Keep Asphalt Drum Maintenance Safety in Mind
BY Sandy Lender
During the midyear meeting in Seattle, the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) announced that Oldcastle Materials—Montana Companies, based in Helena, Montana, had garnered a 2015 Asphalt Operations Safety Innovation Award for developing an asphalt drum non-entry rescue system. While that sounds like something to feature in our Safety Spotlight department, it pertains specifically to plant maintenance. Check this out.
The non-entry rescue system allows a worker to retrieve an employee who may become injured while working in the confined space of an asphalt drum, without entering the drum himself.
The system consists of an anchor, aircraft cabling, turnbuckles, carabiners, a rescue pulley and rope, and a fall-protection harness that the worker dons before entering the drum. If the worker becomes unconscious in the drum for any reason, or becomes unable to climb out of the drum, other workers outside of the drum can use the system to hoist the person off the flights and zipline him down the cable to safety.
“It’s empowering for our employees to come up with a solution,” Oldcastle Materials Safety Director Skyler Willard said in a press release. “Because it was their idea, chances of someone using it are 100 percent. Plus, it’s a very simple, easy installation. They didn’t want some cumbersome thing on their backs.”
Now when plant personnel change flights or perform other routine maintenance inside the drum, they have extra security knowing help is just a pull away.
NAPA recognized a total of four companies for safety innovation at a special ceremony during the association’s midyear meeting. The other that focused on maintenance safety came from Valley Asphalt Corp. of Cincinnati, Ohio. Its Asphalt Group Safety Committee used a hierarchy of hazard control steps to engineer a freestanding transfer slat catwalk atop the plant silos. You can check that out in the September edition of AsphaltPro.
The other two excellent safety ideas came from Payne & Dolan and Superior Paving.
Payne & Dolan Inc., Waukesha, Wisconsin, was honored for its lighted spray bar for a tack truck. Realizing the hazardous situation created by the 13-foot-long spray bar projecting beyond the sides of the tack truck, an employee decided to wrap the spray bar with an 18-foot LED light powered through an inverter connected to the vehicle’s battery. The lighted bar reduces a trip hazard for those in the work zone and makes the truck more visible to drivers at night.
Superior Paving Corp., Gainesville, Virginia, was honored for its implantation of a McCav air brake warning system, which visually and audibly alerts drivers if they leave the vehicle without engaging the safety brake, which helps to avert roll-away accidents.