Tradesales Provides Bulk Drinking Water to Remote Worksites with their Innovative Hydration Stations

Tradesales Hydration Stations are modified shipping containers designed for remote worksites in extreme outdoor environments, equipped with powerful air-conditioning, comfortable seating, and the best in ice machines, water dispensers, and freezers.

This article originally appeared in the August 2022 edition of the Resources Review magazine.

Australians on remote mining and construction sites face some of the world’s hottest and driest working conditions, which can increase the risk of heat stress, dehydration, fatigue, and cause accidents or injuries.

Due to the risks caused by heat, WA’s Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 requires employers to provide and maintain a working environment in which workers are not exposed to hazards. This applies to any safety and health risk, including illness from working in the heat.

According to Ben Judd, general manager of West Australian workplace equipment and storage solutions supplier, Tradesales, mining operators and contractors are all too aware of the dangers of heat stress and dehydration.

“In extremely hot environments, workers can lose up to a litre of fluid every hour and without replacing that fluid, they can experience a rapid decline in physical and cognitive function,” said Mr Judd.

“Our clients have in-depth programs to educate their workers on these risks, but education only goes far.

“So, we thought, rather than bringing people to the water, why not take the water to the people. Which is how the Hydration Station was born.”

According to Ben, the original concept for the modified container started after a conversation with long-term client Rio Tinto.

The company went to the drawing board and researched dehydration risks during busy periods like shutdowns, finding a study conducted by Newcrest at their Telfer mine in the morning before the start of a shift.

The study found that three per cent of their shutdown staff were dehydrated before their shift started and had to be stood down from work or needed further medical attention, and up to one-third of all workers didn’t start the day with sufficient levels of hydration.

“We surmised that if people weren’t starting their day fully hydrated, then they were certainly at risk on the job,” said Ben.

“Our first design looked quite different from how it looks today. In fact, it was quite simple. But the more we proposed the idea and collaborated with key clients such as Rio Tinto, BHP and Thiess, the more detailed the design became. Each of our clients gave us feedback, which we have incorporated into the current generation of the Hydration Station.”

The Hydration Station is built in regional Western Australia at the company’s factory in Cunderdin, about two hours east of Perth.

The Hydration Station is built out of a fresh shipping container that’s fully insulated and comes standard with a high-powered air conditioner to keep the room cool. It can be fitted with up to four Aquapax 1,000-litre water pods, giving operators and contractors the flexibility to position it anywhere. Alternatively, the Hydration Station can also be connected to the mains water supply.

The modified container provides an area for rest and respite close to the work site, where workers can refill their bottles with water and ice and generally cool down and catch their breath before returning to the job.

The modular design is entirely customisable, right down to having one door or two to avoid congestion at the entrance. The internal configuration can also be optioned with extras such as glass front fridges for lunch packs, freezers for electrolyte icy poles, and even bench seating for short breaks out of the heat.

Ben says that the self-contained units are the ideal solution for reducing downtime on the job and increasing safety on site due to their mobility and ease of installation.

The containers can be lifted and moved by forklift or crane for relocation around the site and are easily transported between sites by rail, road, or sea.

Moreover, the containers are extremely tough, secure, and durable, requiring only light maintenance. They are built to weather extreme conditions and can even be supplied with concrete tie-down blocks for cyclone-prone areas.

Repurposing and modifying shipping containers is one of Tradesales’ specialities.

On top of the Hydration Station, the company offers similar solutions for remote offices, dangerous good storage, temperature-controlled storage, lube dispensing containers and more.

“Tradesales has been manufacturing bespoke storage and workplace solutions for the mining industry for over three decades. Due to this experience and our local manufacturing capability, we provide predictable upfront costs, precise timelines, and minimal impact on our client’s operation,” summarised Ben.

The company can also cater to any workplace’s unique requirements, with their in-house design team able to deliver custom designs and builds across their range of products.

Learn more about Hydration Station Containers here.