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Skyriders continues to offer essential maintenance during lockdown
11 May 2020
Skyriders continues to offer essential maintenance during lockdown

Rope-access specialist Skyriders has received CIPC certification to operate as an essential services provider during the ongoing lockdown, Marketing Manager Mike Zinn reports. This has enabled it to continue meeting the critical maintenance needs of its key petrochemical, power generation and food and beverage clients.

With a total of 24 rope-access technicians on standby, Skyriders is able to field teams wherever needed, or in the event of any urgent emergency work. While all employees wear masks as part of their everyday Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), extra health and safety measures have been put in place.

These include taking the temperature of all workers during toolbox talks, and having only two persons travel per vehicle in accordance with the lockdown regulations. Skyriders Group Safety Manager Dino Guiotto already began to put specific measures in place to take the Covid-19 pandemic into account when the lockdown was first announced on 26 March.

“As a result, our response has really been cutting-edge in terms of best practice for dealing with the crisis,” Zinn comments. Ensuring the health and safety of employees in terms of protection from Covid-19 is made that much easier due to the fact that rope access often consists of small teams carrying out work-at-height in remote locations.

This makes the current lockdown situation, with various industrial sectors opening up in a phased, risk-based approach, an ideal opportunity for many companies to carry out essential maintenance. “We are finding that the petrochemical industry, in particular, has been very proactive in undertaking critical tank cleaning during the lockdown itself,” Zinn adds.

Here rope access is not only much more cost-effective compared to traditional scaffolding, but is also far safer and more flexible in terms of its adherence to the lockdown regulations pertaining to essential service workers.

“The safety of our employees and our customers remains our top priority. We will definitely be able to supply our services anywhere where we may be required to do so, especially in the event of any emergency work. We have all the necessary risk assessments and procedures in place to ensure that this can be done safely and cost-effectively,” Zinn points out.

While some of the larger projects that Skyriders was involved with were put on hold after the lockdown, Zinn is confident that the bulk of these will resume once the lockdown restrictions are relaxed even further to gradually allow for all sectors of the economy to return to normal.

In terms of its involvement in the rest of Africa, which includes potential projects in Botswana, Sudan and Mali, Zinn reveals that this work has mainly been put on hold due to the uncertainty around the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the continent. A major challenge with cross-border projects has been escalating costs, particularly in terms of flights and gaining access to remote sites.

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