System Integration & Control Systems Design

Working-at-height safety solution

April 2018 System Integration & Control Systems Design News

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 project in 2016 whereby Skyriders undertook inspection and repair work on the ducting between the boilers and the smoke stacks as well as platform installations inside a smoke stack at the mill.

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 create an optimal solution. “We had a bracket system designed and then fabricated that was strapped to the vertical column of the tower crane itself, which the team could hook onto,” elaborates Zinn. “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.”

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 project was completed in January and represents an 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 the 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.

For more information contact Mike Zinn, Skyriders, +27 (0)11 312 1418,,

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