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SAEMA member featured in Channel 5 series

Tony Robinson is currently exploring the hidden wonders of the 215-mile River Thames in Channel 5’s documentary The Thames At Night.

Through the course of the four-part Channel 5 series, historian Tony examines the fascinating world of work that goes on along the river once the sun goes down – and discovers it now transports more goods than it ever has in its history.

He travels from the Thames estuary in the East right through the heart of London and beyond.

As well as meeting the people who spend their working lives on the water he goes behind the scenes at huge landmarks – including the Thames Barrier.

“It’s at night when all these very skilled people come out to work to keep things running.”

Among a number of specialist services providers, the series has featured the work of Access, Lifting, Pulling and Safety Ltd (ALPS). The company works UK-wide, supplying standard suspended access equipment to help clients solve a range of site requirements. In London, this includes Tower Bridge.

ALPS was asked to supply a bespoke suspended access solution to enable preparation and painting works to be carried out to the underside of the upper walkways. Due to road closure time restraints, conventional scaffolding was not an option. ALPS part-assembles its space frame access platforms in the factory; they were then transported to the bridge by lorry. Once parked on the deck, the space frame platforms were equipped with rigging hosts and back-up safety devices; the lifting systems were then attached to beam clamps installed to the cross girders by ALPS rope access operatives.

The completed platforms were raised to the underside of the walkways in 10 minutes and the eight hand-operated hoists were attached: all installation lifting equipment was then removed. The platforms were equipped with on-board tracks and trolleys, which were used to traverse the platform across the length of the walkways as and when required. To ensure maximum safety, ALPS supplied on-going site management for the access systems.

ALPS is a member of SAEMA (Specialists Access Equipment and Maintenance Association). SAEMA provides the best training and guidance in the temporary and permanent suspended access industry, and counts some of the most respected and trusted industry practitioners among its members. In fact, being a SAEMA member, like ALPS, is a clear indication that you are committed to advancing safety and best practice.

To find out more about SAEMA and its member benefits, please visit:

Image: Stephen & Katherine. Shared under Creative Commons Licence.