From hazardous to safe – how Oaka Constructions is keeping workers safe


The pipeline industry, with its inherent risks and demanding tasks, is acutely aware of the need to employ material handling methodologies that keep operations safer, faster, and more efficient.

For 25 years, Vacuworx has focused on developing vacuum lifting solutions, intent on ensuring worker safety, for multiple applications across various industries on large and small projects.

Accomplished in part by eliminating the need for hooks, straps, shackles, cables, and chains, adopters of vacuum lifting technology have repeatedly recognised the need for fewer tagline operators, fewer people climbing on trucks and fewer humans being asked to perform in risky work environments.

Vacuworx – a safety game-changer for Oaka Constructions

Oaka Constructions Construction Manager Kelly Barbarich is one customer who is currently utilising Vacuworx’s MC 5 vacuum lifting system on a project replacing approximately 4.4km of 560-diameter ductile pipe in the Bowen Basin in Queensland.

“On previous jobs, we would have been using old-school methods like hooks and slings,” Barbarich said.

“There was an incident while rigging, a worker missed his mark and the hook dropped, causing a serious injury to his hand.

“That really made us stop and ask the question, ‘how can we keep people away from such hazards?’

“I recall previously witnessing Vacuworx lifting systems working seamlessly on a project in Moranbah handling poly pipe but was unaware of the versatility of the systems to handling other pipe types, such as ductile. Once I knew the systems could handle other pipe types, it was an easy decision.”

Barbarich said with Vacuworx, no one needs to be near or touch the pipe, reducing risks, and improving operational efficiency.

“The Vacuworx system can lift a pipe within just two seconds, a process that would traditionally involve two workers and considerably more time,” he said.

Oaka Constructions is utilising an MC 5 on a project replacing approximately 4.4km of 560-diameter ductile pipe.

Support that makes a difference

For Oaka Constructions, the appeal of Vacuworx goes beyond the technology itself. The aftersales support offered by the company has played a pivotal role in its continued preference for Vacuworx systems.

“The most noticeable (benefit) was the support we received from Vacuworx,” he said.

“They’re always available for support, so there’s no frustration from our site team with ensuring projects are moving and any problems don’t need to be escalated.”

This consistent, reliable support system makes Vacuworx a trusted partner in its projects.

Barbarich said Vacuworx’s system is simply great as it’s easy to use, maintain, and cost-efficient.

“Now, whenever we embark on a pipeline project, the first call goes to Vacuworx,” he said.

“After we had that injury on the previous project, we decided to trial Vacuworx’s system and, well, we have been using it ever since.”

This article featured in the July edition of The Australian Pipeliner. 

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