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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Installation of an access guard on the footwalk

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Retractable guards on top of the MSE that enable employees to work and clean the upper portion of the machine without the need for a safety harness

2009 — Health and Safety

No less than 116 risks of fall avoided at Electrolysis

In 2006, a budget of $1.8 million was approved to modify the eight service machines at Electrolysis (MSE) at the Deschambault Smelter to help prevent the risk of falls which, due to the proximity of molten metal, could be fatal. The proposed solutions were vetted from an engineering standpoint in 2007 so that the upgrades could be made to the MSE in 2008. Effective coordination between the team from Hatch and Alcoa’s bridge crane crew enabled cost savings of over $500,000.
Each of the eight machines is now equipped with measures to protect against 17 different types of falls, for a total of 116 risks eliminated. The measures applied were:
  • addition of an access ladder with a safety bow at the beam
  • removal of the two existing yielding guards above the MSE
  • addition of handrails and protective grids around the access ladders above the MSE
  • installation of aluminum plaques, also at the top of the MSE
  • installation of a footwalk and a staircase to access the MSE beam
  • addition of a protective grid around the staircase to the MSE tool holder
  • addition of a locking mechanism at the trapdoors to the main beam
  • addition of bolted guards around the long travel motors
  • the door to the main beam was raised
  • addition of a platform and guiderail to provide access to hoist no. 29
  • addition of a ladder to access the tool holder
  • removal of the wood ladders and addition of retractable cords
  • addition of a locking system on the trapdoors to the ladders
  • addition of fall-protection rails on the roof cabs of the MSE
  • replacement of the lifting eyes
  • installation of a footwalk and an anti-fall system
These significant improvements to the MSE will facilitate maintenance while making the environment safer for anyone working on the machines, whether mechanics, electricians or the industrial cleaning crew. Congratulations to all those who participated in this project initiated by the Fall Prevention team.