Background

West Fraser is a North American wood products company that operates over 45 manufacturing facilities in the southern United States and Western Canada. Based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada the public company is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WFT. West Fraser engaged FLS to bring the Perry, Florida and Dudley, Georgia operations into OSHA-compliance and provide comprehensive fall protection to workers. FLS conducted extensive hazard assessments, reviewed operations and assessed worker routines throughout the manufacturing process.

Projects included the design, engineering, fabrication, and installation of a range of fall protection solutions including Overhead Cable-based systems, Single Point Anchor, Overhead Beam Trolley and Rigid Rail solutions.

Sawmills are hot, loud, and dirty environments and the work conducted within them is fast-paced and dangerous. At height work is regularly performed on uneven working surfaces, with large openings over equipment.   Both facilities debark, saw, edge, trim, and chip raw timber to create finished lumber. Although layout and operations between facilities are virtually identical, controls are applied differently.

Solutions

Overhead Cable Systems: a total of six cable-based were designed and installed at three areas along the mill processing line...the Green Sorter, Green Trim Saw, and Planer Sorter.

Overhead Beam/Trolley Systems: a total of two beam and trolley systems were designed and installed at the Planer/Saw and Debarker.

Rigid Rail System: One 160’ Overhead RigidRail System was designed and installed over two rail cars to protect two users.

Summary

Effectively addressing fall hazards within a multi-facility organization requires a site-specific approach. In this case, the Dudley & Perry sawmills feature nearly identical processes & equipment, they produce the same final product and have strikingly similar footprints. However, when it comes to engineered fall protection, structural differences and even marginal variations in administrative controls and operations within the sites affect system requirements. Although the need to address risk and compliancy factors was the same, the final solutions were different.