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TROTECH demonstrates its commitment to safety at refinery

On 7 June 2024, the TROTECH Astron Energy Maintenance Team achieved two years of injury-free performance at Astron Energy’s state-of-the-art refinery in Cape Town, Western Cape

Team members are entrusted with and held accountable for correctly implementing measures to mitigate risks that have been identified in daily risk assessments undertaken by TROTECH management and Astron Energy representatives

On 7 June 2024, the TROTECH Astron Energy Maintenance Team achieved two years of injury-free performance at Astron Energy’s state-of-the-art refinery in Cape Town, Western Cape

21st June 2024

     

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TROTECH, the country’s leading provider of specialist bulk tank design, procurement and construction services, recently recorded a major safety milestone on a strategic tank maintenance contract for southern Africa’s foremost supplier of petroleum products.

On 7 June 2024, the TROTECH Astron Energy Maintenance Team achieved two years of injury-free performance at Astron Energy’s state-of-the-art refinery in Cape Town, Western Cape. This impressive feat again reaffirms TROTECH’s unwavering commitment to health and safety, underpinned by parent company, Murray & Dickson Group’s, core values, namely:

  • “Be Safe”
  • “Do It Right ”
  • “Find the Best Way”
  • “Do What you Say”
  • “Khula Nathi”

TROTECH has been providing expert tank maintenance services to Astron Energy since 2011. The contract harnesses many of the extensive skills and experience that are housed within the company. These enable TROTECH to deliver quality tank maintenance services in a cost-competitive and healthy and safe manner. The latter remains a key requirement for Astron Energy when appointing service providers. Ensuring the health and safety of employees and those of its contractors; visitors; and the general public is a non-negotiable for the petroleum products supplier.

Over the past 13 years, TROTECH has refurbished more than 40 tanks in the refinery and tank farm. These include floating- and cone-roof tanks, as well as one open-roof structure. Storing a variety of raw materials and petroleum products, they range in diameters of between 10,67m and 54,86 m and heights from 9,76 m to 17,07m.

It is an extensive undertaking that typically entails installing new tank floors, as well as dome and external and internal floating roofs. This is in addition to replacing the top strakes; wind girders; stairways; gauge platforms; foam systems; and shell nozzles.

Zaid Wehr, Project Manager of TROTECH, says that a strong culture of health and safety has been ingrained in every aspect of the company, spanning all the way from the board room to the various roles fulfilled by individual team members on site. “Management has always understood the value of health and safety in ensuring the well-being of our people, who are key to the prosperity of the company. By leading from the front, management sets an example to all employees that ‘around here, safety begins with me’, an M&D Group Unwritten Ground Rule (UGR),” Wehr says.

This strong health and safety culture is constantly reinforced by TROTECH management team’s hands-on leadership approach. A representative is always on site to engage employees and encourage them to always give their best. Management is also present in daily morning “toolbox talks”. In addition to being a way of keeping employees focused on the importance of health and safety, this approach demonstrates management’s commitment to the wellbeing of employees. This ensures high motivation and engagement levels because staff know that they are valued.

Furthermore, health and safety training courses are regularly facilitated to refresh employees’ knowledge of health and safety basics. “During all of these sessions, we remind team members of a long-standing company motto which is: ‘you are your brother’s keeper’ and another M&D UGR, namely ‘around here, you can count of me’. Caring for one another and acting in each other’s interest also drives a productive and positive working environment. This is in addition to one in which employees know that they are safe because everyone is following the rules,” Stephen Roberts, Construction Manager of TROTECH, says.

Promoting a culture of health and safety that transcends mere compliance also means that employees know that they are obligated to report infringements. They can do so without fear of reprisal – even if this means that production will have to be brought to a stop. This is exactly the mindset that management has instilled among employees via an “open-door” policy and by always being available on worksites. Employees are also rewarded for alerting management and colleagues about unsafe practices. This is a sound example of yet another M&D UGR, namely “around here, the right way is the only way”, and how the TROTECH team lives the group’s core values.

It is even easier to do so when there is already strong comradery between team members, most of whom have been working for the company for many years. Some employees are even the sons and grandsons of retired members of the team members. They too wanted to work for a company that values its employees and rewards hard work and dedication.

“We are a family away from home. We celebrate one another’s achievements and are willing to help whenever team members are struggling. This culture has enhanced communication and teamwork, which are essential for maintaining a productive, as well as healthy and safe work environment. Clear and open communication lines facilitate effective collaboration, enabling employees to identify potential hazards and address them promptly,” Mark Gain, TROTECH’s Safety Manager.

Certainly, the high level of competence of the team of between 20 and 50 employees working on this contract also contributes to a safer work environment. A case in point are the many skilled riggers employed by TROTECH who know how to work at height in a safe manner.

The company also continues to invest in quality training to develop, hone and refine the skills of existing employees so that they can climb the ranks into leadership positions. In this way,

they can transfer their wealth of industry knowledge, including “soft” skills that are mainly acquired from on-the-job experience to new recruits. A case in point is the many young talented and driven individuals who TROTECH recruited from communities located within the operational footprint to work on this contract. They have received excellent training in various critical trades, such as welding. This has also bolstered TROTECH’s large team of very proficient welders. Under the watch of the company’s more seasoned employees, the most industrious of the group have since been promoted to foremen and supervisors. This is an example of Khula Nathi and an associated M&D UGR, namely “around here, we grow, you succeed”, at work.

Team members are also entrusted with and held accountable for correctly implementing measures to mitigate risks that have been identified in daily risk assessments undertaken by TROTECH management and Astron Energy representatives. This is especially important in Cape Town with its many “micro-climates” and wind speeds that can reach 160km/hr. In this way, employee buy-in is achieved. By understanding the importance of these rules, staff follow them without objection. They do so not avoid punishment, but because they value their own life and livelihood and those of their colleagues. Taking full responsibility for their correct implementation, team members also exercise their leadership skills by motivating co-workers to keep alert.

Communicated to the team during morning “toolbox” talks, these measures strengthen the thorough risk assessment undertaken by Gain, Wehr and Roberts before the company mobilised to site to commence working on the contract. It details all of the risks associated with the various work that needs to be performed and how to mitigate them.

It is exactly this hands-on approach by Astron Energy that has also played an immense role in TROTECH achieving this commendable milestone. Astron Energy views its service providers as partners and is willing to assist them as far as possible to achieve their contractual obligations, while also maintaining the highest possible health and safety standards on site.

Client representatives are in constant contact with TROTECH management on a daily basis to troubleshoot and address any unforeseen challenges.

To show its appreciation for the team’s unwavering commitment to ensuring a healthy and safe site, client representatives awarded a trophy and certificate to the TROTECH team at a “braai” to mark this important occasion. Staff also received company jackets for the role that they are playing in upholding M&D Group’s core values.

“M&D Group has again demonstrated that when management and employees, as well as the client share the common goals of personal safety – and not just compliance – construction can be safe. This is despite the inherent risks associated with this work. We have developed a safety culture that transcends merely protecting the group from fines and incident reports.

Rather, we are invested in safeguarding our most valuable resources – the M&D Group ‘family’ – from harm,” Rukesh Raghubir, M&D Group CEO, concludes.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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