Saturday 2nd Jul, 2022

Fenner invests in Footscray factory safety

Fenner Conveyors has invested in new safety equipment at its belting factory in West Footscray, Melbourne.

Fenner Conveyors has invested in new safety equipment at its belting factory in West Footscray, Melbourne.

Footscray is Fenner’s primary manufacturing location for high-quality, fabric belting – a product which requires operators to perform a complex production process safely.

The safety upgrade includes a new gate installed at the plant’s Rotocure.

When a belt is cured from Rotocure 2, operators are required to open the handrail gate which enables the belt to be craned towards the inspection table.

There is inadequate lifting height for the belt to go over the handrail, making it vital for Fenner to have a method for moving the belt into place that ensures the integrity of both the belt and the operator.

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Footscray Plant Manager, Hong Koh, said the hazard was raised by a Fenner Operator concerning exposure to falling from height when opening the old handrail gate.

“Once we were alerted to the hazard, our team moved promptly to find a solution. Investing in safety is investing in our people,” Koh said.

Fenner evaluated the new equipment prior to implementation. Then, once the hazard was assessed, an Authority to Modify document was raised to involve all stakeholders, and a design review was completed for approval to raise a CAPEX.

During the equipment commissioning, consultation took place with the working group and Workplace Victoria Health and Safety representatives (HSRs) to ensure that the new process for operating equipment did not leave operators exposed to new hazards.

“Consultation with the Footscray workgroup allowed us to find the best-case solution. Our operators are the ones that know when a hazard exists in the workplace and are the best candidate to provide a solution for it,” Koh said.

Footscray Safety and Training Coordinator, Darren Santospirito said that with the new equipment now embedded in operating processes the team is seeing the benefits.

“As well as removing exposure to the fall hazard, we have eliminated strain caused by manually pushing and pulling the handrail gate,” Santospirito said.

“Fortunately, no incidents occurred with operators falling from height whilst operating the old handrail gate. While it might not be the most hazardous task in the plant, it does have the potential to injure someone with high severity – something we at Fenner are invested in avoiding.”

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