Skyriders Access Specialists aims to become the preferred work-at-height and confined-space service provider on the African continent. It offers various solutions to all heavy industrial sectors, including mining.
A particular achievement of the company to date is its zero-fatality rate, in line with OHSAS 18001:2007 and Institute for Work at Height best practice. 'Safety is paramount in any industry. Mining, for example, is an inherently dangerous environment, as it encompasses both work-at-height and confined spaces,' Skyriders marketing manager Mike Zinn comments.
'Mines often select the more traditional means of access for inspection purposes, maintenance projects, and shutdowns. This means they pay a premium, and end up using a large portion of the project programme to erect and break down these access systems. Rope access offers a safer, quicker means of carrying out many of these tasks, resulting in significant time- and cost-savings,' Zinn elaborates.
Skyriders employs teams of highly experienced and trained rope-access technicians. 'The career path of a rope-access technician is ongoing from a skills' development point of view. One needs to bear in mind that rope access is just a means of moving from one work point to another work point. This requires renewal every three years, which poses the challenge of progressing from Level 1 to Level 2 and, ultimately, to Level 3, depending on the experience in the form of hours logged,' Zinn stresses.
Apart from the rope-access discipline itself, Skyriders' technicians also require trade skills such as welding, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and inspection, grit blasting, Ultra-High Pressure (UHP) washing, protective coating application, and rigging, among others.
Current projects and contracts being undertaken by Skyriders include ongoing work on new power station builds, inspection and maintenance of industrial smokestacks in Indonesia and a gold mine in West Africa, telecoms tower maintenance in Johannesburg, and ongoing maintenance and inspection work at a large petrochemical company in Mpumalanga, in addition to work at Eskom's existing fleet.
'When the cost of access is disproportionate to the scope of work, when time is of the essence, and where height or confined space poses a challenge, that is when Skyriders can offer the optimal solution,' Zinn concludes.