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New spin on old design improves safety

An innovative gangway design developed by Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) is expected to be adopted at other ports across Australia, to improve their safety and wharf operations.


The marine equipment which spans 15-metres, features four swivel wheels.


The gangway is part of daily shipping operations, to help crews disembark and embark from a ship.


GPC’s improved version was successfully commissioned earlier this month, after a six-week trial period.


Two extra wheels have been added onto the original two-wheel design allowing the equipment to pivot for the first time.


Operations Excellence Coach Barry Sheppard said the simple wheel adjustment has significantly increased safety.


“It’s minimised labour-intensive pushing and pulling,” Mr Sheppard said.


“The original idea of using swivel wheels came from one of our ship loader operators,” he said.


“Unlike the current gangways, the addition of the pivot trolley allows the gangway to move freely in line with both tidal conditions and any vessel movement along berth, reducing potential damage to the overall structure and saving time and money on repairs.


“The ease of manual handling significantly lowers the risk of potential injuries to crew members.”


Mr Sheppard said his team engaged a local engineering firm, Mick Mannion Fabrications, to bring the idea to life.


“We’ve been using it for two weeks now and the feedback has been positive, it’s safe and up to Australian standards,” he said.


Four more modified gangways are now being constructed.


Acting CEO Craig Walker said GPC strives for best possible practice in health and safety.


“Our employees are our greatest asset and they are continuously working with us to improve every facet of our operations,” he said.


The team hopes their idea will be implemented at ports across Australia.

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Operations Excellence Coach Barry Sheppard

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