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Phase to transport pipes to C20+ successfully completed

Published 24.1.2024

With over 2.5 million km covered in 5,610 trips, the pipe transport phase for this project was successfully concluded without any deviations. The use of new technology to evaluate truck driver reaction capacity, added to a positive reinforcement campaign and incentives, were just some of the successful strategies employed by the company.  

 

The transport stage, involving the delivery of 13,014 pipes that are key supplies for the C20+ project in Chile, has been successfully completed with no lost time incidents or accidents, thanks to the successful efforts to coordinate the management of this process with local transporters.

The pipe transport stage began in April 2023, and involved 146 truck drivers from nine different companies, duly licensed and qualified for this task by Techint E&C. Additionally, the company had to handle all the logistics involved in coordinating 5,610 truck trips from the port of Iquique to its storage yard.

“The end result is extremely positive, and it’s a source of pride for us, as it’s the sum of all the efforts made by everybody who was involved, whether tangentially or transversally, in this exercise, from planning to unloading the tubes in the different stockpiles,” explains Alex Goudie, Subcontracts Administration Manager.

Safety is always the priority

The most important aspect during the pipe transport exercise was safety. This meant that a great deal of work was done on prevention and awareness-raising among the workers involved, which included the introduction of Sobereye, a testing and monitoring service that checks a person's eye to evaluate the risk of impairment from fatigue, medications, alcohol and/or drugs. It was used to measure the reaction capacity of drivers, and was supported by a positive reinforcement and incentives campaign.

“We completed 100% of the tasks with no incidents whatsoever. Overall, our evaluation was positive, as the exercise was very successful. There’s no doubt that transporting the pipes was a complex issue, but we managed to make it less complex for this project, both from an economic and an operational management standpoint. In fact, we had no problems or events that caused a major alert. The team was made up of highly experienced people who shared a great sense of responsibility, commitment and professionalism. We have a collaborative working style and share a ‘One Team’ attitude,” explains Alex Goudie, who played a key role in organizing this part of the project, fully dedicated to tasks such as setting guidelines and establishing processes.

This stage of the project began with the contracting companies, and was about defining the numbers of trucks that each would provide. Then came the process to qualify and license each driver according to Techint E&C regulations, as in order for the drivers to operate these trucks and transport pipes safely, they had to comply with specific legal requirements and use the safety elements defined by the company.

Goudie points out that, “We carried out permanent checks, in conjunction with the Road Monitoring Center, and we came to the conclusion that the main risk we faced had to do with people's behavior. That’s why we had to ensure such rigorous compliance with all the prevention measures described in the procedure.”

Vicente Fuenzalida, Operations Analyst, adds that, “at the C20+ project, at the height of activity, we had some 100 drivers registered and operating, driving between 50 and 60 trucks at the same time. The highest number was at the beginning of November, when we handled 60 vehicles in one day.”

 

Sobereye: the star innovation

The main novelty of this project was the implementation of a new tool called Sobereye, which passed the pilot test with flying colors. Goudie explains that, “What this does is measure the driver’s pupil reaction speed, based on their specific response to certain light stimuli. According to each driver's baseline, we can then measure whether their visual response shows signs of fatigue or drowsiness, which is one of the main causes of accidents.” He adds that, “We invested USD 30,000 in this technology, with the idea to be able to address the only variable that we’ve so far been unable to control.”

 

Campaign and incentives

Another pillar of the Safety Plan was a positive reinforcement campaign centered on incentives, rewarding drivers who showed exemplary behavior according to the number of trips made and their ranking compared with their peers.

Fuenzalida provides further details: “The idea of rewarding the drivers with the best performance was the brainchild of both our Subcontracting and Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) departments which came up with it together. Our main aim was to ensure we had as low number of deviations as possible, things like excess speeds or anything with the potential to affect cargo transport, which was absolutely critical."

He adds that, “In general, the drivers who stood out the most were those making the greatest number of trips, and we benchmarked their behavior and performance in terms of documentation, in addition to not having any deviations for a certain amount of time.”

Extensive safety meetings were held with all transporters, where they regularly presented and discussed indicators, the deviations rate for each company and the consequences of these, in addition to plans for upcoming trips. The supplier companies were also asked to present improvement initiatives and actions.

The biggest challenges

Goudie highlights that “it was crucial” to complete the operation as well as it started. “We faced two big challenges: the first one was to ensure that everyone who participated in the operation returned home safely. The second was to compile the information from all the lessons learned, which had an operational side and a safety one, so that we could transmit these to other projects, and measure how they were transformed into an economic value for the business,” he comments.

The synergy between the Techint E&C team, the different subcontractors, the supervisors and their superiors was essential to obtain good results.

 

Facts and figures

- Nearly 2.5 million kilometers traveled
- 133 different trucks used
- 7,000 alcohol tests applied to drivers
- 4,500 fatigue and drowsiness checks carried out with Sobereye.

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