Earlier this year, Nestle Waters North America, the nation’s leading water bottling company, opened a massive, two-line water bottling facility in McBee, SC. Inside the 200,000-square-foot facility, the fully automated machinery occupies a large footprint.
While the layout is ideal for bottling, pedestrian access is less than ideal in certain locations. If the equipment were to jam or malfunction—particularly at work heights greater than 48”—the setup would pose a significant safety risk. Not to mention, making those repairs would likely be time consuming.
In addition, there are some areas of the facility and parts of the machinery that are typically accessed by ducking under conveyor belts. These so-called “duck unders,” however, have been determined by the company (not to mention OSHA) to be a safety hazard. In fact, Nestle Waters has a department devoted to ensuring the safety and productivity of their employees, and part of that department’s initiative is eliminating “duck unders.”
To that end, ErectaStep partnered with Nestle Waters and the facility’s engineering manager to solve the pedestrian access problem and put an end to duck unders. The first phase of the project included the installation of seven crossovers that enable Nestle Waters’ employees to correct equipment jams and access opposite sides of the equipment in a matter of seconds.
Not only does the ErectaStep system increase worker productivity and safety, but it’s also fully OSHA compliant. And like all ErectaStep products, the crossovers are easily installed and easily reconfigured. So if the plant’s footprint changes, the safety access systems can change with it. Importantly, because the modular systems are in stock and pre-engineered, the global business didn’t have to slow production to wait for a custom fabrication and they didn’t have to guess what the costs might be. ErectaStep delivered their systems on time and within budget.
After the crossovers were installed, the packing area in the facility’s manufacturing line required 18” platforms to allow workers to access the equipment at a safe work height. ErectaStep once again was called upon for a quick, simple and reliable solution. And, again, the work platforms were delivered on time and within budget.
Nestle Waters is well on its way to making the McBee bottling facility a model for both safety and productivity. And ErectaStep plans to be there to ensure their next phase is as successful as the last—and that duck unders are forever a thing of the past.