The BlueScope Tour

Bluescope is iconic for Broadspectrum and the Illawarra region and has been a valuable subcontractor onsite for decades. On this contract Skout supports Broadspectrum with a blend of permanent and casual staff for shutdowns, maintenance, facilities management and fabrication services.

Around 3,000 people work for BlueScope directly and the steelworks support about 10,000 other jobs in the Illawarra region. BlueScope is built on 760 hectares of land, this means that you can fit over 700 football fields inside the steelworks. You are constantly reminded of the size of BlueScope whether you are inside or outside the gates. It takes a very long time to drive around the steelworks and there are a lot of typical things to see along the road like the iconic BlueScope silos, large conveyors, chimneys and industrial ovens sticking out. When you walk along the beach you can see multiple tanker ships on the horizon patiently waiting to enter the steelworks. BlueScope even has its own train station on the south coast line called Lysaght.

In order to enter one of the many gates of the premises, you require site specific inductions that include road and rail regulations. This is because BlueScope is bigger than many of the suburbs in the area. Every street within the steelworks have street names and there are also traffic signs. The buildings are enormous, warehouses can be over a kilometer long and the highest building in the steelworks is 9 stories high.

An industrial site of this size requires a lot of maintenance as you can imagine. Various trades staff like boilermakers, electricians, fitters, riggers, supervisors and trades assistants work around the clock to keep the whole plant up and running. All the different departments in the steel making process plan must schedule their maintenance carefully. For large maintenance requirements a department or part of a department occasionally needs to shut down. In order to maximize productivity these shutdowns are around the clock and could take hours or days at the most.

The largest shutdown at BlueScope is at the No.5 Blast Furnace. The Blast Furnace is over 8 stories high and is used for smelting. Certain materials are added to the top of the furnace and the molten iron is drilled from the bottom. This is a critical part of the steel making process. The Blast Furnace is over eight stories high and takes a couple of days to shut down, this process requires hundreds of extra tradies. The No.5 Blast Furnace only shuts down twice a year on this large scale and the next shutdown is scheduled in March so all hands-on deck!

about the author

Tim Claessen - Industrial Consultant

Tim is Skout Solutions Industrial consultant.

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