Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how Alcoa is acting upon its commitment to sustainable development throughout the world. We are pleased with this progress, but look forward to achieving even more.

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2008 — Health and Safety

Improving the control and management of assisted ventilation breathing apparatus maintenance through outsourcing

Workers in several sectors of the Baie-Comeau Smelter have to protect themselves from dust, gases and other potentially dangerous substances by wearing an assisted ventilation breathing apparatus, commonly known as a Racal. These devices must be carefully maintained to ensure they are working properly and providing optimal protection.
This maintenance currently  takes place in two stages. The user himself performs daily maintenance by cleaning the outside and inside surfaces as needed.  A second level of maintenance, which consists of an inspection and a full detailing, is conducted every four to six weeks by a group of workers specially trained by the manufacturer.  This work is in addition to their regular tasks. To ensure status is monitored, a report on maintenance, inspections and repairs is usually drafted in an on-line register.
While this process has functioned adequately, the group responsible for health and safety at the Baie-Comeau smelter decided to outsource the maintenance and repair of these protective breathing apparatuses. A contract will soon be signed with a specialized contractor. This way, the workers currently assigned the maintenance will be given other tasks and the Racal users will always be assured that they are wearing breathing equipment that has been maintained according to the highest standards. The Bécancour and Deschambault smelters have already successfully outsourced this function to third parties.