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Wintershall awarded prize for occupational safetyFor the development of a system that makes the transport of pressurized gas cylinders easier and safer, a Wintershall team from the Rehden site wins a prize from the statutory accident insurance association for raw materials and chemicals industry.

Kassel. Wintershall has been honored from the statutory accident insurance association for the raw materials and chemicals industry for its commitment to continuously improving safety in its daily work with innovative ideas and solutions. A team of four Wintershall employees collected the award for the industries “Building Materials - Stones – Earths” today (Friday, 30 March 2012) in Frankfurt for the development and construction of a combined holding, loading and transport system for pressurized gas cylinders on motor vehicles. The system makes the transportation safer and the loading process easier, and allows it to be completed comfortably by one person. The prize rewards pioneering ideas in all areas of occupational safety and health protection and awards prize money of 10,000 euros. “Safety is the number one priority at Wintershall and this award recognizes this,” Joachim Pünnel, Director of Wintershall’s operations in Germany, says happily: “We both encourage and require our employees to actively promote their own safety and that of their colleagues. And that pays off.”

The idea for the transportation system was innovative and stood out thanks to its broad field of application in many industrial branches; jury member Dieter Lasar said explaining the decision to award the prize to the Wintershall project: “An idea in which safety, ergonomics and economic efficiency go hand in hand.” The prize is one of the most prestigious prizes in Germany in the area of occupational safety and is being awarded for the 15th time this year. Around 900 participants submitted 370 entries. 42 applicants overall were awarded 17 prizes. The overall prize money totals 100,000 euros, making it the highest prize money to be awarded in the area of occupational safety in Germany.

Innovative transport system

The award-winning “One-Man Transport System” simplifies the loading and unloading of pressurized gas cylinders and makes it safer. The system was developed by tradesman Ralf Lampe, the former technical assistant Erich Kasten, production supervisor Rolf Neddermann and shift manager Thomas Post at the production site in Rehden in Lower Saxony. The system consists of a frame and a lifting device which are bolted onto the loading area of a van. The pressurized gas cylinder is protected in the lifting device from accidents by means of a half-shell. “With this device the cylinder can be tipped easily onto the loading area using an attached lever, whereby only a quarter of the weight really has to be lifted,” Erich Kasten, one of the team members behind the idea, says describing just one advantage of the system. Then the container is moved into the frame on the loading area via a track system, where it is form-locked safely in place for transportation. The neck of the bottle fits exactly into a special round holding area and is thus also securely attached.

So far the loading and transport process carried safety risks and was ergonomically less than ideal too. When loading up or unloading the gas cylinders, which weigh up to 80 kg, two people had to hold them and there was always the danger that they could slip out of the employees’ hands because of their round form and smooth surface, thereby causing injuries. The safe transportation was only possible with a complicated system to secure the load. “With the new system the loading and unloading of the cylinders can be easily carried out by just one person with minimum effort, and there is also less strain on the spinal column,” jury member Dieter Lasar explains. “The transportation mounting device also ensures the maximum protection of the gas cylinders during transportation.”

Safety is a top priority at Wintershall

As the leading German company in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas, Wintershall is especially aware of its responsibility. “Sustained commercial success is not possible without Health, Safety, Environment – HSE,” Guido Schnieders, Corporate HSE Manager at Wintershall explains. “Systematically reducing the risks to people and the natural environment is one of the company’s objectives.” Wintershall therefore sets its own standards in its environment and safety protection measures, which usually go beyond the legal requirements.

Wintershall also rewards innovative solutions for occupational safety as well as environmental and health protection. The company has been awarding the HSE Award, a prize for outstanding projects in the fields of occupational safety, environmental and health protection, since 2007. With the HSE Award Wintershall rewards proactive and creative measures in the Group which have led to a significant improvement to aspects of HSE and can be used in various ways. The aim of the competition is to further improve the high level of HSE protection.

Wintershall Holding GmbH, based in Kassel, Germany, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BASF in Ludwigshafen. The company has been active in the extraction of natural resources for 120 years, and in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas for over 80 years. Wintershall focuses on selected core regions where the company has built up a high level of regional and technological expertise. These are Europe, Russia, North Africa, South America, and increasingly the Middle East region. The company wants to expand its business further with exploration and production, selected partnerships, innovation and technological competence. Wintershall employs some 2,500 staff worldwide from 40 nations and is now Germany’s largest,internationally active crude oil and natural gas producer. 

Wintershall. Shaping the Future.