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Holly Arthur
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Erik Rancatore
Director, Content Development

May 09, 2017

Cement Industry Honors Leaders in Safety Innovation

PCA Announces 2017 Safety Innovation Awards

May 9, 2017, WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Portland Cement Association (PCA) today announced the winners of the 2017 Safety Innovation Awards, which recognize creative safety-enhancing projects in the cement industry. Presented at the PCA Board meeting and Fly-In event, the winners were determined by a panel of judges that evaluated innovative submissions from across the country in the following categories: distribution, pyroprocessing, general facility, and milling/grinding.

“Employee and workplace safety is a core value of the American cement industry,” said PCA President and CEO James G. Toscas. “We congratulate the winners and are proud of their effort to pursue excellence in safety innovation for their company and their colleagues.”

The following are the 2017 Safety Innovation Award winners:

Milling/Grinding Category

Winner: Ash Grove Cement, Montana City, Mont.

Grinding Media Loading Hopper:  Ash Grove’s Montana City employees designed and built a grinding media hopper which is loaded on the ground (with a skid steer), lifted into place by a hoist and discharges grinding media directly into the mills. This new hopper has eliminated the uncontrolled release of grinding media while charging the mills, and decreased the total amount of time for this operation.    


Winner: CEMEX USA, Balcones, Texas

Upgraded personal protective equipment (PPE) for hotwork:  A preheater task force was commissioned to review the company’s procedures and PPE when working around preheaters. This task force included representatives from every CEMEX facility throughout the U.S.  Numerous tests and extensive research were done on the different types of protective clothing and equipment. These tests mimicked kiln feed making contact with an employee while he/she worked on the preheaters. Several new types of PPE were identified as better performing materials.  The task force then created a visual PPE selection chart of the upgraded equipment for all CEMEX employees.

Distribution Category

Winner: CalPortland Cement Terminal, Portland, Ore.

Railcar Opener Mounted on Bucket Elevator: CalPortland employees found a better way to perform a bucket elevator mechanical inspection while the elevator is locked out.  These employees found that when they mounted a railcar opener on a bucket elevator, they could advance the elevator chain very slowly for inspection and still maintain control of the energy sources. They were able to complete three complete bucket elevator inspections in 2016 and plan to do regular inspections on all bucket elevators to prevent catastrophic failures in future.

Winner: LafargeHolcim US, Corporate Program, Chicago

Pneumatic Hatch Program for Tanker Trucks:  LafargeHolcim (LH) has been operating its pneumatic tanker fleet with pneumatic hatches for some time. These hatches completely eliminate the need for a driver to climb on top of his truck, and also reduce the time to load a truck by six minutes.  In 2016, LH launched a financial incentive program for contract haulers which included an incentive towards the installation of pneumatic hatches on their trucks.  The company surpassed their initial goal of 5 percent of all loads transported by contractors, by achieving an 11 percent participation rate for the year.

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For more information, contact: Erik Rancatore, 847-972-9138,

The Portland Cement Association (PCA), founded in 1916, is the premier policy, research, education, and market intelligence organization serving America’s cement manufacturers.  PCA members represent 92 percent of U.S. cement production capacity and have facilities in all 50 states.  The association promotes safety, sustainability, and innovation in all aspects of construction, fosters continuous improvement in cement manufacturing and distribution, and generally promotes economic growth and sound infrastructure investment.  For more information, visit

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