Spanish industrial safety has undergone rapid improvements in recent years, but the fundamentals of mitigating Drops remain the same. We sat down with Raúl Jiménez, Sales Manager at our Iberian distributor AQD Industrial Safety, to explore the evolution of Drops prevention in the Spanish market, and how the experience of the energy sector can inform Drops prevention best practice in other industries.
Thanks for speaking to us today Raúl. Could you begin by giving an overview of AQD’s main areas of focus?
AQD Industrial Safety has a diverse background supporting operators in industries such as energy, power generation, marine, automotive and other industrial facilities to make their safety strategies a reality. We partner with firms to provide advice and consulting work, engineering and technical projects, and innovative safety solutions.
AQD operates primarily in the Iberian Peninsula, including the Balearic and Canary Islands. We have also worked in France, Belgium, and occasionally Latin America, a key growth market.
Why did AQD and Dropsafe start working together?
Our broad base of experience in industrial safety has shown us the value of flexible, high quality solutions. Dropsafe strive for excellence, going above and beyond the industry standard to set new benchmarks. We also aligned with Dropsafe on the need for a holistic approach to Drops prevention.
When we expanded our Product department, adding to our Consulting, Engineering and Adequacy services, we selected Dropsafe as our Drops prevention partner due to their vision and expertise. We’ve now been supplying Dropsafe’s steel wire mesh Nets, securing enclosing fixtures such as lights and tethering to an attachment point, advanced polymer Barrier, that affixes to guardrailings and stairs to prevent objects being knocked through, and the Dropsafe Pouch, which is used by personnel to tether tools.
Has Drops prevention changed significantly in the markets you operate in over the past decade?
Driven by regulatory pressure across Europe, best practice for working at height has rapidly improved in industrial settings over the last ten years. There is still work to be done, however, and operators are increasingly setting the pace on Drops prevention as awareness grows.
An interesting trend is the transfer of knowledge from the established energy sector, where O&G drillers have long been at the forefront of Drops best practice, into newer energy industries such as renewables.
Could you expand on that? What have been some key learnings from O&G?
A crucial takeaway has been ensuring fast and simple installation for Drops prevention solutions. Power generation, wind energy, car factories – they all need products that can be installed hassle-free, to minimise downtime and labour costs. This is crucial in factory settings, where the modern rolling production line makes shutdowns financially undesirable.
The same goes for maintenance. Spending slightly more upfront for durable, robust solutions will reduce expenditure in the long-term significantly. Operators need to prioritize long-term asset ownership over short term, consumable quick fixes.
How well have other industries traditionally managed Drops risks?
In terms of collective and individual action to tackle Drops, there has been significant progress in recent years. Some industries have been quicker to adapt than others. Industrial safety remains a fundamental but often unknown area, which is why expanding Drops prevention training at all levels of an organisation is crucial.
As we supply a broad range of industries across a wide geographical area, we are well aware of the challenges that can arise due to different operating environments, particularly in outdoor settings. Cold weather in mountainous areas, intense heat and UV in Southern Europe, saltwater in marine-based industries – these all create heightened Drops risks for operators.
Dropsafe is also a global firm and has developed its products specifically to mitigate risks such as corrosion, while offering the flexibility for operators in moderate or indoor environments.
Thanks again for speaking with us Raúl. One final thought: what are your top three recommendations for a successful Drops prevention programme?
First, identify and evaluate the risks from the beginning. This is more cost effective and helps prevent Drops risks from arising in the first place. For example, considering Drops even in the design phase of a facility can significantly reduce Drops risks.
Second, invest in high-quality Drops prevention solutions from a provider you trust, as these will provide the most long-term value compared to consumable solutions that must be re-purchased annually.
Third, implement an annual plan to review your Drops programme thoroughly. Taking a step back to understand how the risks at your facility have changed and the effectiveness of your solutions puts you ahead when looking to mitigate Drops effectively.