Innovative approach to industry issue significantly improves safety of confined space entry operations
Stork currently has the largest number of confined space operations in the North Sea and over the last three years has actively sought to improve and support these operations by initially creating our own dedicated in-house breathing apparatus and gas detection department, and now proud to have developed a unique solution to an industry wide challenge; Extended Reach Breathing Apparatus System (ERBAS).
Using a newly designed and developed cylinder High Pressure (HP) connector, ERBAS solves the industry challenge of awkward and difficult cylinder changes, and is easily deployed in the work area for operations beyond the range of the 10 minutes escape cylinder (predominately platform legs and FPSO tanks) allows rapid air refills in under 20 seconds.
Full research, development and case study with a major North Sea Operator has been successfully completed (see client reference below). Stork is working to further improve the system and continue to deliver an innovative approach to confined space entry.
How we add value:
- Compared to other cylinder exchange systems, which involve winching substantially more equipment into the confined space which is both time consuming and dangerous, Stork’s ERBAS refill stations are compact and are protected within a rugged case making it safer and faster to deploy.
- ERBAS significantly reduces cost to the client and requires almost no maintenance, whereas the old system required constant refills after each safety drill. This would be an operation that could take an entire shift to perform and may involve winching the cylinder out to refill them.
- ERBAS is simple, one-handed operation even whilst wearing all appropriate PPE and in difficult working conditions.
- The system’s 20 second refill time means substantially faster and safer evacuation times in comparison to conventional methods.
- Improves the safety of line management by providing instant refill of an operatives emergency air when entering a confined space, such as an FPSO tank.
ERBAS is now a registered design and patent pending with the European Patent Office, and has been shortlisted for several awards, having already won the ‘Safety Innovation’ at the 2014 SPE Offshore Achievement Awards.
Testimonial by Shaun Azimi
Engineer - Robotics System, Technology Branch, Johnson Space Centre
“I have a very positive impression of Stork’s breathing system and ERBAS refill stations. I found the harness comfortable and the composite cylinder was so lightweight and small that I didn’t really notice I was wearing it. I found the hi-pressure connector to be very intuitive and easy to find and use during evacuation. Although I didn’t use the backup bottles contained in the ERBAS unit, it was comforting to know that there was a backup if needed."