Safety First: Technicians with confined space experience use rope access to inspect and clean a large, petrochemical storage tank

Rope access has made quick work of a major tank inspection and cleaning project for a large South African petrochemical producer. Skyriders Access Specialists deployed a ten-person team for the 18-day project, with the tank itself measuring 46 metres in diameter and 15-metres in height.

Completed in late May, the project formed part of the petrochemical producer’s ongoing maintenance cycle, which sees individual storage tanks emptied, cleaned and inspected periodically, so that any repair work that’s needed can be carried out.

In this instance, the tank was shut down for statutory inspection and maintenance, according to Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn.

Rope access was the ideal solution, as it allowed technicians with confined-space experience to move along roof beams and girders in order to mechanically clean the structure as well as the sidewalls as quickly and as safely as possible. “The storage tank was found to be in good condition, so fortunately not much work beyond the cleaning itself was required,” Zinn said.

Skyriders’ safety department provided a risk assessment and detailed methodology for the project. “We understand the dangers inherent in the petrochemical industry, and plan carefully around these – from the correct personal protective equipment to the expertise of our highly trained staff,” Zinn said.

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