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Helping ATCO is a Gas

Helping ATCO is a Gas

ATCO Pipelines of Edmonton, Alberta operates 9,400+ kilometres of pipeline throughout Canada. These pipelines transport natural gas and other energy sources to utilities, power generators and other major industries. And a Saskatchewan-based maker of work platforms is helping their operators work more safely and efficiently.

At peak, ATCO’s network delivers around 3.8 billion cubic feet of natural gas across Canada per day, so maintenance is at the core of operations – valve checks and maintenance, stud bolt joint checks and post-shutdown stud bolt replacement. At major maintenance sites, ATCO identified points of inefficiency where operators were scaling the pipes or needing to ascend to valves. With uneven steel surfaces—a particularly alarming danger during Canada’s icy months—and a need to reduce fatigue caused by having to balance on irregular-shaped obstacles, ATCO commissioned SafeSmart Access to provide the solution.

Although SafeSmart are well-versed in providing customised work platforms for their clients, off the shelf model platforms, previously designed for a similar client, were perfect for the job. 

The first was the Premium TLP. With origins in heavy transport, but applications in many industries, this long platform allows the operator to gain access to next to and over valves at multiple points along a pipe, without having to repeatedly ascend and descend. Its single-sided edge protection provides a full enclosure with pipeline infrastructure when hand-wheeled into place. Multiple ATCO employees are now using the system at the same time, when separate tasks are allowed to be performed simultaneously, due to a 225kg weight rating.

SafeSmart Access’ Super Maintenance Platform (SMP) was also acquired for quicker deployment when single-person height access is needed over the valves. Both units are made for high grade aluminum, making them easy to move by hand and highly-resistant to extreme weather conditions.

Both products have been supplied with an optional cutaway on the platform to accommodate the shape of vertical structures and valves.

But This is not just a simple case of providing off the shelf products. ATCO’s operations also rely on adhering to safe work procedures and acquiring products which are compliant to stringent safety laws. 

This is the main ingredient to SafeSmart’s popularity in Canada. Having an intimate knowledge of Canada’s safety laws has seen them become the trusted partner for height access solutions with companies such as STARS, TransCanada Pipelines, Lafarge Holcim and more. ATCO’s work environment was assessed, and SafeSmart’s products were proven to comply to ANSI A14.7, NBCC 2010, CSA Z271-10, CSA S157-05, and CSA S16-09.

So satisfied are ATCO with their first four acquisitions that they plan to distribute another sixteen more to valve maintenance positions across the country this year alone, with plans to obtain that many again annually in coming years.