Safety Guidance: Mobile Crushers and Screeners
In a wide range of industries such as quarrying, recycling and demolition, mobile crushers are designed to reduce raw material into smaller products by mechanically forcing the product to shatter and reduce in size. This product is then put through the mobile screener which segregates material by passing over different sized apertures allowing material to fall onto different belts. This ensures that the material is screened to a more commercial product to be sold, disposed of or recycled.
The environment in which crusher and screens operate contain inherent risks to health and safety which the operator must take steps to guard against. Dangers from overhead conveyor discharges, overspills material, vehicle movements etc, as well as other site related hazards must be anticipated. These can be avoided by carrying out risk assessments before the plant is put into operation to ensure appropriate exclusion zone measures are put in place and site personnel safety awareness training has been undertaken.
By the nature of the equipment and tasks required dust will be omitted into the atmosphere, regular monitoring of the dust in the air, will determine what level of PPE is required or advised. Recycled products can consist of various materials giving different results, so consistent monitoring is strongly advised.
Only trained, experienced and authorised personnel must execute any work on or with the equipment, only operate if all guarding, protective and safety orientated devices, emergency shutdown equipment and water suppressions are all in place and working correctly. Any nip points on moving machinery can cause serious injury or death, do not reach into unguarded machinery and never leave the plant unattended whilst in operation. Where defects are found, these should be reported following an in-company procedure and rectified immediately.
If oversized materials are loaded into the hopper, this can result in the crusher becoming blocked. A robust Risk Assessment must be completed, and everyone involved must follow the Safe System of Work. Ideally a hydraulic arm, should be used to manipulate the offending item into a position where the crusher will fracture and reduce the size, if this fails a crane may be required to lift out the offending item although extreme caution must be exercised to ensure the crane is not overloaded.
There have also been fatalities caused by a stalled crusher. In most instances, this was due to a piece of tramp metal being jammed, then ejected leading to fatal consequences. To reduce this risk, prior to the use of the machine, plant operators should be given written instructions which outlines the procedure if the crusher stalls. These procedures should include details on the full process; from isolating the power, to notifying the site manager. It is also important to remember that if the crushing cavity of a crusher is being inspected, this should be done whenever possible from underneath the equipment rather than above.
Benefits of Training
Completing the right training for crushers and screeners is beneficial for all parties involved. Operatives remain safe whilst onsite, and operations can continue without any major disruptions. The correct training will not only help to keep people safe, but will boost your productivity, and can help to reduce employee turnover by demonstrating an investment in your staff, and improve overall morale.