Safety is paramount on mine sites with mining companies seeking alternative solutions to outdated, flawed and dangerous safety equipment to avoid injury for their staff and contractors.
This was the case for Downer EDI when the immense pressure from a grease injector dislodged in the safety glasses and hard hat of a service person, resulting in injury to their right eye.
The injury could have potentially been much worse with high-pressure grease injection injuries common on mining sites. Many of these accidents result in serious medical emergency, sometimes even the amputation of limbs.
Downer saw this as a major risk and proactively asked Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE) to create a solution that would eliminate the hazard without adding any additional steps to the greasing task.
The solution had to be simple, cost effective and be fitted to the existing fleet of service equipment.
To design an effective solution, ADE researched all aspects of the task at hand including understanding the actions of the workers, the existing safety controls and the greasing hardware.
The research revealed the usual protective equipment, which is still being used on mine sites, is not protecting the workers and the standard process of removing the hose from a greasing nipple in the case of a blockage is intrinsically flawed and dangerous.
ADE sales manager Eric Tomicek said, “ADE undertook a thorough research of the protective equipment currently in use and found it to be outdated and extremely dangerous offering very little protection to service persons.
“Not only is this a big risk for service persons, but also highlights a massive risk for mining companies who need to provide safety for their staff.”
The solution ADE provided is an easy-to-use device that removes the pressure from the hose, removing the hazard.
Eric Tomicek says the design means the device can be retrofitted to existing systems and is compatible with most industry standard components.
“We engineered a very easy to use grease pressure release device which is remotely operated using a garage door style remote with green lamp indicating when the system is active.”
Since completion, Downer has installed the Remote Grease Pressure Release System to its entire fleet of service vehicles.
The Queensland Mining Health and Safety Conference also recognised the game-changing impact of the device when it was awarded Highly Commended at the conference’s Innovation Awards.
On a mine site, to keep the fleet running, service vehicles provide lubricants to all mobile equipment. One of the supplied lubricants, grease, can be supplied at very high pressure, up to 3000 psi.
Downer’s commitment to providing Zero Harm in the mining industry is reflected in their decision to donate its royalties from the sales of each system to A Miner’s Legacy to help them continue to spread the word that there is nothing more important than going home unharmed to your loved ones at the end of you shift.