Transmission Tower Paint Sampling

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GHD was engaged by TransGrid to assist with the identification of transmission towers within the network that have had asbestos paint historically applied to the lower portions of legs of towers. What started as a small project with one person sampling a dozen towers escalated into a large scale sampling program that at its peak has involved ten people in five teams travelling around regional NSW sampling over 1600 towers.

The last program of 1200 towers required GHD to organise five two person teams to undertake a six week sampling program. TransGrid staff were, for the most part, not available to assist GHD teams locate the transmission lines and individual towers, so we relied heavily on the use of TransGrid GPS navigation systems, Arc GIS programs and Google Earth imagery to identify access points.

Digital maps for each team were prepared with data from TransGrid to assist in locating towers. The large scale has been a logistical challenge and a significant effort by both GHD and TransGrid staff at the start of the project to prepare schedules, identify communication requirements and implement appropriate safety protocols helped to ensure the project ran smoothly and safely.

The project provides TransGrid with much needed data to assist in the future management of asbestos based risks to easement staff who work on the tower assets. As part of the initial program of works, GHD facilitated an awareness workshop with easement staff to discuss work health and safety risks associated with working on towers with asbestos paint. Easement staff appreciated the opportunity to openly discuss concerns and measures to minimise exposure risk during their works.

The project has involved mobilising a number of staff (17 staff used over the course of the project) to access remote areas of regional NSW, utilising skills learnt during 4WD training to safely access tower locations. Logistically the project has been a challenge as the number of towers sampled varied each day depending on access issues. GHD were able to undertake the latest program of works of 1200 towers, consolidating 122 days of field work into 25 days using multiple teams. The site program was completed ahead of schedule which helped to reduce client costs overall. The use of digital tablets to record site data has also assisted in reducing reporting timeframes.

Client staffing requirements were minimised by GHD managing the works program with limited site based assistance. Where TransGrid resources were available, it enabled GHD teams to complete a larger number of towers each day, further reducing the program timeframe.

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