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Guard against injury

Published by , Assistant Editor
Dry Bulk,

In recent years, achieving zero harm is fast becoming a high priority and vision for many bulk materials handling operators. Not only does this involve trying to make the workplace safer for workers, this also extends to protecting the environment and surrounding communities from harm. Each year, serious, irreversible injuries and even death can be attributed to unsafe and dangerous plant machinery and equipment. The most common injuries sustained by workers can be directly linked to poor and inadequate safety guarding.

CEO of Kinder Australia Pty Ltd, a leading global independent supplier and manufacturer of innovative and practical solutions to improve and maintain the running efficiency of conveyor and bulk materials handling equipment, commented on the importance of safety guards.

He explained: “Installing safety guards on machines and equipment ensures that workers are protected by way of preventing and reducing access to machinery high risk hazard areas.”

From the perspective of WorkSafe Victoria, 106 visits to quarries were conducted during June to September 2017 and over the same period ‘plant guarding’ was observed by the authority as critical areas targeted for improvement at each visit conducted.

44 Plant Guarding improvement notices were issued by WorkSafe Victoria, representing 39% of all notices issued followed by Traffic Management/Site Security with 32 improvement notices issued.

The Australian Standard for Conveyor Safety Requirements requires Safety guarding installed to be compliant with AS1755-2000 industry standard. Kinder Australia’s K-Protector® Return Idler Guard is industry compliant and a practical and safe solution to providing roller nip point protection.

K-Protector® Return Idler Guard’s release mechanism is compliant and can easily and simply allow the safety guard to pass through the end plates for maintenance. The unit is designed to minimise the potential for injury, operators should in all situations adhere to safe work practice procedures and avoid adjustments to unlocked machinery.

“Conveyor safety guards do not have to be complicated, nor interfere with productivity,” Kinder said. “Once installed, the guard should be kept clean and inspected regularly.”

One of Kinder’s customers in North East Victoria operates a large-scale gravel and sand plant, site maintenance teams reported ongoing guard maintenance due to the restricted access to many of the areas that required pinch point protection. As well as protecting the workers from pinch point injuries, the maintenance team looked to implement a fully compliant guarding design mechanism that would reduce cleaning downtime, and therefore create opportunities for more proactive maintenance tasks within other parts of the plant. The plant operator turned to Kinder’s K- Protector® Return Idler Guard to also help reduce the potential for injury as this was high on the agenda.

Kinder Australia emphasises the fact that safety guarding can be a significant investment for material handling operations, however by incorporating guarding into your ongoing maintenance programme in the long term guarantees both worker safety, OHS compliance and extended wear life of equipment. Kinder Australia suggests that an effective guarding maintenance programme would check for some crucial considerations such as:

Properly installing safety guarding and ensuring all fasteners are secure.

Guards should be in good working condition, or consider replacement.

Guards should be free of corrosion. Replacement of worn or corroded parts as needed will extend the life of the guard.

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