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Construction : Report | June 2016 | Source : Equipment India

Safety in a Hydraulic Crawler Excavator

Excavators are heavy equipment and operators for such machines should possess adequate skills.

Hydraulic crawler-mounted excavators are one of the fastest selling construction equipment at present in India. It must be understood that excavators are one type of heavy equipment used in excavation or dredging or other activities. To be an operator or operate heavy equipment types is certainly not be any operator or without adequate skill. However, the manufacturers themselves are trying their best to protect the operator, equipment and the workplace where the equipment is the operated, without compromising on productivity.

It must be understood that safety encapsulates the operator, maintenance technicians and the equipment itself.

Safety in excavators begins with safe ingress and exit of the operator or technician. Three point holds while doing the same are standard on all machines. The latest to join is a safe boarder option.

Once seated in the cabin, the operator has to be protected from FOPS by guards, ergonomic cabin design of seats, controllers, easy visibility and a hydraulic safety lever which has to be operated to commence operations. For ROPS protection, many manufacturers provide inclinometer.

The floor of the cab is clear of any pedals except the tracking pedals, which are connected to the levers. If one could find a way to eliminate the same it will make the cabin safer.

Operational safety and equipment protection features
The operatorĀ“s station, designed for comfort, convenience, and safety, features a large air- suspension seat, adjustable wrist rests, and ergonomic features. Joy stick controls are provided on the armrest for easy operation of hydraulic controlled operations which are used for more than 90 per cent of the operation time. Many types of electronic control modules are provided in the excavators for operator assistance to meet productivity requirements and provide warnings in case of incorrect or unsafe operations.

Lock valve on main boom lift and stick cylinders are the standard protection for preventing a sudden drop of the loaded main boom or stick in case of hydraulic hose bursts or failures. This specific feature saves lives and damage to surrounding objects.

Safety during maintenance
On the foremost is that the maintenance point locations are maximised to provide access while standing followed under belly hood for engine access and a pocket for checking track auto tensing device.

Guard rails and rear view mirrors are strategically provided at all access locations for providing visibility to the operator and accidental falling during equipment inspection.

Safety decals
All modern excavators are provided various safety decals pasted at all hazardous locations of the equipment to allow visualisation of safety risks and make the crew take the required safety measures to protect themselves. From time to time it is advisable to replace these decals as they get smudged or ripped during regular operation of the machine.

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