Training project site assistants for Usiminas
As part of the project that Techint Engineering & Construction is carrying out at the Usiminas plant in Brazil, a special training course was held to qualify newly-hired civil engineering assistants in Industrial Painting Procedures.
Every day at five am on the dot, Elaine Cristina Lima gets up, makes a cup of coffee, dons her blue Techint E&C jumpsuit and puts on her makeup before going to work. “I never leave the house without my make-up on,” she says, proud of her routine.
She arrives promptly at 6:55 am to start her day as the Head of Painting at the Usiminas Managed Labor Contract project (MOA-Usiminas), where Techint E&C is providing electromechanical services to the Usiminas plant, one of the largest steel complexes in Latin America, located in Ipatinga, in the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
Perfectly turned-out and super punctual is also how Elaine arrived for the Practical Painting Training session, held on June 27. The initiative was organized by Human Resources and the Quality, Health, Safety and Environment department (QHSE) for a group of eight newly-hired women assistants to train and qualify them in the techniques of industrial painting procedures. The course was part of the safety campaign "Today at work, tomorrow anywhere", designed to raise awareness among employees of the importance of taking the right decisions in the workplace.
The 4-hour training course was held at Casa Amarela, the project's administrative site and covered several aspects of safety. The participants were first treated to an explanation about the importance of training for the company, before taking a deep dive into the painting process itself, ranging from the preparation of the pieces, including cleaning and sanding, to finishing. The course included topics such as raw materials, tools and ensuring the necessary documentation is completed, with a focus on forms such as the Activity Planning Form (APS) and the Task Risk Analysis (ART), which are used together by the teams performing the activity in order to pre-empt risks and take the necessary control measures. The participants also learned about the Chemical Product Safety Data Sheet (FISPQ in Portuguese), a comprehensive list of guidelines about the chemical composition of the materials and related safety recommendations.
“Training is really important for us to expand our knowledge horizon, and this was an excellent course! The things we learned we will take with us for the rest of our lives, and we can also pass them on to other people as they join the project later,” reflects Elaine. She adds that, “it’s crucial to focus on women's empowerment, as women perform extremely well in their roles, and by empowering them, they can execute their tasks in the best way possible.”
Growth and learning through many different projects
Born in Paraná, Elaine used to work alongside her parents in rural activities from a young age, and when she grew older, she dedicated her life to looking after her family and six children. The turning point came in 2016, when she decided she wanted more independence. This was when her daughters Jhennyfer Taynna and Evelyn Rafaele started working as construction assistants on the P-76 project, where Techint was responsible for assembling and building a floating oil production and storage platform. The sheer size of the work piqued Elaine's interest and, within a few months, she’d sent off her resume with the hope of joining the crew working on this project, in the same capacity as her daughters. Her application was successful, she signed her first formal work contract, and was gradually able to save up to buy a motorcycle—and even a house.
After the P-76, Elaine and her daughters went on to work at the Parnaíba V project, a thermoelectric power plant deep in the state of Maranhão, where she learned about industrial painting through courses provided by the company. Elaine became a professional industrial painter, an area in which she’s been working ever since. Today, she runs the painting training courses, which has helped both her and the team to improve their technique and efficiency.
Being a woman working on an engineering project is not easy, even more so in an area largely occupied by men. “There is still a lot of prejudice, but I don't let it get to me, and I always focus on showing the quality of my work,” she says.
Looking forwards, Elaine’s intention is to continue learning and growing as she’s really proud of everything she’s achieved so far. This spurs her motivation to continue working in the field and learning every day, along with her daughters, Jhennyfer and Evelyn, who are also working at the MOA-Usiminas project, as a Human Resources Technical Assistant and Electrician, respectively.