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Case Study Energi Viborg Vand A/S: SmartEm System Design for Rescue at Height and Depth

Working closely with our customers and users of SmartEm rescue equipment one thing stands out: our customers need not just rescue equipment, they are often looking for complete systems. Systems which address very specific problems, because no two rescue operations are ever the same. Whether on water, land or from the air – even the best equipment is only of value if rescue operations are thought through from beginning to end, and the process is clearly, comprehensibly and efficiently documented and communicated.

So as to provide our customers with the best possible support beyond just the equipment itself, SmartEm works with a technical specialist in Denmark. Ralf Søndergaard is an independent technical consultant for system and safety design, which he devises as a single concept. Thanks to his holistic way of working, Ralf Søndergaard is a perfect match for SmartEm’s corporate philosophy. “I provide a total solution, working closely with my customers”, Ralf Søndergaard explains.

Health and safety at work in Danish companies

In Denmark, there is a strong awareness of health and safety at work, whether it stems from the companies themselves or from the relevant authorities. Companies are audited regularly, while the employers themselves are responsible for occupational health and safety and appropriate rescue systems. The aim is to put appropriate measures in place to prevent work-related accidents. Nevertheless, accidents still happen all too frequently in many companies, often the result of inadequate workplace equipment and inadequate work processes.

“There are many accidents, often serious ones, which could have been avoided through systematic risk assessment and continuous development of working methods.”

Ralf Søndergaard, Technical Specialist

Greater responsibility is being placed on employers. Particularly with industry-specific applications, the general rescue services are not always able to carry out effective rescue in good time, as there is often a lack of rescue planning, special equipment and specially trained personnel. Here, expert Ralf Søndergaard sees companies becoming increasingly responsible in future for ensuring swift emergency rescues using their own resources.

Case study: Energi Viborg Vand A/S – a complete rescue system designed in just 4 working days

The recent case study of Danish utility company Energi Viborg Vand A/S shows how rescue system designs, and above all their necessity, arise. Energi Viborg is responsible, among other things, for wastewater treatment in the region and regularly refurbishes a large number of process tanks. During refurbishment of one of these open concrete tanks, a comprehensive rescue plan had to be designed in a very short space of time following intervention by the occupational health and safety authorities. In view of the specific features of this tank, with sloping sides and an overall height of 4 metres, Energi Viborg called in SmartEm. Thanks to a YouTube video from SmartEm about the versatile use of the basket stretcher at the Rescue Center Denmark, Thomas Christensen, the project manager in charge, had become aware of SmartEm systems.

Special terrain in the tank with very sloping side walls

In conjunction with Ralf Søndergaard, they developed an holistic rescue system for the customer, which was tailored to the local conditions. The solution devised consisted basically of lifting apparatus and the SmartEm basket stretcher, which can also be fitted with a flotation device if there is water remaining in the tank. The wheels and runners on the rescue stretcher mean it can be pulled up the tank’s sloping sides, either manually or using emergency lifting apparatus which includes a cordless drill. The wheeled basket stretcher also means the rescue equipment can be transported to the scene of the accident quickly and easily.

Manually or with the help of an emergency lifting apparatus the basket stretcher is pulled up

As all-round general equipment, the basket stretcher is ideally suited to the various requirements at the utility company. Vertical rescue from height is also an option using the abseiling harness. Countless systems can be configured as the stretcher can be converted easily and neatly from one application to another. Perfect for vertical and sideways rescue from height, all in all a superb “platform” to work with.

“For me, the SmartEm basket stretcher is not just a stretcher, it’ s a solution platform.”

Thomas Christensen, Projekt Manager, Energi Viborg Vand A/S

Implementing the design swiftly was essential for Energi Viborg in order to start the repair work on time. The deadline set by the authorities was tight and the task was tricky. Failure would have meant serious implications for the utility company. So Ralf Søndergaard visited Energi Viborg on site the following day, complete with demo material. Two days later and the rescue system which was devised, as approved by the company, was up and running. Documentation and training specifications were also prepared for the employees who were going to be responsible for rescues and ongoing management of the apparatus. Thanks to the pictorial illustrations and descriptions, every employee can understand how the equipment is used. After just four working days, Energi Viborg had a complete set of rescue apparatus including training and documentation, which met the requirements of the Danish authorities. So Energi Viborg was soon able to continue with the vital repairs, while at the same time employees were safe in the event of an accident.

The rescue solution, including the inflatable float, is also rehearsed in the water-filled tank

This close, professional cooperation with Energi Viborg really motivated us to continue this holistic approach when looking after other customers, and to develop rescue systems meeting specific requirements over and above the rescue equipment itself.

Energi Viborg serves as an excellent example for many other companies facing similar challenges of holistic rescue from treatment basins, tanks or silos. If you also need support creating a specific rescue system for your company, please do get in touch.


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