A solid safety-focused culture is enhanced by a mix of the right management, the right mindset, and the right equipment. Operations that think of safety programs as banners and signage are merely offering advertisement. True commitment is when management is continually promoting safety and responding immediately to individual concerns and successes – not just team efforts and targets. In addition to strong operator and safety training programs, it is important to select equipment that is designed for greater productivity and safety.
“In our Hydra-Jaw Series of crushers, for example, the hydraulic chamber clearing feature is of number-one importance. Anyone who has ever operated a jaw understands that feature immediately,” says Telsmith Regional Manager Jerry Sammons. He explains that hydraulic chamber clearing automatically opens the crusher to a safe position, allowing materials to pass. The crusher’s hydraulic relief protects parts and components against overload damage, and the hydraulic adjustment feature reduces maintenance time and maintains safe, consistent crusher output without the need for manual intervention. “To manually clear out a crusher is a time-consuming and dangerous process. Numerous injuries and fatalities have occurred when climbing in or under the jaw to clear, repair or adjust the typical older-style crusher,” he says.
Older jaw designs would often require that the pitman be held forward with chains and a winching device that is not always easy to secure – so for that reason, a worker would be required to climb under the jaw to remove the tension assembly and allow the toggle to be lowered – a task that allows the potential of significant risk.
A recent MSHA incident report details how two workers loosened the toggle rod bolts of the shim unit by removing the nut on the left side and loosening the nut on the right side. Then one of the workers accessed the lower area of the shim unit by using a ladder that was placed under the crusher. When the other worker was asked to remove the remaining top nut on the right side, the retainer bolts pulled through the crusher causing the toggle block rest assembly of the shim unit to fall, killing the worker underneath.
“Modern crusher designs feature hydraulic systems that literally handle all the “heavy work,” maximizing uptime – and of the utmost importance – eliminating the need for maintenance personnel to climb into or under the jaw,” says Sammons.