Safe demolition job reaps reward for drugs manufacturer, GSK.
Pharmaceuticals firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has eight manufacturing facilities in the UK where it produces drugs such as penicillin.
Its site at Ulverston, Cumbria was opened in 1948 and is focused on the prevention of infectious diseases, as well as the bulk production of antibiotic products for injection and other sterile and oral Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API).
After production ceased on the western section of the Ulverston site, GSK wanted to decontaminate, demolish and separate the redundant plant from the working part of the site.
However, all known chemicals within the redundant plant had not been removed and the equipment and vessels were not all free from process contamination.
The area was also within a working site that plays host to occupied offices and active manufacturing facilities that remained throughout the course of the project.
That meant there were live services and processes close to the demolition site boundaries throughout.
Upon completion of the tendering process, GSK asked ABB Consulting to provide project management and construction design and management (CDM) coordinator services for the demolition job.
ABB remained on-site throughout the entirety of the project.
While on-site, ABB undertook hazardous materials studies, as well as hazards in demolition studies – providing GSK with full reports and summaries of the hazardous materials remaining at the Ulverston site.
ABB also supported GSK with its procurement of demolition and refurbishment asbestos survey, and advised the drugs maker on isolations locations to help design for the demolition process.
Throughout the project, ABB carried out daily site walks and a minimum of two audits per week.
All method statement risk assessments (RAMS) were looked over by an ABB field engineer and accepted after all safety issues had been addressed with higher management overseeing any high level risk RAMS.
GSK was kept up to date with progress via a weekly meeting held by ABB.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also visited the demolition site.
According to ABB, the inspector’s report praised the safety culture on site and its management. RAMS, training records, the site set-up, waste routes and segregations of other ongoing activities were noted to be of a ‘very high standard’.
Early project cost projections by the client were in the region of £1 million, however through the involvement of ABB, GSK were able to recoup some of the costs back.
Steve Andrew, demolition and remediation manager at ABB Consulting, says this type of project always brings significant challenges.
According to Andrew, challenges included; the controlling of dust; the need to identify any hazardous materials; the location of live equipment; and the interface with live process plants.
“Overall, once these challenges were overcome, the demolition was able to run smoothly and efficiently,” Andrew says.
For the work conducted on the site at Ulverston, ABB and GSK received a silver accolade at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Awards 2015.
“When removing a redundant chemical plant, priority has to be given to the safety of everyone involved, both those working directly on demolition activities or elsewhere on the site,” says GSK senior manager Pat McIver, who led the project.
“We also had to ensure that neighbours were not put at risk or inconvenienced and that any impact outside of the factory was kept to a minimum.
“The project was well-executed without incident and GSK are proud to be a joint recipient of the RoSPA Award.”