 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.

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Skyriders Contact
Mike Zinn
Skyriders Marketing Manager
Phone: (011) 312 1418
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