SafeSmart Solves Maintenance Time-Drainer
Safer and Smarter, Flowline Ltd is a leading drainage contractor based in Essex, in England’s South East. They have a fleet of 80 vehicles, which are utilised for specialist tasks such as CCTV drainage surveys, high-pressure water jetting, gully and catchpit cleaning, road sweeping, liquid waste tankering and waste recycling. With this frequent work, regular maintenance is required on all vehicles.
This maintenance requires mechanics access the top of trucks that are often over 10 feet in height. And of course, the sloped edge of the tank presents serious slip or fall dangers. Flowline had been using standard ladders for this task, and they had been proven to be inefficient – mechanics needed to constantly ascend and descend the ladder to change tools. And often the ladder needed to be climbed to near its top step, presenting overbalancing dangers. Even more concerning was the need for mechanics to often work alone, so if any incident was to occur, lives were at risk due to nobody being around to assist or raise the alarm.
And without adequate access equipment, Flowline were having to send the vehicles to a third-party specialist mechanic, which would put them out of service for up to five days. In a potential snowball effect, if Flowline get an emergency call out from a council, and they are unable to fulfill it due to a lack of machines, they risk incurring fines between £250 to £500.
To solve this, Flowline’s HSEQ Manager Chris Willis approached London-based portable height access company SafeSmart Access. After hearing about SafeSmart’s ability to provide off the shelf products that accommodate access to the rear drum of cement trucks, flatbed trailers and the like, Flowline considered the EasyRaise Platform.
SafeSmart assessed Flowline’s requirements and recommended the 1.4-2.8m model of the EasyRaise Platform. The EasyRaise has also been successful with clients who operate similarly-shaped obstacles, such as aircraft fuselages and static liquid tanks, thanks to the unit’s cantilever – the cantilever extends further out at the top as the unit’s height is extended via an easy-to-turn manual winch. This was perfect for Flowline’s trucks: the higher the system rises, the further out it needs to go, to properly reach across the curve of the tanks.
Once Flowline acquired and deployed the EasyRaise units, they gained an instant efficiency increase during maintenance procedures. In the first week, Flowline observed that they were already saving 3 to 4 days of downtime on one truck alone. The adjustable unit could access many points around vehicles, and the stable and wide top deck allowed for keeping tools close to hand when needed. Also, with mechanic’s feet firmly planted on a wide area, rather than on a ladder rung, they could work for longer periods of time with less fatigue in their legs and feet. And the in-built edge protection provided by the welded rails means that mechanics can work alone more safely, due to the significant decrease in fall dangers.
The EasyRaise Platform is made from high quality marine grade aluminium, has a 225kg weight rating, and is more than compliant to HSE’s regulations for height access products.
Bolstering Flowline’s new suite of maintenance safety products is SafeSmart’s InstaDeck, a new product released in 2017 to compliment the EasyRaise. The Insta Deck accommodates lower-level access—adjustable form 450mm to 870mm—with the same amount of edge protections and HSE-approved safety as other popular products in SafeSmart’s range.
Flowline’s Fleet Manager Andy Hawkins is pleased with the results that SafeSmart’s ‘off the shelf’ products have brought to Flowline’s operations, as part of a push by the company to approach efficiency in the most progressive way possible – via a program of scheduled safety audits and a commitment to address any issue that may arise.
“SafeSmart are not just a supplier to our company; they are an essential partner in our success, through their innovations and our desire to lead the way for a safer working environment,” says Andy.
Particularly noteworthy was Shaun & Derek, they did a fantastic job in Cable Street & Old For Road under very challenging conditions.
Many thanks for arranging this so quickly. The guys turned up to site on time, and with a professional manner which was appreciated.
Please pass on my grateful thanks to your chaps for getting the road open in time for rush hour traffic. I had a positively joyous journey home!
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