Thursday, January 7, 2010
I've decided to publish the stories that I've written for Shift Miner Magazine here in the Surge Bin. Till now, you've had to read the stories in the "latest issue" available at the SM website.
This story, Lifting Point, was my first flash fiction piece published in the 5 minute fiction column, and appeared in Issue 73 of Shift Miner Magazine. I blogged about this story initially here.
“What I want to do,” said Max, “is put a lifting point onto that beam.” He pointed up to the beam and then down to the cyclone product screen below. “Then we can lift the motor straight up and down to get it off and on the screen.”
Neil looked at the beam, the screen and then back at Max. As the mechanical engineer for the washplant he often had operators, boilermakers or fitters like Max come to him with improvement ideas. “How do you lift the motor now?”
“We put a fibre sling over that beam, and put a shackle through it for the chainblock,” he said. “But you need to go to the floor above and push the sling down through the grating, with some pipe through the sling 'cause of the sharp edges in the grating. And you need to barricade around the area with hazard tape. It's a real pain.”
“Sure,” said Neil. Sometimes an improvement just wasn't worth the effort, and this was one of those times. He didn't like to break the news, though. He let the blokes work it out for themselves. “I'll help you through the process. If you draw a sketch of what you want, including dimensions, then I'll get it properly drawn up.”
“And then you'll get it made?”
“Not quite,” said Neil. “I'll get the design certified by an RPEQ – that's a Registered Proffessional Engineer of Queensland. You'll need to help me find the weight of the motor and the chainblock for that.”
“And then you'll get it made?”
“Yeah. Right after I get the drawing and change management forms signed off by the maintenance superintendent and the mechanical engineering manager, and added to the drawing register. I'll get a quote for fabrication and then raise a purchase requisition, and our lifting point will get ordered.”
“Wow,” said Max, “It's getting bigger than Ben-Hur; but, I suppose if we're going to do it, we'll do it properly. So, I'll just weld it up once it's delivered?”
“Well, the job'll need to be planned and scheduled through the work management system, based on priority, but yes, that's about it.” Neil looked around, thinking about the job. “Of course, you'll need to do the work from a ladder with a harness for fall restraint. Unless you want to get a scaffold built?”
Max's eyes went wide. He shook his head, and said, “N-No, the ladder's fine.”
Neil continued, “You'll need a Working at Heights Permit for that. Because you'll be welding, you'll have to get a Hot Work Permit, and of course set up some welding screens. You can get some fire blanket material from the store to lay onto the screen panels: we'll need to make sure your welding sparks don't melt those. First up though, you'll need to barricade the area with hazard tape, but that's just standard procedure. With all that in place, you can do your JHA and Take 5 and get into it. I'll get you the painting specification you need to comply with in plenty of time, of course. And once it's all done, I'll get the as-built drawings issued and approved.” Neil paused, then added, “You are signed off for structural welding, aren't you?”
Max looked back up at the beam. “You know,” he said, “we don't change the motor that often, and when we do, we can just pop a sling over that beam up there.”