PCA Announces 2019 Safety Innovation Award Winners

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced the winners of the 2019 Safety Innovation Awards, which recognize creative safety-enhancing projects in the cement industry. 

“The American cement industry cares deeply about workplace safety and these projects prove that,” said PCA President and CEO Michael Ireland. “We are proud of these efforts to pursue excellence in safety innovation for their company and their colleagues.”

The following are the 2019 Safety Innovation Award winners:

Quarry and Mine

Ash Grove Cement Co. – Louisville, Neb.

The plant’s D10 Dozer Power Step system eliminates the need for employees to ascend and descend the dozer in the traditional way, making access safer and more efficient. The Power Step attaches to the dozer frame and works hydraulically. At ground level, the operator steps into a small, railed platform and affixes a chain across the entry. Using hand controls,they activate the hydraulics which smoothly raises the Power Step to the operator deck. When exiting, the process is reversed except that the latch mechanism is released. The Power Step has a fail-safe feature that slowly lowers the platform to the ground if hydraulic pressure is lost.


Ash Grove Cement Co. – Durkee, Ore.

The facility’s beltlines have an emergency stop cord running alongside that if pulled will cause the beltline and other in-line devices to shut down. Emergency cords are inspected weekly but due to variation between inspectors, the pull cord could be loosened or tightened simply due to its appearance. To solve this problem, a tension gauge reference device with three color-coded level markers (Red–Tight; Green–Good; and Yellow–Loose) was fabricated and installed. This device gives a visual reference for inspectors to quickly determine the exact tension of the emergency stop cord so they can make immediate adjustments, if needed.

Ash Grove Cement Co. – Foreman, Ark.

Ash Grove Cement developed an oil skid that enables the oiler to safely transport large quantities of oil closer to the equipment for which it is intended, reducing the potential for back and crush injuries. The skid is securely attached to a forklift by safety chains and, with an onboard electric pump, oil can be pumped to any equipment that’s within 50 ft. of the skid. The skid can also be used to remove oil by putting the suction hose into the oil reservoir of the equipment or attaching it to the drain plug.


Votorantim Cimentos, St. Marys Cement – Detroit

The plant was challenged with high back-pressure on its pneumatic conveying pipelines causing an excessively noisy environment with dosimeter readings reaching 107dBs. A team developed a plan to increase the air nozzle size by an average of 60% in three mills that resulted in dosimeter readings dropping by 42%. These modifications also increased the life span of the rotary compressor blades. The changes made a quieter work environment by improving working conditions, lowering risk, and reducing the requirement for dual hearing protection.


Buzzi Unicem USA – Festus, Mo.

Buzzi Unicem USA designed a simple single-action tray sampler that could be pushed under falling clinker hydraulically. Once the device collects clinker, and while being pulled back, it allows the sample to fall into the chute by means of a pusher plate. The sampler is fully automated taking samples whenever the cooler/crusher calls for them and can be removed for easy and safe maintenace. The sampler keeps workers out of the hot and dusty clinker cooler environment.

Milling and Grinding

Salt River Materials Group – Clarkdale, Ariz.

Salt River Materials along with Arizona Equipment Fabrication created a new way to remove damaged Vertical Finishing Mill Table Liners. The teams developed a clamp style lifting device that is made out of 3-ft. plate steel with adjustable ends that are bent at an obtuse angle to fit the contour of the liner. The new clamping system can be operated by one person and the operator can remove or install liners in half the time of prior operations. The clamps have virtually eliminated load shifting hazards and resulting injuries.

PCA Commemorates National Dam Safety Awareness Day

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced the re-establishment of a Geotechnical Group supporting cement-based solutions for water resources to coincide with National Dam Safety Awareness Day, providing a boost to the technical support available for dam safety nationwide. 

PCA is the premier concrete resource providing guidance for dam safety officials to help address the complex and expensive problems that plague our nation’s water infrastructure, including dam maintenance and reliability.

“America deserves safe, strong and resilient water infrastructure – our economy depends on it,” said PCA President and CEO Michael Ireland.  “Water infrastructure built with concrete is long-lived, has a low life-cycle cost and is resilient to man-made and natural disasters.”

According to the America Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2017 Infrastructure Report Card the average age of the 90,580 dams in the United States is 56 years and the number of deficient high-hazard potential dams has climbed to an estimated 2,170 or more.

Cement-based solutions such as roller-compacted concrete, mass concrete, soil-cement, deep soil mixing, jet grouting, concrete slurry walls and concrete mats have a long history of water infrastructure applications with cost-saving and long-lasting results.

PCA Announces E&E Awards Winners

The Portland Cement Association (PCA) announced the winners of the 2019 Energy and Environment (E&E) Awards, recognizing outstanding environmental and community relations efforts that go above and beyond what is required.

“The awards highlight how America’s cement manufacturers are focused on sustainably producing the highest quality product with minimal environmental footprint,” said PCA President and CEO Michael Ireland. “The companies selected for these environmental accolades demonstrate a strong culture of innovation that result in energy efficiency and sustainable manufacturing practices.”

The following plants were presented 2019 E&E Awards at the Cement and Concrete Fly-In held in Washington, D.C.:

Energy Efficiency: CalPortland, Mojave, Calif.

Environmental Performance: Roanoke Cement Co./ Titan America, Troutville, Va.

Innovation: Lehigh Hanson Inc., Permanente Plant, Cupertino, Calif.

Land Stewardship: Buzzi Unicem USA, Greencastle, Ind.

Outreach: Cemex Construction Materials South, Lyons, Colo.

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