Thursday, May 25, 2017

Schrack Farms - Loganton, PA

Our last stop on our Historical Perspectives on Occupational Safety and Health Tour was Schrack Farms, in Loganton, PA.  They are a dairy farm with over 1,000 head of cattle.  We were met by Jim Harbach, the owner of the farm. Jim is a 7th generation farmer of Schrack Farms.

Jim gave an great overview of the issues farmers face at work, as well as the operation he runs at his farm.  We saw the milking operations and where the cows "hang out" and eat.  The farm produces milk for many suppliers that ends up in our grocery stores.  Jim discussed the issue of soil conservation and "no tilling" to ensure the soil has proper nutrients and reduces run off.  Schrack Farms runs a methane recovery operation that provides energy for the farm, and produces enough energy to supply energy back into the grid.   And we got to hang out with the cows.  A very interesting tour!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Materion - Beryllium

Today we visited Materion, a multinational company specializing in high performance engineered materials, specifically with beryllium.  Beryllium is used industrially in three forms: as a pure metal, as beryllium oxide, and most commonly, as an alloy with copper, aluminum, magnesium, or nickel.  The products Materion produces are used in the telecommunications, computer, automotive electronics, industrial components, aerospace, defense, and appliance industries. 

Our trainees were divided into 5 groups, each seeing a different aspect of the processes at Materion.  Some saw how they created rod and tubes, and others how they made coils of very thin beryllium alloys.   This visit allowed our trainees to wear PPE, including powered air purifying respirators.

We thank Mike Berakis, the industrial hygienist, and the entire Elmore facility staff for their hospitality, and providing such an incredible learning opportunity for our trainees.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ford River Rouge and GM Pontiac Stamping

This morning we visited the Ford River Rouge factory, the historic factory where the assembly line for automobiles was started.  The River Rouge factory produces 1,000 F-150 trucks every weekday (600 on the weekends).  They have incorporated many technological advances to improve worker safety and health by using robots and other mechanical devices.  We learned the history of the Fordplant, from the beginning of when Henry Ford founded the company to how they develop cars today.

In the afternoon, we visited the GM Pontiac Stamping Plant.  Here we were able to discuss auto manufacturing issues with the health and safety staff of the facility.  We walked through the plant, seeing how the steel is stamped to create the fenders, roof, and other parts of the cars.