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Immediate Response Saves Danish Workplaces

A night in June it burned at Rose Poultry’s poultry production unit in Vinderup.

In less than 24 hours, 500 workplaces were in danger of going up into flames, but soon it was clear that the owners of Rose Poultry would do anything to keep production in Denmark.

Here’s the story about, how Rose Poultry got to produce again – told by the involved parties.

A number of Denmark’s leading experts were ready to help the company back on its feet before the last smoulders were put out.
There is a particular atmosphere at Rose Poultry’s slaughterhouse. An atmosphere which takes one by surprise, if one is not used to walking around between dead chicks and the people who slaughters them. There’s an atmosphere of respect.

Everybody gets out of the way for the small forklifts which speed up and down the production halls all the time. Everybody speaks nicely to all – even though it is a place where chicks will die there is a distinct respect for the animal and the way it gets slaughtered.

It is a workplace where more than 20% of the employees have been more than 20 years. So when it burns in June 2012, many fears that their workplace through a long life is about to go up into flames.

That goes for production manager Klaus Sloth Petersen too, ”I can still remember standing out on the place outside the main building and watching how the firemen fought the fire and thinking: ”this is the end of a good and long working life here. Now you have to find a good way to shut it down, Klaus”.

Within a day, we were all dismissed, but within a day I also knew that the Finnish owner wanted to save it all, and most of us would get a job again. The message from management was clear. We have the expertise and knowledge that cannot just be replace abroad just like that.

Reconditioning in sections and phases
In the second, it was clear that the purpose was to save the production; a larger organization went to work; one thing is to decide to save the production – another thing is to actually doing it.

On the way away from the flames, a couple of employees had closed several fire doors. That way they saved a part of Rose Poultry from burning to the ground.

Their swiftness was crucial both for the recovery plan that was going to bring the slaughterhouse back to work and how quickly they could reemploy people.

”Had they not closed those doors, then everything would have burned down or been severely damaged with soot and then we would have had to start from scratch”, Klaus tells.

Rose Poultry’s management hired the consultancy firm, Cowi right away, and they were on site as the first.

They are used to co-ordinate extensive reconditioning projects, and they know how crucial it is to get the right people to the scene of the accident right away – within hours.

While the fire still smouldered, Cowi immediately contacted AREPA, who are experts in technical damage control. They were going to help assess the seriousness of the situation re the technical aspect and ISS damage control re cleaning.

AREPA is specialists in saving damaged material and giving advice on how to prevent damage in developing further.

Rose Poultry’s production site was some places almost not damaged and other places destroyed by fire. Therefore, they divided the place into 4 sections. The section, which was worst, was a site of fire where everything was gone and had to be re-built again.Local builders and contractors were hired for this work and this way many local jobs were created.

A white landscape
Henrik Holm, Senior Project Manager at AREPA tells about the first time he enters Rose Poultry after it burned, ”I’m used to coming to places like Rose Poultry, but it is the first time in my life I have entered a white landscape.

It was the foam insulation which developed to white dust when it burned that caused this. As all other places, the first I did was to assess whether there was sulfuric acid and hydrochloric acid on the surfaces in question. There was nothing aggressive so the work could begin”.

When security was in order, Henrik used the first critical hours on a thorough description of what was necessary to do in the different parts of the production area regarding the damaged material.

Besides making a plan, he gave good advice to those who were going to move around the site.

One thing is to stop a fire or another accident - another thing is to prevent the consequential damage which can be extremely significant if the cleaning process is not initiated immediately and is done correctly.

”In its core it is all about limiting loss of time and loss of production as much as possible. It can only be done if people know what happens to things which have been exposed to such a powerful force as a fire is. How things react afterwards. Metals i.e. corrode when electric tension occurs on a surface. Corrosion on iron is known as rust. That is what we can as experts – stop the process, so we save the material”, Henrik tells.

The chicks do not stop growing
It was soon obvious that though Rose Poultry would be ready for production again, a parallel factory in Aars had to take over some production for a while.”The chicks keep growing even though our production site is burned down, and they have to be slaughtered before a certain size otherwise it affects the animal well-fare. So they had to go to Aars”.

While section 1 slowly got back to normal and the chicks had been moved to Aars, AREPA started on section 2 and section 3.

As the very first AREPA started with the breaker panel because without electricity

– no production.

”So we cleaned the breaker panels, both distribution board and machine and building boards”, Henrik tells.

Everything that was not damaged by the heat could be saved.

Close to being back on track
It only took a month after the fire till Rose Poultry could begin to slaughter again.

When the facilities were made ready the management had a production plant sent from the sister slaughterhouse in Padborg, and the employees were ready.

”It has been a unique co-operation between us from Rose Poultry, the management and employees, the people from Cowi, ISS and AREPA as well as a lot of local people.

“A sincere wish to maintain a good workplace in Vinderup has characterized the co-operation, and nobody cut corners”, Klaus tells and emphasizes that the process of getting back to slaughter again went quicker than anyone could have dreamt of when they stood one June night and watched the fire that raged.

While Klaus and his colleagues return to normal working days, Henrik continues to work with his colleagues on getting the final machines and breaker panels ready.

He also noticed the particular atmosphere at Rose Poultry, ”Everybody has given 110 %. I’m sure they have done that because Rose Poultry’s management quickly announced that they wanted to save the place. The good atmosphere has influenced us as guests, and it has been a pleasure to be a part of saving Rose Poultry’s poultry slaughterhouse in Vinderup”.

In this way, Rose Poultry has become a little light in the dark in a time when workplaces flow out of the country.

They have, as few, been able to maintain a large local workplace in Vinderup and on top of that created jobs for a lot of local people in connection with the recovery process.

Read more about Rose Poultry and AREPA:

Download case (PDF)
Rose Poultry June 2012

After the fire

It is not “snow” – but
“white dust”

Professional technical reconditioning by AREPA

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