The installation of new equipment at the anode rodding furnace of the AP60 plant will allow the employees assigned to the refurbishment of the induction furnace to do their work more safely and more productively.
Every eight weeks, maintenance must be performed on the refractory material lining the interior walls of the furnace. An incident prompted the team to review the work procedures to improve the safety of the personnel assigned to this task. This led to the installation of the Flexiguard system, a portable jib crane with a rail and a self-retracting lifeline that ensures workers’ safety without hindering their freedom of movement.
Safety Advisor Mélissa Plourde explained: “Employees from Réfraco, our subcontractor, come to the plant to refurbish the furnace lining. We used to set up scaffolding so that one of their workers, wearing a safety harness, could access the furnace structure from above.”
A lot of production time was lost to setting up and taking down the scaffolding and to managing the various specialised teams. Also, the scaffolding’s fastening system made it more difficult to move around while repairing the lining,” added Nicolas Gagnon, Process Technician.
The idea of securing the worker by means of an articulated jib connected to the harness directly above the worker came up during a conversation with Réfraco on improving the process: “We looked at 3M to see what equipment was available. In the end, we opted for floor-mounted equipment near the furnace,” Mélissa Plourde said.
The proper work method (PWM) was reviewed with Réfraco to ensure that the new equipment could be implemented smoothly. Mélissa Plourde and Nicolas Gagnon both commended Réfraco’s excellent collaboration.
The equipment has been in operation for a few weeks now, and it perfectly meets the needs expressed by the workers. “The response has been extremely positive. The guys are very happy, and this new system cuts down on wasted time—it makes their work fast, efficient, and more comfortable,” Nicolas Gagnon said.
Better still, using this jib system eliminates several obstacles that could cause falls. So, we are now using much simpler equipment that is benefitting us on multiple fronts.