2023 Safety Innovation Award Winners

Portland Cement Association’s (PCA) Safety Innovation Awards (SIA) reward creative solutions to safety challenges in cement facilities. Companies submit projects that PCA anonymizes for scoring by representatives from member companies, NGOs in the mining sector, and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Entries are judged in five areas: innovation, ease of use and ease of construction, effectiveness, and risk prevention. The team chose four projects to receive the awards this year:

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Load Out Tower – This project was developed and implemented in the Continental Cement Port Allen (POA) Terminal in Baton Rouge, LA. In the Port Allen Terminal, the barge unloader was operated by an employee who had to stand on the side of the barge and look over the barge wall to work the vacuum system and successfully unload a barge. The employee had to put on a personal floatation device (PFD) and dust mask. They then had to step off the dock onto the barge and connect themselves with a body belt. Employee would be exposed to hazards including slips, trips and fall stepping from dock to barge, fall into moving water, caught in between dock and barge, airborne dust, hazards from wearing PPE such as heat exhaustion and dehydration, exposure to weather conditions including, high heat, cold, rain and wind.  

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Mitsubishi Cement Corporation (MCC) partnered with Tactical Hearing to develop a hearing device, “Industria TI36HD” that helps employees with some hearing loss hear better in noisy work environments while minimizing further impacts on the employees’ hearing. When an employee has hearing loss from work or personal activities, it makes communication by phone or radio difficult, especially in noisy work environments. The employee tends to turn up the volume and push the speaker into their ear, potentially incurring further hearing loss. 

MCC Safety Superintendent Jim Anderson teamed with Tactical Hearing in Lehi, Utah to develop a device that suppresses background noise and elevates specific frequencies the employee has experienced a hearing shift. This makes the device both hearing protection and a hearing aid. This allows employees to carry on a conversation in the noisy work environment. 

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Each kiln has a camera for measuring the temperatures inside. These cameras are mounted to the kiln door and must be removed when there is an outage. The cameras are heavy and hot, and are difficult to remove and place on the stands safely. Team created a rolling rack that can easily be positioned under the camera. With a simple lever mechanism, It lifts the camera enough to give the operator complete control removing it in a safe, organized manor. Team also added a “safety bolt” which attaches the kiln camera to the rack to further reduce the risk of a mishap while handling.

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Engineered, fabricated, and installed a new handrail section in front of the coal mill. The new design allows the yokes to pass through without removing the handrail. Currently, every item being craned out of the coal mill requires fall protection equipment and removal of the handrail.