Manufacturing Facility Safety Upgrades
As a full service mechanical and electrical contracting company, Southern Air asks its tradespeople to complete a wide variety of tasks for our customers. Our Industrial Maintenance department is full of millwrights, who are no stranger to working on a little bit of everything. Known as a jack of all trades, we ask much of our millwrights who can install boiler systems, process piping, and conduct welding operations in most environments. These tradespeople are so versatile, they can find success for Southern Air by working on projects with nothing to do with HVAC.
Modine Manufacturing owns a plant in Buena Vista, Virginia where they produce building HVAC solutions ranging from small garage heaters to large commercial ventilation systems. Similar to Southern Air, they identify employee safety as one of their top company priorities. One of their annual goals this year was to update their rooftop working surfaces by installing fall protection systems eliminating the need for employees to use additional safety equipment. With much of their HVAC units located on the roof, their maintenance personnel need to be able to safely work on the equipment. Removing the need for personal fall protection eases their working requirements while still keeping everyone safe.
“Our team is able to complete projects that span from high purity process piping, tubing installations to fabrication and installation of ladders and platforms, similar to what we were able to recently complete for Modine,” says Chris Blankenship, Industrial Department Manager. “The ability to meet with a customer and determine their needs, compile a plan and complete the project to meet their needs provides us many opportunities for projects most would not think a typical mechanical and electrical company could perform.”
While installing guard rails, warning lines and ladders has little to do with HVAC construction, Southern Air’s Industrial Maintenance department won the contract to take on the challenge. Our millwrights replaced outdated ladders and built swing gates at roof access points. They put in warning lines in areas where work will be performed within 15 feet of the building’s edge. In the areas where work needs to be conducted within six feet of the edge, guard rails were constructed allowing service technicians to work up to the edge without the need for any other fall protection.
“Southern Air’s Industrial Maintenance department has a group of craftsmen who are able to take on a wide range of tasks, one of them being the ability to make safety upgrades,” says Matthew Simpson, Assistant Project Manager. “This is a big deal for us because not only is it our company’s first major safety system installation job, but it was a great success for us as well as our customer. We think this is a new business venture we can continue to thrive in.”
Communication was paramount during this build between our millwrights and our customer. Each day everyone discussed their plans and our teams provided regular updates freeing Modine’s staff of having to consistently monitor their progress.
“We really enjoyed working with Southern Air and are very happy with the results of this project,” says Craig Buchanon, Modine Manufacturing Engineer. “We ran into a few trouble areas requiring some additional modification from our originally plans. Southern Air was able to propose solutions and follow through meeting our expectations. It was a pleasure working with them and we look forward to working together again on future projects.”
As a company, our first core value is Safety as a first consideration before performing any task. Being able to help other companies keep their employees safe while on the job falls directly in line with our beliefs. We take great pride in ensuring the safety of our team members and our customers. With the excellent craftsmanship of our millwrights in our Industrial Maintenance department, it’s not surprise we found such success at Modine Manufacturing.
See those welding sparks fly at Modine in the video below!