To protect staff and contractors working over wet well chambers, Scottish Water has devised a four-part fall protection grid for access covers in collaboration with access specialist Technocover.
The hinged grids each work independently to allow easier removal and replacement of pumps and other maintenance tasks while restricting the area of open chamber to prevent a worker falling through.
Concept units manufactured and installed by Technocover have been trialled over several months at a number of Scottish Water sites. Trials have proved the system’s compatibility with upstand and flush-fitting wet well covers. The design also has potential for retrofit on existing access covers.
Four-part fall protection is set to be adopted as a new standard for internal safety cover design on all access covers installed on new build Scottish Water submersible pumping chambers, the company said.
The design arrangement has also been introduced as part of Scottish Water’s standard product specification for wastewater pumping stations.
Safety & performance team manager Malcolm Tierney said: “People often fail to appreciate the significant fall from height risk which exists in relation to working over open underground chambers and tanks. Generally this is because they are standing on firm and level ground and do not perceive the fall risk to be as great as that of working on scaffolds, roofs, ladders and other above-ground locations.”
Technocover managing director Michael Miles said: “As well as addressing the hazards of chamber access in the water industry, the four-part safety grid can also enhance maintenance efficiency and reduce operational costs.
“Trialling of the grid shows that it offers potential to replace more complex set-ups for pump lifting, typically involving protective guardrails and large davits, with a simpler arrangement using a portable frame and hoist. This scenario reduces set-up time in making the working environment safe for pump handling. It also eliminates the need for a proprietary davit and the associated on-going costs of mandatory inspection in compliance with LOLER.”