- Skyriders (0.04 MB)
Rope-access specialist Skyriders has provided a working-at-height safety solution for a contractor undertaking maintenance at the Sappi Ngodwana pulp-and-paper mill in Mpumalanga.
It follows an earlier successful projects in 2016 whereby Skyriders undertook inspection and repair work on the ducting between the boilers and the smoke stacks as well platform installations inside a smoke stack at the mill. This is a fully-integrated kraft mill producing pulp for newsprint and containerboard, as well as for in-house use, with a capacity of 210 000 t a year.
Skyriders Marketing Manager Mike Zinn explains that the rope-access specialist was called upon to assist a contractor undertaking maintenance on a tower-crane platform. Due to the height of the platform, a working-at-height safety solution was necessary.
A senior Level 3 rope access supervisor and technical manager were dispatched to site to come up with the optimal solution. “We had a bracket system designed and then fabricated that was strapped to the vertical column of the tower crane itself that the team could hook into. Thus they could undertake all of the necessary maintenance while attached to this temporary lifeline system that was essentially just bolted onto the tower crane,” Zinn elaborates.
In addition, Skyriders briefed the team on basic working-at-height safety requirements, and how best to use the customised system it had devised for Sappi. The fast-track two-day project was completed in January, and represents its ongoing involvement with the pulp-and-paper giant.
Zinn comments that rope access has allowed Sappi to achieve significant cost-savings in terms of its maintenance and repair requirements. “Scaffolding on the other hand is costly and time-consuming, and disproportionately expensive compared to the scope of work.”
Given the successful working relationship between Sappi and Skyriders to date, Zinn is confident of Skyriders’ continued involvement with, and further diversification into, the pulp-and-paper industry. Additional projects include work on a new cellulose plant, as well as a recovery boiler.