The installation of more than 1,200 metres of drainage pipes at height
The Mersey Gateway Project is a 42 month project to build a six-lane bridge over the River Mersey along with 9km of connecting roads. Principal contractor, Merseylink, tasked Plasticon UK Limited with the installation of more than 200 drainage pipes within narrow gullies located on the underside of the north and south approach viaducts. Working at heights of up to 20 metres and between gullies measuring just 1.9 metres wide, a safe and effective method of work was required to provide access between the gullies as well as a sufficient work area to install sections of pipe measuring 5.8 metre in length and weighing 30kg. As the majority of powered access work throughout the project was carried out directly under the approach viaducts, challenges also emerged around minimising the risks of operator entrapment when using the more traditional boom lifts.
Nationwide Platforms recommended the use of two large Titan boom lifts to carry out the work over more time, labour and cost-extensive methods, such as scaffolding. With a working height of 20 metres, an outreach of 14.6 metres and an impressive 1,350kg platform capacity, Nationwide Platforms’ Titan 60S not only proved ideal for the task but also one of the only access platforms on the market capable of carrying it out. With handrails measuring 2.28 metres however a unique solution was required in order to fit between the gullies. Nationwide Platforms therefore worked in close partnership with the manufacturer, MEC, to modify the handrail width down to 1.6 metres. To help minimise the wider risks of entrapment, Nationwide Platforms fitted its intelligent SkySiren PCS (pre-crush sensing) secondary guarding system on a number of boom lifts on the project which automatically detected and alerted operators of potential overhead hazards.
Nationwide Platforms’ close working relationship with the manufacturer, coupled with its dedicated research and development division, BlueSky Solutions, ensured it was in a unique position to provide a solution. Modifications to the handrails were carried out by BlueSky in compliance with the manufacturer’s specification, ensuring the machine’s safety and performance capabilities were not compromised. Capable of lifting up to 1,350kg and fitted with the bespoke material handling attachment, the Titans were able to safely lift multiple pipes in a single lift while minimising manual handling in accordance with best practice. Productivity was also improved by reducing the amount of time spent returning to the stowed position in order to load additional pipes.