WASHINGTON (April 24, 2018) – The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced the winners of the 2018 Safety Innovation Awards, which recognize creative safety-enhancing projects in the cement industry.  Presented at the 2018 Cement and Concrete Fly-In event, the winners were determined by a panel of judges that evaluated innovative submissions from across the country in the following categories: milling/grinding, distribution, pyroprocessing and general facility.

“The American cement industry cares deeply about employee and workplace safety,” said PCA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Ireland. “The winners demonstrate every day that safety is a primary concern. We are proud of their effort to pursue excellence in safety innovation for their company and their colleagues.”

The following are the 2018 Safety Innovation Award winners:

Milling/Grinding Category

Winner: CEMEX USA — Miami, Florida

New Process to Load Ball Mills: CEMEX’s Miami facility developed a new mill loading process that uses a small hopper for grinding media, and an incline transport system with buckets to convey the grinding media directly to the mill. This new system eliminates the interaction between the employee and the machine, reduces the number of people needed to load the mill from five to two, and eliminates the need for employees to stand on top of the mill. This new system also improves mill loading rates from seven drums-per-hour to 30 drums-per-hour.

Pyroprocessing Category

Winner: CEMEX USA — Houston, Texas

Use of Drones for Hazardous Inspections: CEMEX Houston has implemented a system for using protected air drones to inspect enclosed and confined spaces. Visual inspections of enclosed areas (preheater towers, tanks, silos, process ducts, etc.) normally require intrusive equipment, long delays for system cooling, and placement of employees on scaffolding in confined spaces. These drones utilize an outer protective cage to minimize the risk of breakage due to impact. The drone program has eliminated the risk from putting staff in confined spaces, reduced the cost of scaffolding, and reduced the overall time for inspections.

Distribution Category

Winner: LafargeHolcim US, Corporate Program — Chicago, Illinois

X-Factor Barge Cover: LafargeHolcim has developed a safe and efficient process for barge cover removal that reduces the risk of falls from employees stepping on to the barge. The X-Factor Barge Cover, developed over the last three years with a contractor, uses the latest technology and a no-touch design to allow a crane operator to perform all functions associated with barge lid handling without additional human assistance. Barge workers will no longer be required to step onto the barge to remove or replace barge covers, eliminating a potential fall risk.

General Facility Category

Winner: Ash Grove Cement Company — Louisville, Nebraska

Magnets as Duct Hole Patches: Ashgrove has developed a new and innovative hole-patch technique using magnets. The cement making process involves using approximately eight different forms of abrasive materials. This abrasive material “eats” holes in the ducts transferring the various materials. Because most of the material handled in the plant is small in size, a small hole can be a big issue. Magnetic patches are quick, simple, and effective at preventing or limiting the release of materials from such holes, leading to a cleaner plant, reduced slip, trip and fall (STF) risks, and fewer related MSHA housekeeping citations.

Winner: CEMEX USA — Brooksville, Florida

Filters Moved to Ground Level: CEMEX USA redesigned their blower housings to move the filter from the top of the blower housings to an easily accessible location at ground level. Mechanics and process attendants have to clean and replace kiln feed and finish mill blower filters on a regular basis. Accessing the top of blower housings is difficult because they are approximately 8’-9’ tall and have to be accessed via a ladder. The redesigned blower housing eliminates the need for employees to climb up and down a ladder, reducing overexertion and fall hazard.

For more information, please visit PCA.