By Camellia Aebischer
Adam Goble has been climbing stuff for the past 13 years.
His new company, NZ Access, offers specialist access services to companies needing repair work, and they’ve recently picked up some unlikely clients: wineries.
“We’ve only just started getting into the wine industry because my wife’s family live in Marlborough and I’m starting to meet their family and the wine industry so we started providing them some innovative solutions,” said Goble.
NZ Access use climbing equipment to abseil and access areas of the winery that often require scaffolding – like big tanks and machinery. The company provides services in inspections, engineering, repairs, gas detection, welding, and rescue.
“Traditionally they scaffold the tanks out when they need to do work on them but now we’re doing it all by industrial abseiling.
“We can do the access and do the work. You’ve got to get two companies to work together to use scaffolding but we’re offering a full solution,” he said.
Goble has a team of workers who are trained in both their trade, as well as abseiling. This gives him a unique position to offer a convenient solution, and help educate businesses about safety practises.
“That’s what I’m getting at too because some wineries have equipment of their own. Some have a lot of harnesses and height safety stuff but they might not be using it in the right ways.
“There’s a lot of information I want to get out to people.”
“Now, people are recognising industrial abseiling for smaller wineries and stuff that’s not so large”
Winemakers are often working in risky spaces on catwalks or platforms in and around the winery. Many new wineries are built to compliance, but older ones can be riddled with safety risks if the structure hasn’t been brought up to code.
NZ Access offer wineries education on how to better utilise what they have through their onsite ‘toolbox talks’.
“We might come and spend 20 minutes talking to the wine team and tell them how to inspect their harnesses and how to care for them, where to put anchor points and how to use equipment.
“For a really low fee we can come round and for guys putting themselves in exposed areas we can come and have a chat and refresh them.”
“That’s really something I’d like to push,” said Goble.
NZ Access began in February last year, and has been accumulating clients rapidly since. It all started with Goble’s past working offshore.
“When I first started I was working in oil and gas on the maintenance crews offshore – doing paintwork and cable running. All industrial abseiling,” he said.
“Now, people are recognising [industrial abseiling] for smaller wineries and stuff that’s not so large.”
Goble explained that anything over two metres that needed to be scaled has to meet safety compliance. If a winemaker was to try and fix a leak at the top of a two metre high tank and had an accident, they could void an insurance claim.
“Anything more than two metres in an exposed area you need to have a suitable means of protection. It doesn’t take much – two metres can cause death or serious injury,” he said.
Working at a height isn’t the only risk in a winery. Tanks will occasionally need internal repairs, which means working in confined spaces. Goble is firm about warning workers to think twice before entering.
“The atmosphere could be contaminated, the space could be contaminated, and then you have no means of getting the person out safely. If someone does have an accident in there how do you get them out?”
That’s where training comes in handy. NZ Access are currently working with wineries like Giesen and Cloudy Bay on repairs and safety compliance.
The small team of qualified industrial abseiler technicians can drop in to fix just about any situation, which can save a mint on scaffolding hire and time.
For those interested in finding out more about safety compliance, contact SafeWork Australia or visit your state’s workplace safety website for small business self-assessment tools.
|New South Wales||http://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/|
|Australian Capital Territory||https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/home#/workhealthandsafety|