One of the world’s leading Disease Research Laboratories recently turned to AV Access for help to solve both an efficiency and safety problem.

The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of excellence in research and surveillance of virus diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans. There are many technical elements involved in providing suitable facilities for this work and one essential maintenance task is the removal of ceiling mounted filters for cleaning and replacement.  The filters sit behind a heavy extraction ventilation grille, which had to be fully removed before allowing access to the filter.  A tricky, two-person job working from step ladders. A review of procedures resulted in AV Access proposing a safer and more efficient way of carrying out the task.

The clinical conditions in the facility called for stainless steel modular access platforms.  Having used stainless in previous medical projects meant that AV Birch were able to call on their internal team’s experience.  The result was a design and proposal of cost effective, durable and safe platforms allowing access to roof level, up to 4m high while avoiding existing facility pipework and electrical installations.  The platforms have a 150kg SWL for a single operator and are mounted on walls and anchored to the floor and ceiling above existing lab equipment and doorways.  Removable ladders to access the platforms can be locked away to prevent unauthorised access.Platforms will Fall Protection

Nine Platforms with Fall Protection

Due to the size of doorways, equipment in place and height of access required, using a mobile access platform was not feasible.  Having the platforms fixed in place above existing equipment means that valuable floor space is not used for storing platforms that would only be used on an infrequent basis.  The platforms are all fitted with a one-way gate to allow easy access and a safe working space for staff.  The ladders to access the platforms are flat and simple to hook on and remove again reducing the need for excessive manual handling and storage requirements.

Ventilation grille modification

Once safe access was secured, fitting the ventilation grilles to hinged frames was the second part of the task.  Allowing the grilles to swing down while anchored to the custom-built frame reduces any risk of staff dropping the grille, causing damage to lab equipment, other staff or the grille itself.

Installing and commissioning the nine platforms over five days and completing the grille modifications, AV Access staff completed all works and made a successful handover to the client’s operational team.

Mark Knowles project lead: “Delivering a solution like this one makes such a difference to the safety and efficiency of our client’s operations.  The unique properties of stainless make the material a perfect choice for clinical environments and this adds to our portfolio of successful implementations in the growing Biotechnology sector”.

For more information, please contact Mark Knowles on 01746 714 418