Pulp and Paper Canada

Many new offerings help make the mill A SAFER PLACE TO WORK

March 1, 2001  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Safety is a forever issue for the pulp and paper industry. Any small slip can bring what was a sterling record back to zero. The effect on employees is demoralizing. Although every journey of a millio…

Safety is a forever issue for the pulp and paper industry. Any small slip can bring what was a sterling record back to zero. The effect on employees is demoralizing. Although every journey of a million miles (or hours) begins with a single step, that single step can sometimes be the hardest, especially if it means retracing steps that were so hard-earned a short time previously.

At its annual media day, held in Washington, DC, in 2000, the Longren & Parks agency assembled an impressive line-up of suppliers to discuss the latest in safety equipment and processes. The list included 3M, DuPont Safety Resources, Industrial Scientific Corp., DBI/SALA, DuPont Protective Apparel, Scientific Technologies Inc. and Orr Safety.


Jon Wolf, 3M, opened the day by linking worker safety with productivity. The two can be connected and safety equipment manufacturers should do a better job explaining what productivity gains can be realized with better equipment. They must be able to show value, that it is not just a cost. Overall, Wolf said that safety directors have been receptive to this message.

Wolf then described 3M’s Positive Pressure Respirator (PPR). Benefits include reduced number of eye injuries and a reduction of heat stress. It is part of 3M’s Health Series Headgear. The series includes 3M’s new welding respirator that features a flame-resistant filter media and a proprietary CoolFlow one-way exhalation valve designed to reduce heat and humidity inside the respirator. The model 8515 N95 particulate respirator fits easily beneath a welding hood.

3M also has its new 9200 Series particulate respirators. The Model 9210 and 9211 feature a soft cover web to improve comfort against the skin and have 3M’s electrostatically-charged filter media to make breathing easier and cooler. Circle reader service no. 50.

DuPont’s Bob Krzywicki spoke about contractor safety and the need to manage/control risk to a contractor’s employees. As is well known to the pulp and paper industry, the need for contractor help has grown due to a number of reasons, which affect most industries. He noted that by 2010, contract help could account for 30% of the workforce in the US.

Krzywicki spoke about DuPont’s own experience. Its total recordable frequency rate based on a 200 000-hour basis in 1999 was .696 compared to 1.058 in 1994. DuPont used about 28 000 contract workers totaling 40 to 50 million manhours of exposure. He noted that the construction industry average is 7.0.

DuPont uses a three-step evaluation process in selecting the safest contractor: past performance, cost of previous incidents and safety competence. Once a contractor is selected, DuPont goes through a number of other steps. These include contractor preparation, orientation and training, audit and monitor and, finally, post-contract evaluation.

Krzywicki estimated that DuPont rejects about 30% of potential contractors because they can’t meet the company’s specifications. This varies from region to region in the US. About half of the total contractor hours are spent in construction-related activities. The other half covers such functions as administrative support, manufacturing, janitorial and security.

DuPont Safety Resources has a new offering on contractor safety. Circle reader service no. 51.

Kent McElhattan, Industrial Scientific Corporation, spoke about changing the gas monitoring paradigm through docking stations and wireless strategies.

The DS1000 Docking Station can accommodate up to five instruments. It is then connected to the Internet and through a neural network can predict needed maintenance, provide automatic calibration and record keeping. In talking about wireless monitoring, McElhattan said there are two basic ways to test for gas: personal attachments or room monitoring. Wireless pertains to the latter. It is done through solar powered wireless perimeter monitoring. It uses spread spectrum technology and is Internet accessible. Compared with traditional fixed monitoring systems, it is not labor-intensive. Benefits include cost savings, flexibility of sensor placement and ease of installation. Circle reader service no. 52.

Tim O’Brien, DBI/SALA, focused on fall protection. (In Canada, contact Can-Sling/DBI Canada.) O’Brien stated that the American agency OSHA says that virtually all deaths by falls can be prevented yet deaths by fall have increased every year except for a small dip from 1997 to 1998. In the US, there are over 600 work-related deaths annually caused by falls. Over 18% of injury lost work days are due to falls.

In its offering of new products, DBI has a new high-visibility vest with attachments for a harness. O’Brien also described a vacuum system to protect workers where there are no overhead anchors, e.g., airplane maintenance. Although designed for aircraft maintenance, this device can be used on any non-porous surface. DBI also has a roof anchor for flat or sloped seam roofs.

Other new offerings from DBI include the Cameo Delta No-Tangle harness and work vests, a Concrete Horizontal Lifeline for concrete beams that attaches directly to the rebar and the Rollgliss Descent Device for emergency descents. Circle reader service no. 53.

Jim Ziegler, DuPont Protective Apparel, spoke about keeping workers safe and productive. There should never be any trade-off between safety and productivity. Ziegler went through the four steps of the safety solution hierarchy. The first is product/process substitution, i.e., substituting hazardous materials. Then come engineering controls, i.e., if a substitution can’t be done, put a shield around it. Third is changing work practices (tag, lock, clear and try). Finally come the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). This is the last line of defense.

Doing the first two to solve a problem is a cost issue, as is step four. However, in the long-term, it is better to take capital decisions rather than continually paying for protective equipment.

In using PPE, Ziegler stressed that one size does not fit all; it must fit the worker properly. Key issues in the use of PPE include selection, care, application and maintenance. Although any protective clothing can give heat stress, companies should choose fabrics that are strong and durable yet comfortable and breathable. They must provide an effective barrier. To avoid “take-home” hazards, PPE should not be laundered at home and should be cleaned daily. Circle reader service no. 54.

Joe Lazzara, Scientific Technologies Inc. (STI), moved away from fashion and looked at the machinery itself. He discussed some of the trends in machine safeguarding. These include optical (light curtains such as STI’s recently introduced OptoFence OF4600-50 safety light curtain system), mechanical and pressure-sensitive guarding. Increasingly, safety is being integrated into machines, not added on later. There are more intelligent safety controls — solid state safety outputs, safety PLCs and safety-rated communications buses (control networks)– and fewer electro-mechanical relays. The safety rated buses save costs in design, materials and operations.

STI has also developed the “Gotcha Stick” distance scale, a three-segment safe distance stick that accurately test the allowable barrier opening size based on the distance from the point of operation. It features both English and metric measurements. Guarding machinery by means of hard barriers is one of the main ways of protecting personnel from point-of-operations hazards. The Gotcha Stick is an easy way of verifying that openings in hard guards will not allow the point-of-operation to be accessed by the operator. Circle reader service no. 55.

The final speaker of the day was Robert Gassman, Orr Safety. Orr is more of a distributor, serving close to 11 000 clients. Gassman said that the safety business is following the trends in other parts of the pulp and paper industry. That is, the demands on the safety suppliers are the same as on other suppliers. Industrial markets are mature and there is consolidation among the manufacturers, distributors and customers. He spoke about managing safety to the highes
t level possible, that good safety is good business. Safety has become part of the total business enterprise management — managed safety; knowledge and expertise; product and service solutions; total cost control; value creation. If a company wants to be a player, it must offer its clients all these things.

Gassman also entered the realm of E-commerce. It is important, but just a tool, he added. Companies must stay close to their customers and suppliers, be flexible and responsive. Orr has established Orr E-Com Logistics (ECL) to provide a full range of Web-based technical distribution, order management. logistics, content management, customer relation management and consultative services.

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