Safety is a top priority for Takraf Africa as it approaches another two million LTI (Lost Time Injury) free hours at its project at Eskom’s flagship Kusile Power Station.
Takraf Africa is at an advanced stage in the completion of various execution contracts for the multibillion rand project. These contracts were awarded in 2010 and covered the stockyard, limestone and terrace handling systems, with a fourth, the coal truck offloading system, awarded in 2017. In combination, these packages comprise the largest materials handling contract to be undertaken by Takraf Africa.The combined project scope of these packages covers design, engineering, construction and commissioning of the plant conveyors, stockyard, stacking and reclaiming machines, civil works and Electrical & Instrumentation (E&I) work. These packages include installation of 14 machines and 79 conveyors, which in total handle material over a distance of 16km, with the largest capacity conveyor boasting a capacity of 4 000tph and operating at a speed of 3.7m/s. Approximately 8 000t of structural steel will be employed, excluding that for the scraper/reclaimers.At the end of April 2018 Takraf Africa had completed the stockyard and limestone materials handling systems and was well advanced with the terrace package, having taken access within the fourth boiler unit. As the project is being phased in, both Units 1 and 2 have been handed over and are operational, while Unit 3 is reaching the tie in stage. The balance of the project relates to Units 5 and 6.
High risk project
“The 1 918 million LTI free hours recorded in mid-April (16 April 2018) were achieved during a complex and high risk stage of the project,” notes Riccardo Tonini, Takraf Africa Managing Director. “Activities currently underway require working at height, often up to 52m, and working on a site where there are numerous contractors and machines competing for limited space and limited windows in which to access the site.”
While the labour force deployed by Takraf Africa on site has, at times, exceeded 1 000 workers, this stage of the project requires a relatively small labour force of around 200, adds Riccardo. “The current safety figures have therefore been achieved over an extended period of 583 days, requiring an acute focus on safety to be maintained by our workers for almost a two year period.”
The impressive safety record on Kusile, which includes a previous achievement of 2 297 402,5 LTI-free hours, is indicative of the strong safety drive from the global Takraf Group and its parent company, Tenova.
“Safety, together with innovation, reliability and sustainability, comprise the four non-negotiable pillars that comprise the essence of the Tenova business approach to every project we undertake anywhere in the world,” says Riccardo.
Passion for safety
On Kusile, a strong safety culture was inculcated on site since the inception of the project. Takraf Africa Safety Manager, Nico Klopper’s passion for safety is infectious as he describes the approach taken.
“Key to achieving a safe working environment is leadership that is both visible and which empowers people to take personal responsibility for their and their fellow workers safety,” says Nico.
“Our multifaceted and holistic approach to ensuring a safe site is underpinned by achieving shared objectives and targets between management and the workforce and a proactive approach to identifying and preventing potential hazards.
“Our sub-contractors and employees are trained and empowered to stop work and correct a problem before it develops into a major incident.”
Co-operation between all the various stakeholders to the Kusile project, from the client, to other contractors, sub-contractors and the trade unions, has facilitated the excellent safety record.
Being part of what is said will be the cleanest and largest coal-fired power station in Africa has provided Takraf Africa with the opportunity to not only showcase its technical and project management ability to successfully execute multiple, major projects simultaneously, but also to demonstrate its commitment to SHE (Safety, Health and Environment) principles and mindset. Apart from the excellent safety record, Takraf Africa has consistently achieved clean environmental audits from Eskom.
In line with Eskom’s requirement for between 60 to 80% of the labour force to be drawn from within a 40km radius of the site and Takraf Africa’s own commitment to uplifting surrounding communities, considerable investment has been made in upskilling a mainly local workforce, both technically and safety-wise.
“Empowering communities, through either recruitment & training or the award of bursaries and learnerships as well as through small enterprise and supplier development is a major initiative of Takraf Africa in partnership with Eskom at the Kusile site. Takraf Africa assisted five black-owned co-operatives with start-up funding, while full bursaries have been awarded to 20 undergraduate students. Learnerships have been awarded to six people, four of whom are living with disabilities.
“In addition, various philanthropic activities include sponsorship of events for the elderly in neighbouring disadvantaged communities and supplying a water tank to the kwaMhlanga District Hospital in Mpumalanga.
“As with our commitment to safety and the environment, such interventions are core to our business approach aimed at making a truly meaningful and sustainable impact on the social and economic transformation of the communities in which we operate,” concludes Riccardo.
Takraf Africa, Richard Späth, Engineered Technologies,
Tel: (011) 201-2300, firstname.lastname@example.org