Management of safe cooling towers is a crucial responsibility. Look around any work site and you are reminded of the increasing need for safety: not only to meet current standards but to exceed them. Below we will discuss the importance of mechanical access systems in cooling tower maintenance and their benefits.
Why You Need a Mechanical Access System
1. Mechanical Access Systems Minimize Fall Hazards - We all know that slips and falls are one of the leading causes of injury on the work site. A slip and fall from a cooling tower can be very dangerous. Not all cooling towers have proper walkways or systems in place, if at all. If you want to minimize the risk of slip and fall events, it is essential to have mechanical access systems in place so that work can be performed safely at all times.
2. Mechanical Acess Systems Save Money – Mechanical access systems can save your operation a considerable amount of money. Without a mechanical access system, a scaffold is required to reach the tower equipment. The work is expensive, as it requires cranes, scaffolding labor, operating permits, and more. Often, the scaffolding is erected over old, rotting lumber, by non-cooling tower personnel, creating an additional fall safety risk. And finally, the need for scaffolding means maintenance and repairs take much longer, resulting in lost revenue.
3. Mechanical Access Systems Reduce the Time Required for Maintenance and Repairs –Preventative maintenance plays a huge role in ensuring that your cooling tower operates at the optimal level. Most cooling towers need to be checked regularly to ensure it is operating as it should. This task is all the harder without a proper access platform, especially if you need to carry tools, diagnostics, spare parts, and other equipment. Basic maintenance not only becomes more dangerous, it becomes more time consuming.
Mechanical Access System Essentials
- They should fully comply with OSHA regulations.
- They should be free of splices and welds for less flex.
- All metal components should be made from non-corrosive alloys.
- Systems should be designed to meet all the requirements of your process.
For Additional Safety
Those who are willing to invest a little more to save time and increase safety should also consider upgrading their cooling tower with the following items. These additional components make tower access even easier:
- Stairways (Image_1083 in Cooling Tower Access File)
- Ladders (Image_0468 in Cooling Tower Access File)
- Non-skid walking surfaces (Plenum Walkway in Cooling Tower Access File)
- Safety cages
- Fan stack access
- Securing all hardware on items such as handrails, fan decks, stair treads, end walls, and others.
Old Wooden Supports for Mechanical Access Systems
Many times, new mechanical access systems are erected on top of old, rotting lumber. This is not a scenario where you want to cut corners and any compromised supports should be replaced before installation. You should only use a trusted cooling tower contractor with relevant experience who is able to identify and alleviate any foreseeable hazards before the installation of a new mechanical access system.
You should also invest in a system that is strong, decay and rot resistant, UV protected, non-conductive, and resistant to hot and cold temperatures. Cooling Towers LLC only builds mechanical access systems from FRP (fiber reinforced plastic) structural shapes. Cooling towers utilizing FRP components have greater structural integrity and will provide an extended service life.
More on The Importance of Mechanical Access Systems in Cooling Tower Maintenance
Cooling Towers LLC is a leader in cooling tower construction, maintenance, and upgrades, including the design and installation of mechanical access systems that meet or exceed OSHA requirements. We also perform top notch repairs and other services to keep your towers performing their best. Contact us learn more about how to improve the safety of your cooling tower.