April 11, 2012

Alcoa wins safety innovation award

Alcoa’s Pinjarra refinery was recognised for its ingenuity and expertise at the 2012 Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy’s (CME) Safety and Health Innovation Awards for its program to reduce occupational noise exposure and prevent hearing loss.

The Road to Silence hearing conservation program was introduced by the health and safety team at Pinjarra refinery in 2006. At the time hearing loss was being reported at an increasing rate and made up a notable amount of injuries.
According to Safety Director Danny Spadaccini a number of best practice ideas and equipment were incorporated to enhance the existing program.
“Alcoa introduced a combination of controls which include a program to ensure ear plugs are fitted correctly, noise badges and the tracking of noise exposure in real time, enhanced walkway signage, hand-tool labelling, noise task controls, a ‘Buy Quiet’ program and various educational initiatives including our Road to Silence DVD,” said Mr Spadaccini.
“Over a five year period we have reduced hearing exposure during 12 hour shifts to less than one per cent of the workforce population.
“We are immensely proud of our occupational hygienists and technicians whose ingenuity will prevent hearing damage in operators for decades to come.”

The awards, in their seventh year, are the Western Australian (WA) resource industry's peak safety innovations honour. Open to all WA-based resource companies, operations and contractors, they enable the best local workplace initiatives to be showcased.

The WA CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith congratulated all winners and finalists.

“Innovative programs being developed by individual companies highlight the entire industry’s commitment to continue to improve safety performance,” Mr Howard-Smith said.

“Whether it’s by engineering new solutions to minimise risk or promoting a site culture of safety first, the health and wellbeing of workers continues to be the number one priority of the sector.”

Three award categories make up the awards, People, Systems and Engineering, plus there is a people’s choice award.  The Systems category won by Alcoa was for innovative implementation and/or design of a system or procedure which impacts on safety and health. Alcoa outclassed Woodside Energy and Barminco to win the award.
Other winners were Rio Tinto owned Argyle Diamond Mine for dehydration management, Leighton Contractors for a remote camera system to assist with alignment and heavy lifts, and people's choice Barrick Gold for a low profile tyre-handler.
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Media contacts:
Alcoa:    Jane McGuire 0410 694 676 or jane.mcguire@alcoa.com.au
CME:     David Todd (08) 9220 8520 or d.todd@cmewa.com


About the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) is the peak resources sector representative body in Western Australia. Its role is to champion the Western Australian resources sector and assist it in achieving its vision to lead the world in sustainable practice through innovation and to underpin Australia’s position in the global economy.

CME is a persuasive industry voice, adding value to its member companies in a dynamic and increasingly complex operating environment. In order to achieve this, CME strives to:
  • Lead policy development on issues impacting on the resources sector
  • Promote the value of the sector to the community
  • Represent the views and advocate the needs of its members
  • Provide an avenue through which members and stakeholders are able to collaborate