Magnox North gives Safetrak® the thumbs up

To maintain the highest safety standards at five of the UK.s largest nuclear decommissioning sites, Magnox North has turned to the Safetrak system, the new electronic inspection system from Scafftag, to streamline the inspections and reporting processes for its many scaffolding structures and equipment to increase efficiency and safety on site.

Magnox North is the management and operations contractor responsible for the day-to-day safe delivery of the operations and decommissioning programmes on the five UK sites that they operate on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. These site operations include electricity generation at Oldbury in Gloucestershire, Wylfa and Maentwrog in North Wales and defueling and decommissioning of the former generating power stations at Chapelcross in Dumfriesshire, Hunterston A in Ayrshire and Trawsfynydd, also in North Wales.

Decommissioning a British nuclear site is an extremely dangerous business and onethat naturally holds the health and safety of its workers as an utmost priority. With over 60 years experience in managing and operating plants within the UK.s stringent regulations, Magnox North prides itself on a skilled workforce that has a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the UK regulatory environment. Its goal, always, is to achieve the safe delivery and highest standards of operational performance on the five sites through continuous improvement and compliance with the authorisations and requirements laid down by the regulators.

Tommy Smith is the Site.s Safety Manager at Hunterston A in Ayrshire. This twin reactor Magnox power station was Scotland's first civil nuclear generating station and at the time of opening was the largest anywhere in the world, generating around 360MW of electricity during its 25 year life - enough electricity to supply 700,000 homes. Now shutdown and under decommission, safety checks are of the greatest importance and occur daily on site. Already working under tight nuclear regulations Tommy Smith and his team are responsible for the inspection of scaffolding rigs and safety equipment across the 65 hectare site. The introduction of Safetrak from Scafftag to assist with the process of inspecting and decommissioning its scaffolding structures as well as other equipment on the Magnox North site has made a sizeable difference to the business. Since employing the system, Magnox North has seen a significant reduction in the time taken to carry out inspections and complete reports, as well as a decrease in the potential for human error. Safetrak is a unique electronic system designed to transform equipment safety, maintenance and identification activities into a paperless, efficient and simplified process.

With the introduction of Safetrak, paper reports no longer have to be filled out, filed or sent off. All relevant parties have instant access to information on each scaffold structure and can use Safetrak.s simple report generation tool to compile all legally required documentation.

The Safetrak solution is made up of several integrated components:

  • Scafftag visual tagging systems enclosing an .automatic identification. chip (principally Radio Frequency Identification (RFID))
  • Mobile handhelds (PDA.s)
  • Safetrak core software (planning and reporting function)
  • Plug-in inspection software modules for managing specific equipment e.g. scaffolding, ladders, lifting equipment etc.


A Scafftag visual tag is attached to each scaffolding structure. The electronic chip contained within each visual tag has a unique reference number to identify the specific structure. The unique structure references are entered into the Safetrak system and a current status report is created for each scaffolding structure.

Inspection routes are then planned using the core Safetrak software. These are downloaded to the mobile handhelds and given to the qualified scaffolders to take out with them in the field.

The mobile devices then guide qualified scaffolders through planned routes, identifying the correct location. By scanning the visual tags, the correct specific structure can be confirmed. The required inspection checks that must be made are then specified, either for a weekly inspection (pass/pass with observations or fail), or a handover.

This means that for a report to be generated, the qualified scaffolder physically needs to be at the correct structure and scan the visual tag. This eliminates the risk of vital information being forgotten between onsite inspecting and returning to the office to write up a report - or a report being created without a qualified scaffolder being present.

The results of the inspection are recorded onto the handheld devices. Once the handheld devices are returned to the office the data can be downloaded and recorded in the core software.

This centralises all of the information collected in the field, providing the relevant managers with the latest status and an audit trail for all of the scaffolding structures. Any non-compliances are identified immediately, allowing them to be dealt with instantly.

So impressed by the Safetrak inspection tools from Scafftag, Tommy Smith explains how the introduction of Safetrak has been a tremendous assistance to daily work on site.

.Before using Safetrak, Hunterston A was like most other companies that work within construction; it employed the traditional methods of works management systems and relied upon a paper based system in order to comply with the legal requirements. This was time consuming and not fool-proof. At Hunterston A we employ approximately 200 core staff and 40 agency workers and at any one time between 150 and 200 contractors are on site to carry out numerous projects over the course of a year. Due to the residual radioactivity in the plant, the decommission process is an extremely hazardous process and therefore quality control is of paramount importance and work on site must be performed by maintaining the highest levels of safety.

Employing this number of contractors can have an enormous effect on risk assessment and health and safety practices. A rotating workforce means that rules and regulations and best practice procedures must be strictly adhered to on a daily basis. At Magnox North, health and safety legislation is an integral part of the daily routine and inspections are a crucial part of keeping the people and the environment in which they work safe. However, the time and financial implications of this are a huge cost to the business. Therefore the introduction of Safetrak provided us with a simple and effective way to manage this large work force and the hundreds of inspections that have to be carried out each week..

.At Magnox North we use Safetrak to inspect the scaffolding rigs on each of the sites. We have an electronic fog unique to each piece of equipment which means that when out in the field, any one of the team can access any defects. Safetrak will flag up items that need inspecting before and after an inspection has been performed.

The portable electrical appliances are great for showing when the next inspection date is due as well as streamlining processes.. .The Safetrak product is well worth investing in. Although initially quite expensive, the product.s advantages speak volumes. And more recently we have even started to use the Scafftag products to inspect other safety related systems in environments where multiple items need inspecting. Scafftag.s inspection management systems are currently being used to inspect fire-extinguishers, safety signs and notices and have made working on site better at Magnox North..Jason continues: .For us this is especially important for contracts in big offices that often have their own maintenance departments and may choose to do maintenance on the distribution board themselves.

When we have completed a project, each distribution board has a security seal fitted with a unique number and is signed off by the test and inspection engineer for the project. This clearly identifies any work undertaken once we have completed the project..

.I would certainly recommend Safetrak to any business seeking to make their operation run more efficiently. The implementation of Safetrak has meant that we can do away with clipboards and pens, so mobility is greatly improved. And in addition to this the guys on the field actually like using it. They feel empowered which means we have an enthused workforce wanting to use the products whilst carrying out crucial inspections.

As a result inspections are carried out more effectively and with increased satisfaction all round. It.s like going from black and white television to colour HD and it.s fun to use! It has brought our jobs into the 21st century..

Customer : Magnox North

Industry : Managing and descommissioning power stations

Solutions :

Return on investment summary

  • Easy to use system, minimising the requirement for paperwork and administration

  • Minimal paperwork generated - time can be used more efficiently (inspecting, not report writing)

  • Improved planning of the workforce

  • Programs up and coming inspection dates - no missed inspections

  • Improved management of scaffold equipment location

  • Ruggedised PDA so inspections can be recorded in any weathers.

  • Increased accuracy of information recorded at the point of inspection, the identity of the RFID tag ensures inspectors are at the correct structure.

  • Provides a step by step checklist of inspection tasks rather than relying on inspector.s intuition

  • Electronic copies so records less likely to get lost

  • Auditable trail to comply with legislation - proof of inspections

  • Instant access to current and historical data and endless options to manipulate data into clear and useful reports

  • Accessibility of information to all relevant stakeholders - improved communication

  • Added value to customers

  • Ongoing support helped ensure a smooth implementation of the new technology.