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Mainzeal and Siemens net STAR awards

25 August 2011

Mainzeal and Siemens net STAR awards for focus on safety in challenging environments

Mainzeal and Siemens are delighted a total focus on safety has been recognised with two Transpower STAR awards for their work on Transpower's High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Pole 3 project to increase the capacity of the interisland flow of power in New Zealand.

The two companies are partners on the $672 million project to replace the 46-year-old Pole 1 equipment at Transpower's substations at Haywards, in Upper Hutt near Wellington, and Benmore in the South Island. The main build phase is nearing completion with an impeccable health and safety record to date.

The Mainzeal, Siemens and Transpower project team received the 'Best Safety Innovation' award for solutions to several issues posed by the challenging surroundings, and the 'Top Site' award for Benmore.

There were 110 nominations for the inaugural STAR awards' seven categories, which recognise safety excellence among the companies and individuals who work on Transpower's national grid high voltage transmission system.

Mainzeal CEO Peter Gomm says he is immensely proud of the safety emphasis and innovations demonstrated by the project team: "The judges said all aspects of safety are anticipated and addressed, with facilities and practises of exceptionally high standard."

"This partnership with Siemens and Transpower has been built on similar company cultures. We are all leaders in our field and equally emphatic on the need for our workers to be as safe as possible during the project. It's obvious from the pride taken at the two locations there has been a total safety buy-in from managers and site workers."

"I understand from first-hand discussions how difficult working conditions have been, and continue to be. In the face of this, the HVDC team has achieved and set a new safety benchmark for Mainzeal and provided lessons which will be adapted across the company."

Paul Ravlich, CEO of Siemens New Zealand, says the company is acutely aware its workers on the project often operate in situations which could be dangerous without correct procedures: "The health and safety of our team members has the highest possible priority at Siemens, and we are delighted to have the awards recognise the excellence achieved on this project."

Mr Ravlich says the initiatives from the project team at Benmore which led to the 'Best Safety Innovation' Award show the calibre and dedication of those working on the project.

"The sheer isolation prompted the team to install a fully equipped first aid room. It can be incredibly hot in inland Canterbury in mid-summer, so they put precautions in place to help workers avoid and deal with heat stress," Mr Ravlich says.

These included providing cool showers, and drink bottles containing electrolytes. The innovative regime included extra monitoring of workers for signs of heat stress and extra breaks when temperatures got above 30ºC.

Mr Gomm says the project team recognised the need to establish a hazardous goods storage area at both Benmore and Haywards and undertake appropriate training.

They initiated a 'yellow card' system to easily report hazards and near misses around the construction site at Haywards, and established a number of safety stations as a one-stop shop for safety information and equipment.

"The judges said the project team provides an exemplar of safety leadership, second to none, which they should be rightly proud of."

- Ends -

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