Silo cleaning and blast cleaning in a confined space silo facility

Silo cleaning and blast cleaning in a confined space silo facility

Silo cleaning – blast cleaning – blasting technology by NT Service GmbH with Sprengtechnik Berge. Together 40 years of expertise in the field of borehole blasting.

In this incident report, we explain our completed blast cleaning project in a silo facility.

Due to a technical defect in a spray tower at a waste incineration plant, massive layers of material built up on the silo wall and cone area. The plant operator had to have these deposits removed promptly in order to ensure that the plant could continue to operate safely and without any problems. As a result, we carried out the following work as part of an emergency operation.

However, before any practical work could be carried out, we as a specialist company first had to determine, assess and evaluate the immediate and far-reaching hazards. As there was a relatively high base temperature of around 40 degrees in the silo system, the physical fatigue factor was categorized as a significant additional hazard during the risk assessment.

Furthermore, the work was carried out in a “confined space” and therefore constitutes a natural and BG-recognized basic hazard. The silo contents are essential for determining the hazard and risk and therefore require investigation.

The silo facility contained a mixture of slaked lime and toxic substances from the first stage of domestic waste incineration and was therefore highly carcinogenic and hazardous to health. As a result, we planned and implemented our rescue and accompanying concept.

During the exemplary rescue exercise, which is carried out for every operation, we determine the rescue time required. Based on this time requirement, redundancies and situation-related risks are evaluated and classified. The longer the rescue organization and execution takes, the more intensively the procedural concept must be adapted and structured. This is referred to as a redundancy assessment.

The drilling of 60-80 cm deep boreholes represents a high degree of physical strain in this system. As a result, Mr. Matthias Natusch, Managing Director of NT Service GmbH, was personally involved in the job and carried out the precise production of the boreholes.

The plan was actually for Mr. Natusch to carry out the inspection and safety assessment, as he is also the company’s safety engineer and supervising rope access technician. But what’s to stop a man from getting his own hands dirty to check how physically demanding his team is? Of course, everything that concerns safety-relevant work processes is recorded as part of internal monitoring. But life is not always about theoretical expertise, but also about the personal perception of job-related risks.

“You can only demand from your people what you are prepared to give yourself” / “I wouldn’t let my guys do a job that I’m not prepared to do myself.” – says Matthias Natusch Managing Director of NT Service GmbH.

After a 50-minute inspection drill and assessment of the current situation, the safety and rescue concept was adapted and the entry time was reduced to a maximum of 30 minutes due to the high temperatures and toxicity levels.

Our operations teams are grateful that the boss personally accompanies and helps carry out such operations, as this is the only way to clearly identify risks and difficulties in practice and to react responsibly without delay.

After drilling the first 4 holes (-> feel the material), we inserted the already assembled charges. Our blasting master forms the basic framework for safe blasting. With his 40 years of expertise, he is a guarantee for a safe blasting environment and process organization.

After the first successful blast, the interior was inspected and the next steps were discussed. Because silo cleaning / blast cleaning is not a perfect science, but the sum of all experience.

Blasting silo cleaning” is a field that requires a great deal of expertise and a high level of core safety competence. Our customers rightly associate all this with our company.

The fact is:

Our work saved the plant operator around €100,000 in costs, as he was able to avoid using scaffolding.

All blasting operations were completely damage-free, i.e. without damaging the silo system.

The performance concept applied by our company is dynamically thought out in terms of safety and is currently unique on the market (we are happy to make the comparison).

In the working world, there are clearly established and defined procedural practices, work instructions and procedure guidelines. However, very often these are either inadequate or do not reflect the current state of the art. For this reason, the entrepreneur should always strive to critically question and analyze the respective processes. Feedback from the performance elite (the workforce) is particularly important here and forms the core impulse in our company.

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