Safety Equipment & Systems – Termoemcali

Metal scaffold improves safety during turbine maintenance

Owned by ContourGlobal Latam SA
Operated by NAES Corp 

Challenge. Workers are exposed to various risks during any routine major maintenance on a combustion turbine. During such work, a large number of workers walk by the turbine engaged in diverse activities such as using hand tools, lifting, welding, drilling, polishing, etc. One of the greatest dangers any worker can face is a fall from the side platform, nearly 10-ft high, which can be fatal.

   According to the International Labor Organization, work done at height has the highest rate of death in the workplace. Almost 70% of fall accidents result in a fatality because of severe injury. To minimize such risk, companies performing maintenance tasks typically request that plant owners install and set up scaffolding with wooden platforms to allow employees to safely perform the work (Fig 21).

   Because of the uneven lateral area of the turbine and limited space, it is almost impossible to cover all the gaps with wood decking, and the risk of falling still remains high (Fig 22). In addition, the wood is at risk of breaking at any time because of the amount of weight placed on it (Fig 23).

Solution. To be consistent with its policy of occupational safety and health, including a commitment to prevent hazards and maintain the health and safety of everyone at its facilities, the owner’s management manufactured removable metal platforms, equipped with guardrails, to be installed on each side of the combustion turbine during maintenance activities (Figs 24, 25). Spacing between the newly created metal scaffolding and the turbine is minimal and the material is able to hold significantly more weight and provides greater stability (Fig 26).

Results. The newly created metal platforms allow maintenance activities to be conducted safely. During the last major maintenance of the combustion turbine, the labor force included 17 contractors and 10 plant personnel working in two 12-hour shifts. All work was conducted without a single fall incident or accident.