Proving that safety is job one at Alaska Marine Lines, the Maintenance and Repair (M&R) team came up with a 'better mousetrap,' according to Steve Hardin (pictured above, middle), Director of Equipment & Maintenance. Technicians do their complex work at all heights and in all positions. A tech might need to be lying flat on the ground to perform routine maintenance on a piece of equipment, or 10 feet in the air repairing the top of a tanker container.
It's the elevated repair work that can sometimes create dangerous situations. Falls are one of the most common injuries in the workplace. "Our employees have done a great job of remaining safe while working at heights," Steve says, "but we are always seeking ways to mitigate hazards."
Employees are outfitted with fall-arrest gear, but it requires time to unfasten and refasten belts and buckles as they move from point to point. Agreeing that there was room for improvement, the fab shop crew of Michael Fico (pictured above, left), Kelly Skinner and Adam Carruthers (pictured above, right) started brainstorming ideas and came up with a completely new way to work at elevation. Within a few weeks a container tank scaffolding system was designed to fit over the containers, creating a stable and much safer framework for techs to perform repair and maintenance tasks.
Dubbed the "CTS," the rack is made of heavy-gauge steel channel fabricated with a ladder to access the top of a tank container. "We knew there had to be a safer, more convenient way to work on top of equipment," says Welder Michael Fico. To keep it in place, the CTS is equipped with steel plungers in each corner, and wheels were added to easily move it from one piece of equipment to another in the shop.
Steve says the CTS prototype is just the beginning and that more safety features will be added to future models.