Energy Australia’s Mt Piper power station, comprised of two 700 MW coal-fired steam turbine generators, provides 100% carbon neutral electricity to around 1.18 million homes in New South Wales every year. They faced not one but two potentially serious OH&S concerns.
Firstly, noise from the turbine hall was penetrating into the workshop area, with a severe impact on the workshop staff’s safety and productivity.
The second issue was that their welding bay area was not adequately screened to prevent welding flash, which was causing a safety hazard to nearby staff.
Energy Australia knew they had to make improvements to keep up with OH&S standards and ensure they were providing suitable conditions for their employees. When the budget became available, Energy Australia lost no time in implementing improvements.
They turned to Flexshield as the only company in Australia with the expertise to come up with a suitable solution that would not only reduce noise levels but also protect employees’ eyesight in the welding bay area.
The solutions had to be provided within a limited budget and had to be retrofitted to an aging building structure whilst minimising any possible impact on the structure’s integrity. Lastly, they had to be lightweight and able to be hung from the overhead catwalk, rather than directly on the walls.
Thanks to their industry-specific expertise with similar projects for power stations and energy companies, Flexshield were able to design a unique solution that combined existing and new products, designed specifically for the application. They then provided the necessary resources to follow through with the design, and deliver and install a complete solution.
In the design phase, Flexshield conducted a number of site visits, ensuring the client was heavily involved in the design to ensure their requirements for access and usability would be met. Energy Australia’s input was also vital in coming up with a viable installation process, ensuring contractors complied with all their site requirements.
Flexshield began by installing a Sonic Barrier curtain on the turbine hall wall The 6m high x 50m wide curtain was hung from the underside of a catwalk, and attached back to the wall at the base. This curtain attenuated the turbine noise that was transferring through this wall into the workshop behind. To ensure its suitability for use in the turbine hall the Sonic Barrier material used was fire retardant and UV stabilised.
Next, Flexshield installed Weldflex strip curtains across the front of the welding bay areas, hung from a swinging “gantry” style headrail that could be opened up to allow crane access into the welding bay.
The complete solution was designed and developed over a number of months. Once the design was finalised, Flexshield manufactured delivered and installed the solution over a 3 month period.
Flexshield’s response demonstrated how they provide innovative solutions to challenging noise control situations by thinking outside the box. Energy Australia noticed a more pleasant, ergonomic and safer workspace immediately.
Thanks to the solutions Flexshield provided, Energy Australia is experiencing fewer incidents and increased productivity throughout the workshop, both as a result of the lower noise levels and also reduces the risk of welding flash. The lower noise levels mean there is less chance of noise-related injuries such as ONIHL.
Flexshield completed the project by providing all necessary OHS documentation, procedures and systems to ensure the solution complies with the power & energy sector’s very strict OHS standards.
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