Safety collaboration yields big results at Birkenhead

How a collaborative approach between Viva Energy’s Operations, Engineering and Health & Safety teams reduced the risk of manual handling injuries and streamlined everyday operations at our Birkenhead bitumen plant.

26 Apr 2022
  • Viva Energy Australia
Safety collaboration yields big results at Birkenhead banner

Viva Energy’s Birkenhead team pictured here striking the 2022 International Women’s Day pose.

Viva Energy believes every safety incident is preventable. Goal Zero — to do no harm to people and protect the environment — is a vital part of our commitment to Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE).

Our proactive approach means our teams bring a safety lens across all our sites and projects.

Safety inspires collaboration

The review of manual handling tasks at our Birkenhead bitumen plant began in 2020 to shed light on hazards and long-term injury prevention and management. As the review progressed, it became clear that more positive outcomes flowed from the process.

What the manual handling review revealed

The Birkenhead review identified two specific processes exposing Viva Energy’s Operations team to increased manual handling risks:

  • Furnace filter removal and replacement
  • Storage tank vapour outlet cleaning and maintenance

Removing, disassembling and replacing the furnace filter required a two-person lift of 30kg in an awkward position with minimal handhold. Completed before each shipping discharge, this process was a major pinch point and a potential source of injury for the Operations team.

Lifting the vapour hose for inspection, maintenance and cleaning was another high-risk activity. This task was challenging as it was performed at height with limited access and awkward body positioning for a 15kg lift.

No one knows Viva Energy like our people

Leveraging the site knowledge of the Birkenhead Operations team was critical to accurately identifying levels of risk. To mitigate the hazards across both processes, we needed the combined expertise of Operations, Engineering and Health & Safety teams.

10 years of Goal Zero for the Birkenhead team

The Birkenhead team have rounded out 10 years of achieving Goal Zero – no harm to people or the environment.

Every incident is preventable — we’re on a mission to identify issues and address the causes. When cross-functional teams work together, we get a broader perspective on risk, safety and new processes.

Congratulations to the Birkenhead team for a decade of workplace safety.

Working together for a safer workplace

The teams stepped up to the challenge; Health & Safety used their know-how to review daily processes, and the Engineering team supported the redesign of processes and equipment.

Thanks to vital input from Viva Energy’s Birkenhead team — including Peter Jordan, Timothy Grigg and Michael Potter — the team implemented solutions to address existing manual handling risks.

  • Furnace filter removal and replacement process — a simple support guide was installed to cradle the filter during change out. This engineered solution eliminates the need for an operator to support the filter and makes the task a single-person job.
  • Vapour hose inspection and cleaning process — new spools were fabricated to lower the heights of existing hoods, and a T-piece with a camlock fitting was installed to allow for inspection. This engineered solution eliminates the need to remove heavy hoses or stand at height to undertake the job.
A collaborative approach to Goal Zero

Beginning as a Birkenhead manual handling review, two years on the results are a practical example of how Viva Energy collaborates to put safety first.

With first-hand knowledge from the Operations team, the data-driven insights of Health & Safety, and the manufacturing know-how of Engineering — we found a new way to improve safety and reach our goal of getting people to their destination.

Viva Energy is committed to achieving Goal Zero – no harm to people or the environment. See how we put health and safety first.