Operators responsible for maintenance work in large utilities or refinery plants are often at risk of occupational health problems, such as muscular or skeletal illnesses caused by repetitive strain injury (RSI) or over-exertion. Equally, they are more exposed to workplace accidents if proper procedures are not followed.
A particular problem for employees working in these sectors is actuating the huge numbers of valves inherent in a complex pipe network. Rotating the valves manually, either by hand or using a hand-wheel, is by nature a highly repetitive action, constantly putting the same muscles and the same parts of the body under stress.
The problem is made worse when certain valves in the network that are not activated as an integral part of normal processes have not been regularly maintained. If these valves have not been opened and closed for a long time, they become extremely difficult to open, and very soon it turns into a vicious circle – they are not properly maintained precisely because the difficulty involved makes it a time-consuming exercise, so maintenance is carried out at longer and longer intervals and the valves become even harder to activate or possibly jammed. As a result, when the operators need to open these valves, either in an emergency or for repairs for example, they have to exert greater force to rotate the valves, increasing the risk of strain injuries or accidents.
The answer is simple and it comes in the form of a simple tool – a portable valve actuator which takes the strain out of the equation. Rather than operators manually rotating the valves, the motorised tool clasps the hand-wheel on the valve (it can be adapted to any valve) and does the rotating action for them. Goodbye repetitive strain injury! What’s more it does the work on average 10 times faster. Consequently, a long-winded maintenance programme becomes suddenly much more manageable, and therefore the problem of strains and accidents from forcing tightly shut or jammed valves is greatly reduced.
To conclude, a portable valve actuator is the perfect tool to protect your employees and your equipment !