A new innovation pioneered by Fulton Hogan’s South Western Alliance team which significantly improves the safety of roadworkers has been honoured recently at the VicRoads 2018 Outstanding Performance Awards (OPA).
Fulton Hogan joined with VicRoads to form a maintenance alliance aimed at improving regional roads for South Western and Eastern Victoria in 2015. These Alliances have since delivered more efficient maintenance services to the State including road repairs, bridge maintenance, roadside clearing and improvement works and emergency response management.
Two members of the Fulton Hogan’s South Western Alliance team, Eugene Westaway and Roy Mapleso, were recently named as winners at the OPAs for an innovative new design for an asphalt hopper.
The VicRoads OPA is an annual event that recognises and celebrates outstanding performers across the organisation who showcase VicRoads values and deliver great results for the business.
Eugene and Roy’s ingenuity led them to design and fabricate an asphalt hopper that has significantly improved roadside safety for maintenance crews and minimised awkward manual handling of asphalt mix. Previously, maintenance teams doing road repairs needed to shovel the asphalt mix from shoulder height whilst standing on the roadside. Not only was this an awkward process, but it also meant that crews needed to stand on the side of the truck exposed to dangers of live traffic.
Eugene and Roy recognised that it would be far safer for crews if they were able to work from behind the truck, and would put less stress on their bodies if they could shovel the mix from a lower position. “We thought to ourselves, there must be an easier way to do this job,” Eugene said. Roy added that “We needed to keep working and reduce the workload”.
After gaining inspiration from looking at how trucks delivered other materials on site, they created a new design for an asphalt hopper located at the rear of their truck. Not only did it mean the workers weren’t standing so near to live traffic as they worked, but it also allowed them to place the hopper at a lower level which is far more comfortable to shovel from.
During the design phase, the pair faced numerous challenges as they worked on getting the mechanics of the machine working to a standard that would meet everyday demands on the road. The results of their outstanding efforts were tremendous however, with their innovation leading to increased productivity and significantly enhanced safety.
“It turned a difficult job to an easier job….we have less aches and pains when we go home,” Eugene reflected after the pair were announced as winners of the prestigious award. Roy added that “we feel more efficient and get the job done.”
The pair said that Fulton Hogan’s culture of encouraging and investing in innovation from all levels of the business had made it possible for them to turn their idea into a reality. “Although it was challenging, the best part was the collaboration between teams and the great support that we received from our manager, John Uebergang,” said Eugene. “We enjoyed it because we were backed up and had support.”
Fulton Hogan has a strong history of introducing innovations aimed at improving safety for our team members. From the development of the ‘Hoon Alert’ portable warning system, which alerts workers to approaching danger from speeding drivers, to the introduction of Reverse Smart technology to all sweepers in the Australian business, Fulton Hogan has sought to use innovation to keep our workers safe.
Fulton Hogan encourages a ‘Blue Skies’ approach to innovation amongst all of our team members, in line with our strong reputation as family company cares about communities and the people in them, especially our customers, suppliers and our people.