On August 18, 2020, a miner was killed while attempting to clear a material blockage. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the miner entered the cone crusher to begin work when the material shifted and engulfed him. He was extracted from the crusher and taken to a hospital, where he died the next day. This fatality, the 13th of the year, was classified as “Fall of Material.”
MSHA suggests the following best practices:
Properly designchutes and crushers to prevent blockages. Install a heavy screen (grizzly) to control the size of material and prevent clogging.
Equip chutes with mechanical devices such as vibrating shakers or air cannons to loosen blockages, or provide other effective means of handling material, so miners are not exposed to entrapment hazards by falling or sliding material.
Establish and discuss policies and procedures for safely clearing crushers.
Train miners to recognize and safely remove all potential hazards before beginning work and when clearing blocked crushers.
On June 13, 2020, a dragline was found submerged in 25 feet of water where a miner had been using it to remove material from a pond. Divers attempted to locate the dragline operator, and after two days the dragline was extricated from the pond. The victim was recovered from the engine compartment behind the operator’s cab. The fatality, the ninth in 2020, was the second classified as “Machinery” related.
MSHA offers the following best practices to prevent these types of accidents:
Maintain control of operating mobile equipment.
Keep all exits clear in cabs, including alternate and emergency exits, and make sure the doors open freely before beginning work.
Retrofit older models of equipment with current automatic braking systems.
Ensure all controls and brakes are set to the appropriate position for the task.
As the coronavirus swept through the United States, workers at Dolese Bros. Co. stepped forward to help friends, family, and co-workers by sewing masks. The effort was spearheaded by Julie Tucker and Donna Smith, who both work in the company’s accounting department.
“We kind of felt a loss of control,” Tucker says as the group saw the rapid spread of COVID-19 through New York City. As she wondered what she could do, Smith offered to show her how to sew. Smith found a pattern while Tucker pulled out a sewing machine that had been stashed in the back of her closet for nearly 15 years.
Other members of the department pitched in by helping to cut, pin, and press fabric. “The majority of us here have had our hands in it at some point,” Tucker says. “It just kind of spiraled.” Within weeks, the group had sewn hundreds of masks that were shared with people throughout the community.
The proposed Program Policy Letter was published in the Federal Register on July 29, 2019, (84 FR 36623) for public comment. In October 2019, MSHA held a public stakeholder meeting to give the public additional opportunity to provide feedback. After reviewing the comments, MSHA has determined that the proposed clarification is not needed.
The Notice of Cancellation can be viewed on May 26, 2020, at the Office of the Federal Register’s Public Inspection Desk.
The seventh metal/non-metal fatality of 2020 involved a “Material Handling” incident. Photo courtesy of MSHA.
On May 2, 2020, a miner entered a dredged sand and gravel bin through a lower access hatch to clear an obstruction. The miner was clearing the blockage with a bar when the material inside the bin fell and engulfed him. The accident marks the seventh fatality of the year and the second classified as material handling.
MSHA offers the following best practices to prevent these types of accidents:
Lock-out, tag-out. Never enter a bin until the supply and discharge equipment is locked out.
Train miners to recognize and safely remove all potential hazards before beginning work and when clearing blocked hoppers.
Equip bins with mechanical devices such as vibrating shakers or air cannons to loosen blockages, or provide other effective means of handling material so miners are not exposed to entrapment hazards by falling or sliding material.
Follow manufacturer recommendations for clearing out blockages.
Establish and discuss policies andprocedures for safely clearing bins.
Install a heavy screen (grizzly) to control the size of the material and prevent clogging.
Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. teamed up with the YMCA of Centre County to ensure that no child goes hungry during these unprecedented times. The YMCA branch gathered resources to distribute food at drive-through sites across the county and reports it is providing food to more than 2,000 kids and families in need at 32 sites each day.
GOH worked with Valley Trailers, which donated the trailer used to transport food from the Food Bank in Williamsport, Pa., to the Moshannon Valley YMCA in Philipsburg.
CalPortland announced that it has once again been awarded the 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership and superior contributions to Energy Star by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
“CalPortland is proud to receive the 2020 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award,” said CalPortland President/CEO Allen Hamblen in a press release. The award is the highest honor among Energy Star awards.
“Finding new and innovative solutions to create energy efficiencies has become an integral part of our company culture, and we are honored to celebrate our employees’ ongoing efforts by achieving this tremendous award for the 16th consecutive year,” Hamblen added. “CalPortland remains committed to reducing emissions and reducing our company’s environmental footprint by contributing to the circular economy.”
CalPortland has been an Energy Star Partner since 1996 and says it remains dedicated to demonstrating and promoting energy efficiency within the company and to other companies in the construction materials industry. The 2020 national award is the sixteenth consecutive Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for CalPortland; a feat that has never been matched by any other industrial company.
Since 2003, CalPortland’s energy management efforts have reduced the company’s overall energy intensity by 16.5 percent, avoiding $135 million in unnecessary energy costs. Key 2019 accomplishments include:
Reducing the carbon footprint and embodied energy of its cement products by developing for the market blended cements.
Advancing energy efficiency and emission reductions through extensive upgrades to the company’s mobile fleet, rail operations, and cement plants, amounting to significant expenditures in capital efficiency projects.
Working with the leadership of the national cement, concrete, and asphalt trade associations to increase industry involvement in energy management and Energy Star.
Earning Energy Star certification for the eighth consecutive time for the Rillito Cement Plant.
Incorporating strategic elements in the corporate energy program by using Energy Star’s cement plant certification, Challenge for Industry, and Treasure Hunt campaign.
Focusing on community engagement and in-person education by reaching more than 136,000 individuals on good energy management best practices and Energy Star.
Incorporating energy management and Energy Star into the company’s corporate-wide professional development training program through videos, an intranet site, new employee orientation, and regular employee engagements.
“I salute the 2020 Energy Star award winners,” said Anne Idsal, EPA principal deputy assistant administrator for air and radiation. “These leaders demonstrate how energy efficiency drives economic competitiveness in tandem with environmental protection.”
While construction materials markets have been more resilient than many others, LafargeHolcim reports that it is now experiencing disruptions in operations in various countries.
In China, the recovery of the construction sector has started and all its plants outside of Hubei Province are operating. The company forecasts the market demand to further recover and to supply 70 percent of last year’s volume in April 2020.
In most of the other key markets, however, the construction sector is disrupted, and it forecasts significant volume declines in April and May, with a significant negative impact on its business in the second quarter.
“Currently the development of the Coronavirus pandemic and its implications for the business are volatile and very different from country to country,” the company said in a press release. “In order to mitigate the financial impact of the situation, we have launched the action plan ‘HEALTH, COST & CASH’ for immediate execution in all countries.”
Key objectives include the following:
Reduction of CAPEX by at least $416 million compared to 2019;
Reduction in fixed cost by $312 million in 2020;
Realization of reduction of energy prices and full review of all third-party products and services; and
Reduction of net working capital at least in line with level of activity.
Based on a significantly strengthened balance sheet, LafargeHolcim has liquidity of $8.3 billion as of March 26, 2020.
“Due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, the guidance for 2020 is no longer valid,” it notes. “While the implementation of the action plan ‘HEALTH, COST & CASH’ is in full execution, the dynamic, volatile development of the Coronavirus pandemic makes it currently no longer possible to fully evaluate its impact on the performance of LafargeHolcim in 2020. We will provide a more comprehensive business update at the first quarter 2020 results release on April 30, 2020.”