PCA Announces 2016 Safety Innovation Awards


The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced winners of the 2016 Safety Innovation Awards, which recognize creative safety enhancing projects in the cement industry. Presented at the PCA Fall Congress meeting in Chicago, the winners were determined by a panel of judges that evaluated innovative submissions from across the country in three categories: distribution, general facility and milling/grinding.

“Cement manufacturers place worker safety as their number one priority, and are always looking for ways to make a safe workplace even safer. The award recipients recognized by the judges stood out in an outstanding crowd, and are being commended for finding creative and innovative solutions to every-day safety challenges,” said PCA President and CEO James G. Toscas.

The following are the 2016 Safety Innovation Award winners, in each of the three categories:

Distribution Category
Overall Winner: Argos USA Corp., Atlanta

Heat Strip Welder. Each year the Atlanta plant ships several million bags of cement. The plant is equipped with two stretch-hood pallet wrapping machines that cover each pallet with plastic film. Because reloading the machine with film can involve risk to workers, employees developed a way to use a heat sealer to fuse the old film to the new film, allowing the old film to guide the new film into the machine with perfect alignment. This not only eliminated risk of injury from working with the machinery to replace the film, but also sped up the film changing process.

General Facility Category
Winner: Ash Grove Cement Co., Foreman, Ark.

Landing Platforms. Employees from the Foreman plant constructed landing platforms to assist in accessing high elevation structures. The new platforms save on numerous trips up and down stairs, also saving time on various projects.

Winner: Ash Grove Cement Co., Clancy, Mont.

Kiln Bull Gear. The kiln bull gear is an integral part of a cement kiln used to turn the kiln. Regular kiln maintenance includes grinding hard-to-reach bull gear teeth to the proper profile. Ash Grove designed a temporary platform to allow simpler, safer access to the entire gear. The simplicity of its design allows the platform to be removed and installed in a matter of minutes, improving both safety and efficiency.

Milling/Grinding Category
Overall Winner: Salt River Materials Group, Clarkdale, Ariz.

Mill Roller Assembly Safety Stand. The maintenance crew at Salt River Materials Group’s Clarkdale Facility tackled several safety challenges posed by maintenance and repair of vertical mill roller assemblies. The crew developed a safety stand to secure the roller assemblies in the position needed for inspection, repair, transport, removal, and installation. The stand improved efficiency of the work and reduced risks by eliminating the need to repeatedly reposition the rollers.

Winner: Ash Grove Cement Co., Seattle

Limestone Bucket Elevator. Ash Grove’s Seattle plant developed a mechanism to increase safety when working on limestone bucket elevators, which normally experience a buildup of limestone fines. Workers affixed a welded support structure on which they installed a piece of plywood that acts as an ‘umbrella’ to protect workers from potential falling materials.

Winner: Ash Grove Cement Co., Chanute, Kan.

Door Lifting Attachment. In order to create safer access to finish mills, employees designed an attachment to secure the 1,000-lb. mill door during its removal for mill maintenance. The attachment minimizes risk and time associated with lifting the door off the mill.


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