OSHA JHA Triggers Safety Process Improvement for Army Palletized Loading Systems (PLS)
September 10, 2009
- Safety Process Improvement
The Golden Cargo Team arrived at Sierra Army Depot to find themselves receiving OSHA Voluntary Protection Program Safety Training before starting to work their mission. Reservists were informed that if you work on Sierra, you must share our VPP Safety Culture. Sierra employees are partners in Safety who take care of each other. We are the Interdependent Sierra Team that communicates and mitigates potential hazards before they hurt other employees. If you see a hazard, you own it! It doesn't matter if you're fighting in Afghanistan or moving material at Sierra, we must protect each other's back for Safety. We at Sierra help train each other with safe processes so everyone goes home unhurt at the end of the day.
The Safety Office then followed up with safety process spot inspections at the work site of 423rd Transportation Company out of Ft Carson, Colo. The Sierra Safety Team reviewed the operational process of the Army's Palletized Loading System (PLS) which consists of a system that picks up a CROP (skid) from the ground and transports them down range.
The next step was to brainstorm the hazards of the various PLS processes with the 423rd team. The basic operating process functions were dissected and the only real dicey challenge that offered a potential for injury, involved just getting up on to the PLS to conduct maintenance checks.
It was found that there were marginal hand holds for climbing up to check the engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant level. The 423rd and Sierra Teams brainstormed the risk, completed a JHA and came up with a solution to the problem. It was concluded that the safest thing to do was to install another climbing handle on the cooling fan housing. This enabled maintenance personnel to maintain three point contact when climbing up on the PLS instead of two point contact. The handle was designed, fabricated and installed by Team Sierra. The material cost for the handle was less than $10.00. Maintenance personnel can now safely climb up and conduct service checks on the front end of the power plant in the PLS with minimal risk.
The second hazardous process on the PLS was climbing up on the rear service platform. The existing process involved stepping on the fuel system crossover valve with your right foot and putting your left shin or knees up on a metal step to climb up. The potential for your foot to slip off is great because the valve is narrow. This slipping could cause a person to bang their knee or shin and fall off backwards which may cause further injury. In addition, if your foot slipped forward off of the valve, you would kick the glass fuel bowl which could cause an environmental spill of up to 75 gallons of fuel. This could also disable the PLS.
The Teams conducted another JHA and came up with a simple ladder modification to the folding ladder that the PLS comes with. Two bolt on hooks were designed that attached under the existing welded on hooks. Two 5/8" holes were drilled into the step where troops put their knee while climbing up. The existing ladder could now be used to safely access rear area of the PLS power plant.
The ladder still folds up and fits into the holding rack originally designed for it on the passenger side of the PLS. The material cost for the modification to the ladder was less than $10.00. The savings recouped and pain from injuries.......priceless!
OSHA JHA's are a powerful tool for accident prevention. The more people involved in the brainstorming process, the better protection you get from hazards.
(Editor's Note: Credit for article is Russell Collier, Sierra Army Depot, Safety Specialist)