14 December 2012

December is here, temperatures are dropping and storms are getting stronger and closer together.  Big storms mean strong winds and when you are right next to the sea, strong winds are one of the hardest weather effects to combat.  At Shoreham Port there is almost nothing to slow the prevailing south westerly Atlantic winds between us and the Caribbean, more than three thousand miles away.  That means that Port staff must work tirelessly at this time of year to ensure that all our buildings and other structures are in a fit state to resist the ravages of the frequent winter gales.

Amongst our most exposed structures are the 17 lighting towers around our terminals that light the dark winter mornings. Our picture shows electrician Richard Smith fitting a replacement lamp to Lighting Tower 13 on our Outer Layby Terminal.  This tower is of a modern design that hinges close to the ground.  When we need to change a lamp, we fit a hydraulic motor to the tower and lower it so that work can be undertaken safely at ground level.  That’s much safer and easier for Richard than climbing thirty metres up a ladder with all his equipment and the new lamp!

Richard said “climbing a 30 metre high tower in windy conditions and carrying all your equipment with you is hard work and makes the simplest of tasks take hours. With the new equipment for lowering the masts, we can work directly from the back of the van and get the lights working again in no time at all!” 

Paul Johnson, Safety and HR Director commented “as we review and renew masts it is important that the older style lattice masts are replaced with the single column masts.  Any design/safe system of work that eradicates a working at height issue for our staff is definitely the way forward. Our commitment to safety first is absolutely vital to maintaining our embedded safety culture.”