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Jamestown’s safety and people strategy

A 100m-long weathering steel plate girder bridge, fully-assembled prior to delivery

Building on the foundations of a strong performance through 2019, Jamestown continues to invest in both plant and people as it pushes forward into 2020.

Highlighting the company’s desire to focus on safety, Jamestown’s latest investment, which arrived early in the New Year, is a Straddle Carrier from Combilift. With a lifting capacity of 50t, the machine enables Jamestown to safely lift and manoeuvre plates up to 30m in length as they arrive in the stockyard, prior to loading on to the plasma and oxy-fuel profiling machines.

Another notable feature of the machine is its ability to not only lift and manoeuvre heavy plate girders and cellular beams, but it can also turn them within the confines of the machine. This is said to be a great asset when fabricating a long and heavy beam.

As well as investing in machinery, Jamestown says its strength comes from its people, and as projects get larger and more complex it was felt that a further addition to the team would benefit both the company and its customers.
As General Manager Niall Fortune explains: “The introduction of Stephen George, our new Project Manager, has strengthened our team, not only in day-to-day operations but Stephen’s dedication to the business has been a big hit with customers as we generate regular updates on all our key projects.”

Resilience and determination
Jamestown has robust plans for the future and while some minor projects have been put on hold as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the company is looking forward with confidence to be able to support customers, old and new, as they move into the second half of this year and beyond.

Jamestown’s plans for continued development of its business include enhanced capability and improved efficiency as it moves forward.

A weathering steel studded bridge deck assembly in Jamestown’s facility

The company’s 17-acre site in Portarlington, Ireland, still has more to give and as new avenues and opportunities are discovered, Jamestown says it is continually finding further applications where the demand for steel fabrication is paramount.

“So, whether it be new welding technology, cutting equipment, surface preparation and finishing techniques, Jamestown will continue to invest and grow to give their customers the support they need,” says Mr Fortune.

“During the past year, we have been challenged as a business to go above and beyond in the service we give to our customers.

“Plate girders that are too long or too heavy for customers to handle in their premises have resulted in last minute additions to the scope where we have been able to assist with full fabrication, shot blasting and painting and final delivery to site.”

Mr Fortune adds: “Examples of this work include a rail bridge in weathering steel with its precast concrete element cast in house to accommodate a tight programme, and more recently we have manufactured 36m long crane gantry box girders. These have been fully fabricated and painted, inclusive of full fit out with walkways, electrics and ancillary equipment.”

How could we plan for this?
The Republic of Ireland has weathered the COVID-19 situation very well, with restrictions now on a clear path towards being lifted gradually over the coming weeks. “Who would have thought that the whole world could be struck be such a virus,” says Mark Morris, Jamestown’s Compliance Manager. “Jamestown, like many of our customers and suppliers across the construction and manufacturing sector, are managing their businesses through these unprecedented times – moving logically and safely from one stage to the next as best we can.”

Jamestown, like many other companies, currently have staff working from the confines of their own homes in an endeavour to keep families safe. Where possible, and with ‘essential work’ to be carried out, operations are resuming on a day-by-day basis, while employing social distancing measures throughout the plant. With a strong order book and materials to hand Jamestown is working towards a full resumption of work on 18th May when construction activity is permitted to return to work fully.

“Jamestown has operated a small crew of maintenance and essential machine overhaul work during the quieter days over the past few weeks, so that when we can return to work fully, we are in a better situation than ever with all plant and machines in top condition ready for the busy months ahead,” says Martin Gorman, Jamestown’s Maintenance Manager.

Commitment to health & safety
Jamestown invests heavily in health and safety and in measures which ensure that the workforce are kept safe, compliant and with the best of PPE and all related safety equipment. In doing so, Jamestown seek to guarantee continuous top quality output from both their people and their machinery, so that they can continue to serve their customers, and meet the ever increasing demands of the industry.

Mark Morris, Compliance Manager, and Mark Lawler, Health & Safety Manager, will be working hand in hand to ensure that the company follows best practice and guidelines on distancing, and on the host of COVID-19 related initiatives which will no doubt be with us all for the foreseeable future.

As Jamestown strives to achieve the latest ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health & Safety Standard, the company’s commitment to improving employee safety, reducing workplace risks and creating better, safer working conditions is paramount.

Who knows what lies in store for Jamestown in the future, only one thing is certain and that is steel will play a major part.

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