Tag Archives: complex dismantling

Total Petrochemicals UK Ltd

The Polystryrene Plant of Total Petrochemicals UK stopped production in 2013. The site was to be demolished and a small team of employees were retained to oversee the project. After some initial training in demolition it became apparent that specialist assistance was required to help our staff but also in order to comply with legislation in terms of competence and CDM regulations.

After competitive tender, RVA were appointed to the role of CDM-C for the project.

RVA provided a very competent team of staff to see us through the hazards, they worked alongside our site knowledge with their demolition expertise. RVA ensured that the demolition contractor followed appropriate method statements and completed risk assessments.

I would recommend the use of RVA in the role of CDM-C.

 

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Working at height – a different angle

We recently had the opportunity to comment in leading publication Health and Safety Matters on the importance of maintaining a robust stance on work at height and in particular the dangers that exist when erecting, operating or maintaining plant and equipment. A topic at the forefront of every project.

“Work at Height Regulations are widely communicated within the construction and demolition environment, given the potential dangers that exist when operating on fragile roofs or near unfenced edges for example.

Over time the concept has become more comprehensively understood. Industry managers and employees are increasingly, albeit slowly, acknowledging that working at height covers every scenario, at or below ground level, where they could fall and become injured. Yet still it remains a root cause of many major injuries and fatalities, which shows further work is needed.

One area where work at height considerations have taken somewhat longer to come to the fore is the maintenance of plant and machinery, with cranes or 360° excavators being a perfect example. When operatives are rigging cranes or excavators, connecting hoses or conducting routine maintenance operations such as refuelling for instance, they often have to climb up onto the equipment, which can be a significant distance above ground, therefore putting themselves in danger. Even cab access or egress presents potential risks.

Generally speaking, machinery manufacturers have worked hard to design and implement more safety features on their equipment, including railings, non-slip walkways and rigging winches. The European Union Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was influential here, stating that: “Parts of the machinery where persons are liable to move about or stand must be designed and constructed in such a way as to prevent persons slipping, tripping or falling on these parts.” Considering slips and trips were identified as the most common cause of major injuries to employees in a 2011/12 HSE report, it is important that equipment manufacturers are taking note of this EU guidance.

But perhaps the actions of manufacturers should go beyond simply legislative compliance, which in truth ensures only the minimum acceptable standards. Manufacturers are perfectly placed to further heighten site safety, but health and safety professionals within the industry need to apply pressure on them to do this. A zero tolerance approach to inadequately equipped plant and machinery would magnify the somewhat obligatory position that manufacturers find themselves in to further drive standards.

Ultimately, no-one would purchase a car without a seat belt, so contractors should not have to even contemplate an investment in equipment that does not have equivalent safety features. The cost to retrofit handrails for example is very minimal, but it mitigates a very large risk. The industry needs to be less accepting of manufacturers’ dismissal of their obligations.

The fact that many pieces of plant were built before the introduction of Work at Height Regulations (2005) also presents problems, as does the delayed implementation of these safety and risk management principles amongst other manufacturers. A significant retrofit requirement perhaps consequently exists. Some contractors can only afford to purchase such older plant, but they still require protection.

We have to move away from the opinion that enhanced safety mechanisms can be optional extras. All companies are understandably trying to work smarter following an extended period of economic difficulty and squeezed margins, but this cannot be to the detriment of safety.

Of course some projects present extraordinary and uncharted working conditions, and in such instances a collaborative approach between the equipment manufacturer, contractor and project consultant or manager will encourage the development of a bespoke solution.

It is important to note that the finger should not simply be pointed at crane and excavator manufacturers and users; their inclusion here is purely for illustrative purposes. In truth there is work to be done to improve the mindset throughout the entire trades industry. A scaffolding contractor may provide an incredibly helpful, compliant and safe product for a building firm to utilise, but that same contractor may neglect to recognise his own work at height risk when climbing up on to his trailer to actually remove the poles before erection. The fringes of any job must be considered in addition to the most obvious project risks.

The salient point is that the most effective accident prevention mechanism is education. The greater the awareness of varied work at height dangers, the more our mindset is switched on to identify, plan for and mitigate risk. We all have a moral duty to protect ourselves and others from accident and injury and we need to maintain momentum in this important field.”

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RVA Group experiences continental drift

RVA Group has cemented its position as an internationally-acclaimed engineering consultancy, having secured three prestigious new projects on three different continents.

In only the last six weeks the expertise of RVA’s specialist decommissioning team has been sought by clients in Canada, Singapore and the Netherlands. These new schemes of work – on top of ongoing projects in the UK and mainland Europe – mean the firm has a healthy forward order book and is continuing to expand its team.

RVA’s managing director Richard Vann explains: “The nature of our work is particularly complex and a somewhat unusual skill set is required to safely manage the inherently high-hazard projects that we oversee. Identifying the best people is therefore not an easy task as we are looking for such highly skilled professionals in their respective fields, be it chemical, structural, mechanical, or civil engineering, for instance. However there is a phenomenal amount of talent out there so now it is a case of handpicking the industry’s finest and gradually adding the RVA sector specifics to their already highly developed skill sets.”

With a resident project management role on the five month North American contract, RVA is set to supervise the meticulous dismantling of a complex petrochemical plant, for resale, relocation and reassembly in Eurasia. Elsewhere other RVA engineering experts are on two large chemical sites in Singapore and the Netherlands to support the client to manage the dismantling of redundant assets that are intertwined with operational plant and services.

Richard continues: “Projects of this nature are the very reason that RVA was established back in 1992, and international growth has long been part of our carefully planned expansion strategy. As our reputation has grown and our relationships with multinational blue-chip clients have developed, we have steadily secured more overseas work. These three new projects represent an exceptional achievement for the company and they are a testament to the capabilities and results of our team.”

This type of work is not for the fainthearted though. “We quickly have to acclimatise ourselves to varied local requirements to ensure legislative and environmental compliance,” Richard explains. “There can sometimes be language barriers and time zones present challenges too, when we need to communicate with colleagues on the other side of the world. Indeed with the current geographical spread, we can have colleagues separated by almost a whole day”.

But all of this simply represents a new dynamic for the business, concludes Richard. “We develop knowledge-based partnerships whether we’re working in the North East of the UK, or the Far East of the world. Our aim is to develop totally safe, environmentally sound and cost-effective regimes wherever we may be, and we will devise bespoke team structures and on-site methodologies to best tackle the challenges that any project poses.”

RVA’s work continues on nine UK projects nationwide.

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ConocoPhillips Petroleum Company

The feed back from our site personnel is that this has been an extremely successful project in both execution and the relationships built with all who came in to contact with the project team.

This outcome is a testament to the work, effort and commitment shown by all involved in the project.

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British Energy

 Nuclear Liabilities Review 2009

  Case Study - British Energy Nuclear Liabilities Review (42.0 KiB)

RVA Group has once again supported British Energy in its periodic reassessment of the assets and liabilities of its nuclear power plants, having been appointed to assess a range of structures within the ‘non-controlled’ areas of stations at Hartlepool, Heysham 1, Heysham 2 and Dungeness B.

The RVA team of five specialist consultants provided a range of knowledge and services including demolition engineering, estimating and work breakdown structure (WBS) compilation.

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Lotus Enerji

It has been a great pleasure and experience to work with you and your distinguished team members. We hope to meet and work again with you in the near future

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