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 Anchors, Custom Overhead Fabrications, and Rigid Rail solutions.

Sawmills are hot, loud, and dirty environments and the work conducted within them is fast-paced and dangerous. Routine work is regularly performed on uneven working surfaces, with large openings over equipment. Although operations between facilities are very similar, each West Fraser Mill have their own set of challenges due to building layouts and overhead structures.

Solutions

Overhead Cable Systems: A total of six cable-based were designed and installed at three areas along the Sawmill Sorter, Sawmill Trim Saw, and Planer Sorter.

Custom Overhead Fabrications: A total of two Custom Overhead Fabrications were designed and installed at the Cut-Up Saws.

Rigid Rail System: One 160’ Overhead Rigid Rail System was designed and installed to cover two rail cars.

Summary

Effectively addressing fall hazards within a multi-facility organization requires a site-specific approach. In this case, the Dudley & Perry sawmills feature very similar processes & equipment, they produce similar products 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 compliance factors were the same, the final solutions varied.