The Essex, UK based specialty minerals provider previously relied on mounted handrails and risky fall arrest solutions such as ropes and harnesses to safeguard employees.
Relying on personal protective methods such as this are not as safe for workers and are less efficient for the site. On this site, it was vital that Imerys could access the tops of its tankers in order to open the manway covers so the company wanted a system that allowed it to do this as safely as possible.
There were a few challenges that came with this project, the first being that tankers on the site could have up to six manway covers and the client wanted them to all be accessible from one location.
Another challenge was the angle of the top of the tankers. The tankers used by Imerys are a little taller at the front than the back, creating a noticeable slope on the surface being accessed, thus making it harder for IFC to eliminate any and all risk of falling. However, the company was confident that it could come up with a solution that would tackle all of these issues.
The proposed solution was one of IFC’s VertiLev fall prevention systems, including a safety cage, gantry and drive off protection. It used a 10m long safety cage as this matched the longest tanker that the site accommodates. An internal moving gate meant the cage could be adjusted for smaller tankers and so the system could be used on all tankers coming to the site.
IFC designed Imerys’ system to incorporate a tilting mechanism on the cage that meant the railing could be tilted to match the slope of the tankers. By minimising the space between the tanker and the cage IFC also minimised any opportunity for falling from the top of the tanker. The cage, gates and tiling mechanism are all pneumatically powered for ease, efficiency and safety purposes.
The built for purpose gantry allows easy access to the safety cage, giving workers a means of safely reaching the tops of the tankers. The gantry was designed bespoke for the site meaning it fitted perfectly into the space provided for the individual needs and requirements of the site. A drive off protection system prevents unauthorised access to the site as well as putting measures in place to avoid accidental damage cause by driving off before disengaging the system.
IFC planned a week for the entire installation, commissioning and handover process, with site preparation and delivery taking place the previous week. The team was able to complete the project smoothly within five days with the site able to be fully operational and equipment in use the following week.
IFC says the client was thrilled with the system put in place as Imerys is very conscious of the safety of those working on its site. Finding a way to keep workers safe while working atop a tanker was the final step in making the site as safe as possible. The system went on to win an award for the client for the Safer Handling of Inbound & Outbound Materials.
“The feedback from the drivers has been very positive. This was one of the biggest risks we had on site so I am glad we have been able to find a solution to remove that risk,” commented Imerys’ on-site health & safety manager.