Ropepro recently assisted Sugar Australia with the removal of redundant pipework within their Refinery at Yarraville, Vic. The identified pipework was no longer in use and presented a safety hazard if left in situ. Site Management therefore determined the removal of the pipework should be carried out. The challenge with removing the pipework was primarily that the area immediately surrounding the pipework was quite restricted, preventing the use of scaffolding or Elevating Work Platform (EWP) as methods of access. After consultation between Ropepro and Sugar Australia project managers, it was determined that Rope Access methods would be a viable solution to execute the task.

During several weeks leading up to the project commencement date, Ropepro worked closely with the Sugar Australia project management team in the development of a Safe Work Method Statement, Rescue Plan and a Lift/Lowering Plan to ensure the task hazards, risks and possible emergency scenarios were considered and controlled.

One aspect of the task that was identified as a hazard was the rigging. There was no suitable anchor points located on the roof area directly above the work zone. Therefore, ropes were rigged from steel structure within the building itself and exited through windows on either side of the work zone. By using both sets of ropes a Rope Access Technician was then able to safely access the lateral path of the pipework using a long rope transfer technique.


Using the above method, a hauling/lowering system in conjunction with a load cell was independently installed above the pipework. By incorporating a load cell in to the haul/lowering system we could monitor the weight of the load at all times to ensure the load did not exceed the load capacity of the equipment being used to support the pipework. Once the pipework was connected to the hauling/lowering system and supported, the flange connections were able to be disconnected and the pipework lowered to grade safely. Using this method the pipework was able to be safely removed in manageable loads.

Sugar Australia Reliability Engineer Zac Ludowyk had these comments regarding the project:

“Being my first time managing a rope access job, any concerns I had about the prospect of contractors abseiling down our heritage listed refinery building were quickly dispelled in our first meeting. Upon meeting the Rope Pro team I knew I was in safe hands. The degree of planning that went in to the job to identify the specific risks and control measures was quite impressive.The success of the job can be attributed to this. The documentation was thorough and submitted well ahead of the job for review. I particularly appreciated the expertise and attitude of the team members – nothing was rushed, safety first. I highly recommend Rope Pro for any troublesome access situations, and will not hesitate to have them back at Sugar Australia.”