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Fall Protection: How keeping workers safe can also keep them productive

Safety and productivity aren't mutually exclusive. While productivity should never come at the safety of workers, when it comes to designing a fall protection or crossover system, ease of use can enhance both safety and productivity. That's what NALCO Energy Services Division found when it worked with SafeRack to develop a gangway and fall protection system aimed at giving workers safe access to unload isotainers.

Engineering Safety and Productivity

The NALCO Freeport, Tex. facility produces raw materials for its other plants. Some of the materials required to produce these raw materials arrive in isotainers, which led to a project with two objectives:

  1. Provide workers with safe access to the tops of isotainers for safe unloading of materials
  2. Enable workers access to the isotainers without being tied off in a harness, and make the solution easy to operate

The first objective was fairly straight forward. However, the second objective is where the SafeRack team worked with NALCO Plant Engineer Bill Brown and his team to design an easy, more productive approach than the harness.

"Safety is definitely number one at NALCO," said Brown. "All of our operations, all of our projects take safety into consideration and it's our number one priority. If it's not safe, we don't do it."

The SafeRack team designed an adjustable safe closure that includes a cage and gangway. Workers can easily lower the safe closure manually over the existing floor atop the isotainer. A gangway is also lowered enabling workers to safely walk onto the top of the isotainer. The closure, which meets OSHA height requirements, was designed to eliminate any gaps between the cage and the existing floor.

"SafeRack was very responsive with their engineering group and their sales force," said Brown. He explained that the engineering collaboration identified NALCO needs and arrived at a viable cost-effective solution to meet those needs.

Learn how you can apply a fall protection system that encourages safety and productivity.

Is Your Fall Protection Plan Lucky or Safety?

When a worker survives a fall unscathed, we often hear someone say he or she was "lucky." While that may be true, luck, good fortune or guardian angels are no substitute for an effective fall protection plan. We talked to numerous customers about their fall protection plans to come up with the following four pillars of our SAFE fall protection plan. Think of them as your lucky four leaf clover.

1. See This first pillar involves identifying where the greatest risk of fall lies. Conduct a fall hazard analysis of the work area and identify the extent of the hazard and what you can do to eliminate or mitigate risk.

2. Act Assign and empower a safety team. In many companies the safety team has the authority to act on safety issues, especially issues that can be remedied quickly. For those safety issues that may require additional investment, the team acts as a liaison with management to escalate the safety issue and work toward a remedy.

3. Follow-up This pillar refers to issues previously addressed as well as changes that may have introduced new safety issues. Follow-up is the equivalent of continuous improvement. It's about continuously seeking to improve safety through policy, practices or new / improved personal protection equipment (PPE).

4. Engage Companies with the safest records also have a high rate of engagement and awareness in safety among colleagues. Whether it's through safety-specific training programs or operator training programs that integrate safety, these companies continually cultivate a safety mindset into everything they do.

Stay SAFE. That's our motto. Leave luck for the lottery, and plan for effective fall protection. Often a safer workplace involves small common sense changes or investments that far outweigh the effects of a fall. Changes to a procedure, the addition of PPE or a safety gate or work platform--all can significantly improve safety. Learn how SafeRack can improve fall protection at your workplace.

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Product Description: MAUI-1014 portable unit for accessing trucks
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Proper Safety Equipment Can Prevent Costly Falls

Article printed in Ethanol Producer Magazine - July 2009

Adequate fall protection equipment continues to be a concern for agencies tasked with ensuring employee safety. Terminal operators striving to make their storage facilities as safe as possible should consider various safety systems to help employees avoid possible accidents.

railcar fall safety

 

Employees tasked with unloading bulk liquids from railcars are at risk of falls and should be offered protection to help ensure their safety. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, any time a worker is at a height of four feet or more, they are at risk and need to be protected.

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