2020 Safety Innovation Award Winners
The 2020 Safety Innovation Awards recognize creative safety enhancing projects in the cement industry. The winners were determined by a panel of judges that evaluated projects completed in 2019 from across the country in five categories: distribution, pyroprocessing, general facility, quarry and mine, and milling and grinding.
Barge Entry Ladder:
Buzzi Unicem's Joliet cement terminal reduced fall hazards associated with unloading cement from barges by designing an adjustable wall-mounted barge entry ladder. Prior to this innovation, workers entering cement barges to diagnose or fix issues had to climb over the barge wall using a standard extension ladder, which created an unnecessary fall potential. The barge entry ladder mounts to the side of the barge wall, can be adjusted to the height and thickness of the wall, and is easy to hook up, move, and mount with a crane. The new ladder gives operators a much safer and sturdier way to get into the barge when necessary.
Upgraded Cart for Burner Pipes:
Ash Grove Cement Company’s Durkee plant reduced safety hazards associated with moving cement kiln burner pipes by designing an upgraded, automated cart. Prior to this innovation, the 9-ton burner pipes had to be hoisted to a rudimentary cart that was incrementally moved using forklifts and up to six employees who manually repositioned the cart using long pry bars. Hazards included line of fire contact with bars, pinch points, sprains and strains. The new cart includes two hydraulic motors, a chain and sprocket drive, three bank return-to-neutral valve assembly, electric winch, deep cycle batteries, and roller fair leads. With these upgrades, each pair of wheels can be steered independently, the cradles can be lifted, and the cart’s movements can be controlled with far greater precision.
Roller Mill Noise Reduction:
The Monarch Cement Company’s Humboldt plant reduced noise hazards at its roller mill by custom designing foam insulators filling gaps in mill components. Prior to the innovation, the roller mill exhibited a loud whistling noise (117 decibels) caused by air traveling through seals separating various components of the mill. Maintenance staff determined that a majority of the noise was coming from a gap between the reject chamber and the rotating reducer table, and designed and installed foam insulators to fit the assembly and fill the gap, which reduced the noise to 95 decibels, making it acceptable for use with standard hearing protection.
Finish Mill Access Platform:
Buzzi Unicem USA’s Chattanooga plant reduced fall hazards from accessing the finish mill by designing, fabricating, and installing a platform above the mill. Prior to this innovation, workers had to don a safety harness and walk across the top of the mill while being tethered to a cable that extended the length of the mill, creating a fall risk, particularly when carrying parts or tools across the mill. The platform provided a strong engineering control that reduces the fall hazards associated with mill maintenance and made it easier to move parts and tools and conduct maintenance activities.
Semi-Automated Clinker Feeding System:
GCC of America's Pueblo plant reduced employee exposure time and risk associated with working inside the clinker dome by designing a semi-automated clinker dome feed system. Prior to the innovation, employees would work in the dome for an entire shift to move and feed clinker to various extraction chutes, increasing exposure to falling material, work in a hot and dusty environment, low visibility, and haul truck traffic. After completion of the auto-feed system, employees now work inside the dome for approximately four hours a day to assist the auto-feed, reducing the manual movement of clinker and eliminating the need for haul trucks to enter the dome. In addition to the great safety benefits, the company also increased efficiencies by significantly decreasing dome fill time using the auto-feed system.
Dump Box Hardened Material Extraction Tool:
Ash Grove Cement Company’s Louisville plant reduced multiple hazards associated with moving material by developing a dump box hardened material extraction tool for their skid steer. Prior to this innovation, employees had manually clean sticky wet or damp earthen material that remained and hardened in the dump truck box after movement, requiring employees to don fall protection, climb into the back of the elevated, unprotected truck box, and manually break up the materials with a jack hammer, pick, or pry bar. Safety concerns included sprains, strains, impact injuries, dust, and larger flying pieces of materials that could get in a worker’s eye. The attachment reduces these risks by allowing the operator to sit safely and securely in the climate-controlled cab of the skid steer and work the end of the extraction tool across the dump box to break up the hardened material.