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Floating raft for sewage tanks improves engineering safety

A raft designed to float on raw sewage is reducing the occupational hazards attached to maintenance work on large sewage tanks, water company Thames Water has said.

ERIKS Industrial Services made the floating work platform to improve safety for engineers cleaning out sewage settlement tanks at sewage works − one of the company’s biggest operational hazards.

Previously, engineers had to drain down the tanks and set up scaffolds to carry out routine cleaning and maintenance.

The floating platform means workers no longer have to run the risk of working at height in a drained-down tank.

It also means the tanks no longer have to be fully emptied while being cleaned, leading to less disruption to the sewage works’ operation.

ERIKS’s platform, together with a hand-railed ladder that fastens to the side of sewage tanks, won the ‘innovation’ category at Thames Water’s Excellence in Health and Safety Awards 2011.

Thames Water chief executive Martin Baggs said: “The beauty of this idea is the simplicity and effectiveness with which it tackles one of the biggest operational hazards we face.”

Thames Water is spending nearly £5bn of essential work to improve and maintain its water pipes, sewers and other facilities across London and the Thames Valley between 2010 and 2015.

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