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Maintaining Safety at Eastman Chemical

By Christine Torres

Eastman Chemical maintenance focuses on safety.

When electrical problems arise at Eastman Chemical Company in Pittsburgh, Jesse Duvuvei steps up to the challenge. The facility produces hydrocarbon resins and dispersions for rubber and other substances. As a multicraft maintenance technician, his know-how and skills are often put to the test to stay on top of productive maintenance. It’s necessary for Duvuvei to pinpoint problems quickly to minimize effects on the plant’s systems and keep workers safe.

Our company’s safety program is far and above that of any other company I have worked for,” he said. “All safety suggestions are taken seriously, and are discussed on a weekly basis.”

Commitment to Safety

Eastman is responsible for producing a broad range of chemicals, plastics and fibers in use every day at home and at work. The company, which has more than 14,000 employees in locations throughout the world, is lauded for maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. For a sixth year, Eastman was named one of the 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies. It also made the list of America’s Best Large Employers 2019 by Forbes.

Duvuvei’s responsibilities range from lubrication to complex electrical troubleshooting, a key component to the overall health of the company. Some of the common hazards Duvuvei faces on the job is exposure to dangerous chemicals, some of which are extremely combustible.

During a recent process improvement project, he said a different type of gasket was installed for different parts of the process. “We have many pipes with many different materials flowing through them. So it is of the utmost importance for us to be able to correctly identify what is in the pipe we are going to work on,” he said. “This is critical to the mechanical integrity of our plant, and to the process safety in general. The goal is to keep the material in the pipes, and by upgrading to these new gaskets we will be able to achieve that.”

He also deals with electrical and mechanical hazards daily. He said he’s always on the lookout for hidden hazards along with obvious ones. Some new hazards he and his workers are facing is dealing with a recently upgraded control system.

The facility is a continuous process plant,” he said. “So the reliability and safety of the plant is heavily dependent on our control system.”

Follow Up and Through

Pipe marking identifies workplace chemicalsPart of keeping the workplace safe entails hurdling common chemical and electrical hazards along with new technical and scientific challenges. Duvuvei is part of the facility safety team at Eastman, and he firmly believes in diligent inspections and continuous education for all electrical involved workers.

“My own personal mission for all of our employees and myself is to achieve the zero incident mindset,” he said. “We truly believe that every incident is preventable, and by everyone believing in this philosophy we can achieve it.” He said his facility is great about using open lines of communication between production, management, and maintenance on the scope of the work and any hazards workers might encounter.

Duvuvei brings his professional expertise as a certified electrical inspector to his plant’s joint union/company safety committee. The purpose of the committee is to bring both union and management together to work together on the common goal of achieving a zero-incident mindset throughout the plant. Duvuvei is a valuable asset who strengthens the plant’s electrical compliance and efficiency.

He said workers should familiarize themselves with all applicable safety standards. “These standards weren’t created by people who have no knowledge of what we do. They were created by very knowledgeable people who have done a lot of research on what works and what doesn’t, and they are looking out for everyone’s safety.”