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Boyne Smelter worker's idea could save lives

BOYNE Smelters Limited received a Commended award at Queensland Safe Work and Return to Work Awards in the category 'Best solution to an identified work health and safety issue' on Tuesday.

The acknowledgement was given to BSL contractor supervisor Camille Horwell who helped develop a solution which ultimately could save lives and reduce injuries.

Veolia's specialised operators are contracted to remove cooled molten metal build up from steel pipes using high pressure water jetting techniques.

BSL contractor supervisor Camille Horwell watches as Veolia operators use the safer method of an excavator holding the high pressure water jet
BSL contractor supervisor Camille Horwell watches as Veolia operators use the safer method of an excavator holding the high pressure water jet Boyne Smelters Limited

The high risk work put the operators at risk of muscle fatigue and strains, vibration exposure, noise injuries, flying debris, heat stress and potential for a fatality if there was a machine or operator failure.

Camille worked with Veolia to come up with an idea to remove the operator from the area by attaching the high pressure water jet to an excavator. She worked with Veolia site supervisor Robert Flett to make the modifications, allowing the operator to gain full control from the safety of the excavator cab.

"It has removed people from harm's way and halved the task from eight hours to four. There is no need for extra protective equipment as the operator is behind a double screen that will prevent any flying debris causing injury, while the vibration and muscle fatigue potential is eliminated and noise exposure reduced," Camille said.

General Manager Joe Rea said the work was very strenuous on operators who had to rotate on the task after every 20 minutes.

"We had a number of controls in place to reduce the hazards exposed to team members; however, the more we can separate people from the hazard, the better the outcome overall," Joe said.

"This is an excellent improvement which has eliminated the potential for water injection injuries and ultimately eliminated the fatality risk for this task.

"Camille's idea and her partnership with the Veolia team to develop a plausible solution is proof that there is always room for improvement on our safety journey and it's another example of our team members looking out for their workmates."

Topics:  boyne smelter gladstone



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