With an ongoing commitment to safety, innovation and delivering for our client, our Victorian water team has been recognised on the national stage for their contribution to safety excellence. 

The team, along with Yarra Valley Water was named as a finalist in two categories at the Australian Water Association Industry Safety Excellence Awards held in Sydney last night.  

Watch our awards highlight video


Tank inspection and maintenance team innovations

As part of the Tank Inspection and Maintenance work that Ventia undertakes on behalf of client Yarra Valley Water (YVW), our team has been engaged to refurbish a number of water tanks across the YVW network over recent years. In some cases, these tanks can be up to 50 years old.  

This team was recognised as a finalist at the AWA awards for a number of innovations that have been developed and applied across recent projects in order to improve the safety of those undertaking the works as well as minimising any potential environmental impacts on surrounding areas.  

These innovations include the use of a magnetic robot crawler (VertiDrive), Ultra High Pressure (UHP) water, and vacuum trucks which enables technicians to operate safer, faster and more efficiently while reducing the impact to the local community.  

The nomination also recognised the development and use of a remote-controlled concrete cutter, allowing the team to remotely cut elevated areas at an historic standpipe tank located in Gembrook in Victoria. The innovation removed the risk of having to perform the job at height whilst still achieving precision accuracy.  
The innovations have applications beyond their existing use and can potentially be used widely as a solution for similar type of refurbishments across Australia. 

The Lockerbie Main Sewer project which was recognised in the AWA National Safety Excellence Awards. 


Lockerbie Main Sewer project lifting procedure

A collaboration between our Lockerbie project team, Yarra Valley Water and project partner Jaydo to develop and implement a new lifting procedure for the installation of large (>20 tonne) fibreglass maintenance holes was also recognised as a finalist. 

The procedure enabled the identification and control of numerous hazards that were present in the conventional installation approach for glass reinforced maintenance (GRP) structures. These hazards became more apparent when applied to the large GRP structures that were delivered for this project.  

GRP structures are typically fabricated in a factory and delivered to site horizontally on a truck. To install these shafts vertically, the structure must be lifted from the truck and rotated into a vertical position before being lowered into the pre-excavated shaft. 
The GRP shell is commonly fabricated with lifting lugs at the top end of the cylindrical structure only. To avoid damage to the prefabricated structure's base during a lift, two cranes were typically required.  

The use of dual cranes has inherent complexities, and a crane lift incident created a catalyst for change and a new way of thinking about high-risk lifts. As a result, the team set about eliminating the requirement for two cranes, developing and implementing a procedure for a dual-winch crane that could lift both the top and base of the manhole together and rotate the manhole upright in mid-air for installation. This significantly reduced the risk of off-balance loads and overtopping due to poor communication.  

Aerial view of the lockerbie main sewer project

Improving stability and reducing risks

As part of the procedure, the manhole designer and fabricator incorporated lifting lugs at the base of each manhole. This allowed the crane's secondary winch to connect directly to the manhole base, removing the need for slings. By substituting the sling for lifting lugs, this greatly improved load stability and reduced the risk of the load sliding. Administrative controls were also introduced with the development of detailed lift plans that were externally reviewed to reduce risk of human error.  

Collaboration was key to success, to determine where each stakeholder had influence and could contribute to improving the procedure

A trial lift was also undertaken with client, contractors, and safety representatives present. The trial showed a single crane was effective; however, identified needs for some further improvement opportunities which were developed and implemented ahead of the lifts.  

This safety innovation not only ensured a safer lift during the Lockerbie project, but it also has many applications for other similar projects and for projects beyond the water industry.