Project: Minimising risks for maintenance workers at Railcorp service centre

Thursday, 12 August, 2010

A major revamp of the fans and their associated safety and maintenance equipment at the Railcorp Explorer and Endeavour Service Centre in Sydney has been carried out by the Turnkey Fitout Division of Fanquip. The Service Centre, which is located in the North Eveleigh Precinct at Australian Technology Park, had old and outdated fan equipment that required considerable maintenance, frequently exposing workers to the hazards of working at height.

Railcorp have several depots in Sydney and Newcastle. The Australian Technology Park depot is a service centre for Explorer and Endeavour fleets that run on diesel power.

The challenge was to remove longstanding and outdated fan equipment and replace these with modern technologies. The existing extraction fans were put into service many years ago and have reached the point in their service life where they needed replacing.

The project required that the regular follow-up maintenance that needed to be carried out on the fan equipment to be conducted in a safer manner; and for the work area to be an environment that was approved by WorkCover NSW. To meet these criteria, Fanquip designed and installed a safety-walk system across the roof of this large depot in addition to the installation of the new fan equipment.

In all, eight customised large Fanquip Vertical Discharge Fans, constructed from galvanised steel, were installed, together with thirteen 1200 mm Fanquip Cub Base Hooded Roof Fans.

Fanquip’s Sales Manager, Karl Stutterheim, says Railcorp is one of a growing list of Australian companies that recognises the importance of regular maintenance of rooftop fan systems: “Rooftop fan systems have been used for many decades, yet very few companies have adjusted their mindset to recognise the necessary safety aspects of their existence.

“What Railcorp has done is what WorkCover Authorities around Australia have been heavily insisting upon for some time now.

“Railcorp’s rooftop fan upgrade has been not just a product replacement and renewal exercise. The organisation performed a complete turnkey assessment and facility upgrade to ensure that all of the necessary walkways and platforms to access the air-handling and fan equipment - plus the all-important safety railing and harness points - have been factored into the overall project.”

These actions go well beyond pure safety. They also simplify the procedures that the personnel who have access to the roof area go through to make regular checks on the rooftop system and to carry out any necessary maintenance. They facilitate simple, quick and safe procedures to access the equipment, thereby minimising the overall time that workers are exposed to working at height.

Fanquip addressed the issue of safe access during the installation process and for ongoing maintenance purposes by installing 75 m of Fallsafe walkway and access system. Fanquip personnel connected the new fan equipment to the existing ducting, which was cleaned and prepared prior to the final connection.

It took three days to install and safety check the walkway and four days to remove old fans and replace them with the new Vertical Discharge Roof Fans and Curb Base Hooded Roof Fans.

Customised to requirements, the Vertical Discharge fans are flame-proof for use in hazardous locations and use intrinsically safe motors. Sizes range from 300 to 1500 mm diameter, motor power from 0.25 to 3 kW and air volume from 740 to 19,000 L/s.

The Curb Base Hooded Roof Fans (exhaust or supply air) are weatherproof with a fibreglass and aluminium construction, providing downward discharge, and have bird-mesh protection.

Also, with intrinsically safe motor and flame-proof properties for hazardous locations, the technology uses belt driven IP56-rated motors. Sizes range from 300 to 1200 mm diameter, motor power from 0.1 to 2.2 kW and air volume movement from 550 to 14,000 L/s.

Summarising the Railcorp project, Stutterheim adds: “Moving beyond merely supplying fans to end users, Fanquip has long argued that a complete design and safety package for ongoing maintenance is a necessity.”

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