Innovative thinking by workers at Alcoa’s Kwinana Alumina Refinery has won Alcoa a major national health and safety award.
The group’s innovation was rewarded when Alcoa took out the Mineral Council of Australia’s 2005 National Safety and Health Innovation Award at the MCA national awards ceremony held in New South Wales.
For over 40 years, maintenance workers at the Kwinana alumina refinery powerhouse faced the difficult task of lifting and moving equipment in and out of boiler drums with a roof height of just one metre.
After a number of sprains and strains to workers, Alcoa set up a dedicated working group with medical, maintenance and engineering expertise to look for new ways of doing this work.
Led by Alcoa powerhouse supervisor Dave Jolly and maintenance coordinator Phil Swift, the group scoured the world looking for new technologies only to find that no-one at any of the refineries they contacted had found a workable solution.
Working with WA caving expert Peter Adamson, the team went on to develop a simple but effective cable and pulley system to move equipment around inside the drums.
According to Alcoa the system has now been adopted at several locations around the world.
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