Mix Facility Fall Protection by Karen Yardley
After many years of discussion we were fi - nally able to find a practi - cal solution to the hazards involved with changing out the downpipes at our particulate hoppers and Swecos at the Mix Facility. Here’s a recap of how we were finally able to suc - cessfully mitigate this risk: In January of this past
(left) floorplate in place (right) floorplate removed
year, we decided it was time to get some outside resources involved since we felt like we were spinning our wheels looking for solutions internally. We contacted Equipment Depot and Fitzgerald to see if there were manlifts avail- able that would meet our needs. We shared an idea about modifying the floor plates with Beesing Welding out of Oregon, IL. And finally, we sought out a fall protection specialist through Grainger. In February, we trialed articulating manlifts but they still couldn’t get to the area we needed to reach. In April, Beesing Welding made the modifications to the particulate hopper floorplates so that these downpipes could be handled from the Sweco room. They were able to do all of the work on site with minimal impact to the mixing operation. Since this wasn’t an option for the Sweco downpipe, we still needed to investigate fall protection. After working with a recommended fall specialist, we ordered the necessary PPE including anchors, harness vests and SRLs (Self Retracting Lifelines.) In May of 2020, Facility Maintenance installed the ceiling anchors for the PPE and by the second week of June, we had the SRLs installed and we had completed in house training with all affected employees. We were feeling pretty good about finally having a resolution to this hazard. We were planning to do an article for the Crest Ink then to celebrate this “win” and then we started having issues with the SRLs not extending like they should for normal use. We contacted the manufacturer and their response was that this happened quite often; they considered it “normal.” We were not comfortable with this response so we contacted the vendor to explore other options. Purchasing also started looking at other vendors and manufacturers. One of our other vendors suggested we meet with a fall protec- tion specialist that works with Honeywell/Miller. After a visit to Crest, he recommended a different harness (more easily inspected) and a different SRL. After a trial of the new fall restraint system in August, we were comfortable moving forward again and have not encountered any issues to date. Employees who were to use the fall protection system attended a training session presented by the fall protection specialist to learn about the new equipment. It was stressed how important a careful inspection of this equipment is before each use to assure it is in good working condition. It is vital not to use the equipment if the inspection reveals an unsafe condition and to report those conditions to management immediately.
October, November, December 2020 & January, February, March 2021 Crest Ink 21
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