State-owned power utility Eskom’s employees and on-site contractors working at height are ensured of their safety in the event of an emergency, owing to permanent on-site rescue teams stationed at Medupi power station, near Lephalale, Limpopo, and Kusile power station, in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga.
Maintenance solutions provider Skyriders has been supplying rescue teams comprising accredited rope-access technicians to Medupi power station since August 2011, and to Kusile power station since June 2012. Marketing manager Mike Zinn notes that the crews are responsible for several rescue tasks in any application more than 2 m above ground.
“Each site has hundreds of workers operating high above ground on tall structures, such as silos, smoke stacks and boilers, which they gain access to by cranes, cherry pickers, lifts and scaffolding. “As a result, there is always an inherent risk of a fall or entrapment, or mechanical breakdown, and the highly skilled and experienced Skyriders teams of rope-access technicians are on call to rescue workers in the quickest, safest and least-distressing manner possible,” he explains.
Zinn explains that all rope-access supervisors are required to be Level 3-qualified, as Level 3 is the highest level of rope-access training. He adds that being Level 3-qualified enables them to supervise rope-access teams and to perform advanced manoeuvres and rescues on site.
“Obtaining Level 3 certification is a rigorous process that requires a Level 2-accredited supervisor to log a minimum of 1 000 working hours before he or she can qualify for Level 3 training. “This ensures that, in the event of an at-height emergency, the safety of all on-site workers is in more-than-capable hands,” says Zinn.
In addition to Medupi and Kusile, Skyriders assists with rescue services in an unofficial capacity at Kendal power station, in Mpumalanga.