An initiative developed by Worsley Alumina employees has revolutionised the way maintenance is carried out on the 52km overland conveyor used to transport bauxite from the Boddington mine to the refinery, near Collie.
Workers were asked to come up with a better alternative to a ute with a work deck attached to the roof, used to stand on to reach the conveyor which is up to 4 metres high in some areas.
Volunteers from six maintenance shifts spent a week to identify a solution in 2000, coming up with a six wheel, all-terrain vehicle with a purpose-built lifting platform that has since been modified and improved.
The extra axle provides additional stability and increased capacity to carry maintenance equipment of up to one tonne and support for the overhead work platform.
The work platform raises and lowers from 2.2 m to 3.7 m, allowing easy access to high areas of the conveyor system without the need for ladders and reducing the need for safety harnesses.
The vehicle incorporates constant 4WD and retractable handrails on the platform with an alarm to prevent travel with the hand rail raised.
The vehicle carries a rack of 14 pulleys on each side of the tray, which are at waist level and easier to lift, eliminating the need to reach into the middle of the tray.
Lighting has been installed suitable for pulley inspections, driving in all conditions and at night, allowing 24/7 maintenance and to provide illumination of the work area.
Mark Hutchinson, a former safety rep who was on the 2000 team said the initiative was developed by workers and supported at a senior management level.
“It is believed to be the most technically advanced vehicle produced for this type of work,’’ he said.
Overland conveyor dayshift supervisor Ross Madaffari said four vehicles had now been built to carry out maintenance work.
“This has been driven from the ground up and modifications would continue to be made when identified by employees,’’ Madaffari said.
n Mark Hutchinson
08 9734 8041
n Ross Madaffari
08 9734 8062