Lean Safety

26 September 2017

OSA Damper PreFab

Written by  Jack Rubinger Published in Lean Safety

Mechanical contractors TCM have figured out a better way to manufacture, package, and assemble OSA dampers — 200+ lb. automatic louvers that control the fresh air flow in a building’s HVAC system.

by Jack Rubinger, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 503-964-4877

TCM team members learned how to reduce exposure to repetitive motions, minimize awkward postures, and reduce heavy lifting — three key elements which link safety, lean construction best practices and ergonomics — by fabricating a rotating table rugged enough to withstand the weight of the dampers which were causing tremendous fatigue and injury by the end of the day.

TCM sourced several heavy duty car jacks online. The team then welded some brackets that would hold the jacks down to the table. They simply set a drill onto the receiver which would allow them to raise or lower the dampers quickly.

OSA Dampers

Life was tedious and slow before the rotator. It was fine if they were to only make a few. But the team felt it towards the end of the day when they had to push them out all day.  Everyone talked about the pain they felt when they were turning the dampers over by hand.

“We all felt the same pain factor in our arms and backs,” said Thompson. “Working along with the guys and understanding all the process and tuning all steps of our assemblies, really helped us see what could be improved. Most of us are used to working with what we have and just deal with it. It’s great that we are allowed to improve whatever we needed. I was able to see the difference in the crew before the rotator and after the rotator. They were less tired and mostly the morale was improved greatly.  The work was quite an arduous task and every step was constant state of repetitiveness.”

Every time they built just a section of the OSA dampers, they had to turn them over 3 times. As it turned out, the rotator is quicker than turning them over by hand — not to mention the safety factor.

“Our philosophy is all about building a culture about continuous improvement, education and the eight wastes, which include excessive motion and wasted time. We’re focusing on improving and refining systems to gain time and reduce waste while generating ideas to support these goals,” said TCM’s John Mastromonaco. “Even small things can be improved. That’s why we’re encouraging folks to speak freely, communicate and share their learnings like how to improve what we do with OSA dampers.

The final result?  No wasted steps, fewer errors and a much quicker field install.

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