The winner of the Ontario Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s 2022 Safety Innovation Award is an example of how frontline workers can provide the most insight into improving safety processes with innovative ideas.
Dufferin Aggregates — Flamboro Quarry received the award for the Crusher Control Camera System which allows the operator to control and understand the material feed rate going into the crusher preventing downtime, equipment damage and eliminating safety hazards, Cody Carey, Flamboro Quarry site manager, told the Daily Commercial News.
“Coming from the employees at the frontline is kind of what made this unique,” Carey said.
“They’re the ones that experience the daily work activities. To me, that’s the biggest part of this. It all ties into our internal responsibility system…basically everyone has direct responsibility for the health and safety of our workplace.”
The annual award recognizes an innovative practice, program or project in Ontario’s aggregate industry that improves the health and safety of employees, subcontractors and the public.
The innovation is simple but provided positive impacts to the operations of the plant, said Carey.
The impact crusher, which crushes stone into small pieces, is an important component of the plant and when there is equipment downtime it halts the plant’s operations.
According to the submission from Dufferin Aggregates, the challenge was that feed material tended to back up in the crusher causing it to be overfull.
It would build up around the head pulley of the feed conveyor causing damage to the belting, lagging and guarding. Employees then had to lock out the equipment and hand pick the rocks and built-up material around the head pulley and surrounding catwalk.
“It is important that the impact crusher is fed consistently so that it operates properly,” said Carey. “Our plant operators were not able to effectively see the amount of stone being fed to the impact crusher, so they suggested installing a camera there, that would be part of the existing network of cameras that they already have set up around the plant. It’s like an extra set of eyes as they monitor the plant.”
The system was developed by Derek Lewis, Kyle Brown, Matt Erdmann, Paul Sardella and the cameras were installed by electricians in May 2022.
The main MCC plant operators, Lewis and Brown, made the recommendation on the Short Interval Control (SIC) sheet that installing a camera on the I-Beam of the impactor building would greatly improve their ability to operate the plant efficiently.
“We have a short interval control sheet and basically it logs all the plants inefficiencies,” Carey explained. “One of the things that we found was that being able to control the feed rate of the material going into the impactor was being recorded on this SIC sheet.”
While in other applications a sensor could be used, it was not appropriate in this case, he added.
“Impact crushers smash large rocks at high velocity, so a sensor would likely get damaged,” Carey said. “In this case, putting a camera there gave the operators a visual indicator on how to control and operate the pressure.”
The three main benefits of implementing the camera system are reduced downtime and improved operating efficiency; improved employee safety since they do not have to lock out or pick out rocks due to material build up; and reduced maintenance costs with less repairs being required since project inception.
Previous lagging costs were in excess of $2,000 plus installation.
“Because they had no sets of eyes on it, they wouldn’t know if it was backing up or not which then leads into the safety portion of it. If that was to happen, that would require their employees to lock out…It’s just basically eliminating a possible hazard,” Carey explained.
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