Originally Published In INSITE Magazine.
Abfad Ltd are a company based in the North East of England, established in 1996, they provide services in two unique and distinct areas. They provide both tank lining systems and supply IRATA approved rope access services and personnel for working at height in all industries where conventional access is impractical or simply not possible. Whilst these areas of work are both separate and independent they sometimes have cause to cross over and merge together on projects together in various ways.
Who are IRATA?
IRATA (The Industrial Rope access Trade Association) is the rope access training, regulatory and standards authority. IRATA work with the British Standards Agency to oversee the working at height regulations. Being members of IRATA mean that Abfad’s rope access personnel are fully trained and experienced to provide working at height solutions and operate under the safest possible methods and conditions. Importantly Abfad’s personnel are also trained in safety cover, emergency rescue and confined space rescue. This type of safety cover work is also used to keep other trades people working at height or within confined spaces safe and provide immediate response and rescue should an accident or incident occur.
The benefits of a multi-skilled company
Rope access and tank lining services can combine on various different projects, especially if the storage tank is of a large capacity. Rope access provides the perfect method to provide unobtrusive inspection of the tank both internally and externally; done via rope access negates the need for any large erection of scaffolding and all areas of the tank can be inspected safely and swiftly in this way once internally cleaned and degassed.
Abfad are also regularly called on to paint the outside of above ground storage tanks with a protective coating, again rope access provides a method to do this without the need for large scaffolding installations and is a quick and effective approach. External mechanical preparation or blasting can also be performed from the ropes and the coating applied by hand or spray applied.
Abfad rope access personnel use a patented magnetic positioning aid they developed for this type of inspection and blasting/coating work in conjunction with rope access techniques, this enables them to maintain position and stability on any ferrous structure and perform the required work with precision.
Gaining access to underground storage tanks can sometimes be difficult depending on the size, tripods are rigged up at the hatch to lower personnel down into the tank and this also enables them to be winched out quickly in an emergency. Abfad’s rope access and confined space rescue experience make this a very safe method of working. Platform Access boards have also been developed which are located across the diameter of the underground tank securely on the side walls which allow quick access to the tank entrance hatch as well as allowing personnel greater reach to higher elevations of the tank.
So whilst these two separate entities, rope access and tank lining services, might not be envisaged to be in synergy with each other, the two go hand in hand and come with many collective and transferable skills, which serve many clients by providing a cost effective, safe and quality service through Abfad’s experienced multi-skilled personnel.