A day in the life of the senior mechanical supervisor generally starts early, with breakfast around 0600 hrs, then off to the main powerhouse to start daily observations and some maintenance. The day tanks need to be filled with fuel and the engines checked for normal operation as well as some cleaning and a host of checks in and around the building to ensure there are no fuel leak, oil or water leaks. Constant awareness for weather damage and animal damage is a priority. Both can be unexpected and unforgiving in this remote and extremely severe environment.
Then off to the workshop and fuel farm. Here again are routine checks to ensure the integrity of the fuel storage facility and that no animals have managed to get into the enclosure overnight. The same checks are required for all the machinery and flammable goods buildings. Especially important after storms and unusually cold weather.
These daily inspections nearly always turn up some jobs that need attending to, either immediately or that can be put on a list to be completed in due time.
After these checks it is then time to commence management and administration tasks. These include but are not limited to checking correspondence, the daily work list and any prearranged commitments for the particular day, both work and community based.
After those are put in order it is a matter of prioritising the major tasks for the day and starting work on them. Such things as servicing and repair of vehicles, machinery and equipment and fuel transfers. The weather comes into play here as some tasks are too difficult or dangerous in some weather conditions.
The role of a station mechanic is a dynamic one requiring tolerance, initiative, stamina and above all determination.
A list of tasks are compiled in a system called Maximo where the mechanical section at Kingston head office compile an annual program, spacing the workload over the year. Maximo also include jobs raised locally.
This record keeping and management is crucial for the complete coverage of the equipment on the island and smooth operation of all the components in the mechanical section. Importantly this system allows for the planning for a maximum economic life all the vehicles, machinery and equipment.
At 0900 hrs, the powerhouse is visited again to complete the logging of the last 24 hours of statistics for power consumed on station, fuel consumed and maintenance needed to achieve that.
Then, back to the workshop to continue on with the tasks for the day.
Some of these are station and socially based such as meetings, presenting information to management and participating in managing station operations. Equally important is supporting any area which may need help in trades, science or community life aspects.
Qualified trades people and expeditioners need to be trained in machinery and and vehicle operation and fuel supplied to services for heating, rubbish and waste material processing.
During the day there are brief stops in work for meal breaks. Then, in the evening more attention to the powerhouse to monitor its operation and wellness.
At the end of the day, all machinery is parked away from the weather and animal interference for secure storage overnight.
It is now about 1800 hrs and tea time where the station gathers for the main meal of the day, where we unwind to discuss the days work and have a general catch–up.
After dinner, there is one last trip to the powerhouse to ensure it is operating well for the night and compile more statistics of the day’s operation. This is around about 2100 hrs and that, under normal circumstances, is the end of a day in the life of the senior mechanical supervisor.
Lionel Whitehorn, Senior Mechanical Supervisor