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For 20 years, Total Access (UK) Ltd has been at the forefront of rope access and height safety support services through its dedicated attention to providing safe, quality solutions to difficult access problems.
Initially marketing itself as a training centre, Total Access quickly diversified into the four departments that define it today – training, equipment, contracting, and fall protection.
The operational (contracting) side of the business is primarily concerned with onshore and offshore industrial rope access, as well as confined spaces work for the power generation, and oil and gas industries. Within the power generation sector, Total Access also provides a number of teams for working at height and confined space stand-by rescue cover.
Total Access is the largest independent equipment supplier in the UK, offering the biggest names in height safety equipment from a single source. This includes a complete range from fall arrest to work restraint and work positioning equipment. Equally, Total Access manufactures its own innovative bespoke equipment kits in partnership with leading UK end users to meet specific requirements.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that whilst there is a lot of standard equipment out there, if a company wants equipment developing that’s where we come in,” explains technical director Ben Haughton. “We are independent of any manufacturers so we are able to speak to a wide spread of individuals, get their best ideas and engage them in research and development (R&D). We set aside quite a large proportion of our resource for R&D tasks for new equipment opportunities, and have been instrumental in designing products suitable for power generation applications.”
Having been a staple in the business since the beginning, one of Total Access’ most widely promoted brands is S-Cape. The S-Cape tertiary evacuation system is sold into the offshore industry as a means of escape from installations when conventional methods are not possible. Both an evacuation and rescue system are available within the S-Cape range, these products are supported by a dedicated training scheme that can be implemented both on and offshore. Throughout its 20 year lifetime S-Cape has continually evolved in line with the changing markets, the latest of which Ben is keen to outline: “We are currently undertaking a full review of the S-Cape range, to make it even more economically acceptable, to improve safety and functionality as better components are offered to us.
“As we go throughout the world we are aware of the different requirements of each environment and strive to create one system that fits all – rather than regional variations. For instance in the North Sea the S-cape has to fit over a survival suit, whereas this is not such an issue in warmer climates. But in turn, here we face high humidity in storage so we have to try to overcome all of these problems. That’s why we’re always looking to review the quality of the component parts because whilst we hope that the equipment never has to be used in earnest, if it does it needs to be working 100 per cent when its deployed” he continues.
Given its background, it is of little surprise that Total Access is also the UK’s leading height safety/confined spaces training provider. This reputation has recently looked to be enhanced even further with the opening of a new dedicated training facility in Hull. “This facility is in partnership with an organisation called HOTA – Humberside Offshore Training Association, and as such is known as Total Access at HOTA. The centre is predominately aimed at the offshore and renewables industry, due to its dockside location, which gives us the ability to train over water. With a fast rescue boat on site and control room, we can mock up offshore scenarios quite easily at the facility,” says Ben.
“We always like to think that we set standards, particularly in training, and therefore are eagerly awaiting the launch of our new initiative where we will be teaming up with one of the UK’s major training accreditation bodies. This will enable us to underpin our training courses with external quality accreditation, which we believe will be attractive to customers that want an assured level of training quality,” he adds.
Such investment is testament to the stable growth that Total Access has seen over its lifetime, even in the years following the economic downturn. The company is now looking at a much more aggressive growth plan for the next three to four years, particularly targeted at the oil and gas industry. “My background is in oil and gas, and therefore I very much want to promote our services within this market. Already I have timetabled a programme in the upcoming year to concentrate on projects that will deliver directly the oil and gas industry,” elaborates Ben.
Of course it is not just new products that have a place in this sector, there is also a lot of potential for Total Access’ existing range to be put into the oil and gas, and wind energy renewables markets, such as different forms of escape and self-rescue. One example is the company’s Rescue Genie system, which is a method of recovering an individual in fall arrest. This product is due to be promoted in the oil and gas sector as it has a clear place in this. Equally, as the offshore industry changes so does its requirements, and therefore Total Access is keen to tackle its customers’ upcoming problems with innovative new developments.
Services: Height safety support