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Bitumen is delivered hot and therefore precise procedures are needed in order to minimise safety risks such as burn injuries. Safety is something on which the transport company Kördel maintains a constant focus.
Kördel has delivered bitumen for Nynas for more than 15 years, and during the last five years naphthenic specialty oils as well. When the new bitumen loading facility at the Harburg refinery opened in 2016, it was therefore natural for Kördel to be given the main responsibility for loading operations at the site. Since autumn 2016, they have carried out more than 10 000 accidentfree loadings from Harburg.
Over the years, Kördel has developed a well-structured safety model. For example, all drivers must check their road tankers after every stop in accordance with standardised checklists, which are then examined. This ensures that both the vehicle and the driver’s personal protective equipment (PPE) are in order.
“We maintain a continuous dialogue with Nynas. It’s a sharing of experience that’s important for keeping safety awareness at a constant high level. During preparatory work for the new loading facility in Harburg, we also took part in a number of meetings with Nynas to contribute our experiences,” says General Manager Heike Kördel-Klipp.
But it’s not enough for staff at Nynas depots and Kördel’s drivers to have a high level of safety awareness. Every part of the chain must work and that includes the customer plants where the bitumen is delivered.
“Successful safety work is based on the supplier, transport provider and asphalt plant cooperating continuously by sharing information and proactively solving problems before an incident occurs. This is a key factor in making sure that safety is always a priority,” emphasises Anna Schott, QHSSE Manager at Kördel.
All new drivers that Kördel hires undergo a customised training programme. As well as accompanying an experienced driver, it also includes overview of the usage of correct personal protective equipment as well as the safe loading and unloading of bitumen. Depending on previous experience, the induction process takes 1-4 weeks.
Kördel also has three specially experienced drivers, whose job it is to make sure that all the company’s employees follow all procedures to the letter when loading and making deliveries at depots and asphalt plants.
“This means, among other things, checking that drivers are using their personal protective equipment and in general complying with the safety procedures, as well as acting professionally towards the customers. Knowledgeable staff are the key to our success,” concludes Anna Schott.
The automatic systems make sure that drivers can take care of loading themselves. Before a tanker is allowed access, the driver must undergo an induction process and answer a number of questions to show that he or she has understood all the safety procedures. The driver then enters an order number to start the loading process. The facility is also equipped with a number of safety devices, for example overfill protection, which is in turn linked to a database for documentation and control.
A number of initiatives are needed to attract new groups and in general to increase diversity in the industry. There is otherwise the risk of a serious skills shortage in the future.Read more about Talking point: recruiting new talent