DESCHAMBAULT-GRONDINES, QC, Oct. 29, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Alcoa's Deschambault
Smelter was awarded first prize in the Large Enterprise category during the
Grands prix santé et sécurité du travail de la CSST (Quebec Workers Safety
Insurance Board Awards) for the Easy Lock Lamothe tool developed by one of its
operators, Luc Lamothe.
The winning project is a simple, easy to use tool, designed by Lamothe, which
allows workers to safely and ergonomically connect the plant's baking
equipment to the natural gas network. There are 72 such connections to the
natural gas supply in the Baking Furnace sub-sector of the smelter. Every 24
hours, when baking equipment is switched, four disconnection/connection
operations must be carried out using a 2 ¾ inch pipe to link the baking
equipment to the natural gas network.
In the past, this process was performed manually, with the operator often
having to kneel down to complete the task. Help from a colleague was also
usually required because, depending on the temperature, the tightness of the
second valve, the condition of the couplings (some may be worn but not enough
to warrant replacement) and the height of the connection, the operation could
be difficult and require considerable physical force. A buildup of gas behind
the coupling during this process added to the difficulty of the task. At the
same time, this method damaged the pipe and posed a risk of hand injury.
Lamothe is one of the operators who regularly have to perform this
connection/disconnection task. He came up with the idea of a lever-based tool
in direct response to the challenges faced by him and his colleagues.
When designing the tool, Lamothe sought to achieve the following objectives:
eliminate the risks of strain-related injuries (shoulders, back, elbows,
fingers), enable an operator to perform the task upright and unassisted,
eliminate the risk of hand injuries and pipe damage, and finally, to make the
task generally easier and faster, despite the pressure from the gas
accumulated behind the coupling.
Lamothe felt extremely honoured to receive this award. The General Manager of
the Deschambault Smelter, Sylvain Poissant, added: "At the Deschambault
Smelter, we encourage and support the members of our team in suggesting
solutions and ideas. It is part of our values: we believe that our people are
at the heart of our current results and our future prosperity. Luc's
initiative is an example for everyone; in addition to improving the health and
safety of our workers, the tool he designed and then developed with his
colleagues has helped increase our productivity."
A video featuring the Easy Lock Lamothe has been produced and made available
by the CSST.
About the Deschambault Smelter
The Deschambault Smelter employs 500 people and produces over 265,000 metric
tons of aluminum annually. In addition to the Deschambault Smelter, Alcoa
Canada Global Primary Products (GPP Canada) operates the Bécancour Smelter
(ABI) and Bécancour Rod Plant, as well as the Baie-Comeau Smelter. These four
plants have an annual production capacity of more than one million metric tons
of ingots, castings, billets and aluminum rods. GPP Canada has close to 3,400
employees and its activities generate annual economic spin-offs of more than
$1.3 billion in Québec. For more information, go to www.alcoa.com/canada.
Sara Dubé Communications Advisor 418-286-5220 418-928-3378 Sara.email@example.com
Image with caption: "The CSST presented the award to the team from the
Deschambault Smelter. Luc Lamothe is in the front row, fourth from the left.
(CNW Group/Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products)". Image available at:
SOURCE: Alcoa Canada Global Primary Products
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-0- Oct/29/2012 17:35 GMT
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