The Nature of Rock Crushing Machine Accidents

The Nature of Rock Crushing Machine Accidents

A jaw crusher is a machine that needs to be handled with the greatest of caution. While it can be said about any other heavy-duty equipment used in mines, quarries, and ore processing plants, the jaw crusher is considered particularly dangerous because of the inherent risks involved in its operation – not just for the person operating it, but also for those who work around it.

While the modern-day jaw crusher is much safer to operate compared to its older versions, you still need to take proper precautions while operating and repairing the machine to make sure no one gets injured.

Common Injuries with the Jaw Crusher

Depending on the circumstances, accidents involving jaw crushers can be as minor as tripping and falling on slippage or as catastrophic as getting struck by material ejected from a stalled crusher. Given here is a list of the most common types of accidents involving crushers.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Accidental slips and falls are frequent in outdoor worksites. When you work around rock crushers, however, the consequences of a trip or fall can be quite dangerous. This is why occupational safety organizations ask workers to always be mindful of tripping hazards at worksites.

Jaw crushers eject small pieces of rock, commonly referred to as spillage, while in operation. Excessive amounts of spillage can not only reduce operational efficiency but also increase the risk of slips and falls to a great extent.

There are two problems with tripping on slippage. First, you could twist your ankle or get injured in other ways. Secondly, and more importantly, if you are not careful, you could fall right onto the machine or get hit by a projectile rock from the machine – the consequences of which can be fatal at times.

Equipment Related Injuries

Even the most advanced crushers require maintenance from time to time. The problem, however, is that repairing a jaw crusher and replacing its parts is an inherently risky job. Accidents can happen at a moment’s notice, and when they do, the results could be fatal.

The risk of an accident and the severe injuries resulting out of it is magnified when you do not follow proper precautions. This is why it’s crucial to be extremely careful even while performing mundane repair and maintenance work – like changing jaw dies.

Sharp Projectile Rocks

When a jaw crusher breaks down a large rock into smaller chunks, it ejects tiny shards that pile up to form what is known as spillage.

Most of the time, the shards are too small and not ejected with enough force to hurt those who are nearby. In some cases, however, the machine could spit out the shards with enough velocity to hurt anyone who is at the receiving end. The resulting injuries can be quite severe, especially if you get hit in the eye.

Bridged Crusher

Clearing out the blockage in a bridged crusher is perhaps the most dangerous task you might have to perform at a worksite. Most companies these days use a hydraulic arm or a crane with hooks to clear out the blockage or use a rock breaker to break it down into small pieces.

Some companies, however, still require their workers to enter the machine and position the hooks manually so that the blockage could be cleared out. Some even allow the use of hand hammers and bars to get the job done. In such cases, the risk of accidents is very high.

Safety Features in Jaw Crushers

The safety features in crushers have become more advanced over the years, as a result of which the machines have become much safer to operate. The hydraulic toggle plate is one such feature which has improved the safety and functionality of the jaw crusher significantly.

In the earlier versions of jaw crushers, in case of a tramp event, the toggle plate which was bent or broken had to be replaced manually. Hydraulic toggle plates, on the other hand, come with a release valve, which can restore functionality in case of a tramp event, without requiring anyone to jump into the machine and replace the plate.

There are a number of safety and performance tools available that can upgrade a jaw crusher, improve its functionality, make it safer to operate and increase the overall efficiency of the operation. You can find specialized tools for different purposes like cone tramp relief, liner-change safety, feed arrangement, cone hydraulic adjustment, and more.

Tips for Safety

Given here is a list of safety measures and precautions that can not only ensure the safety of the workers but can also increase production and operational efficiency to a considerable extent.

Using Protective Gear

This is the most basic and perhaps most important safety protocol that workers need to follow. From face shields to high-traction, slip-resistant footwear, there are many protective types of equipment that workers can wear to protect themselves from projectile rocks and other occupational hazards at the worksite.

Clearing Out Slippage

Clearing out the slippage around the crusher at regular intervals is one of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of slips and falls at the worksite.

Turning Off the Machine

It is always a good idea to turn off the machine while performing repair and maintenance work. While specific jobs can only be done when the machine is on, most other tasks can be done even when the machine is turned off.

Many people tend to do maintenance work while the machine is on, just so that they do not waste a few precious minutes of production time. The risk of injury in such cases, however, is so high that it is not worth putting the safety and well-being of a worker on the line just to save a few minutes of production time, i.e., money.

That will not look impressive to anyone if a business or contractor is willing to take those types of risks at the detriment or danger to the workers.

Maintaining the Machine Properly

The thumb rule when it comes to crushers, or any other heavy-duty equipment for that matter, is that the more maintenance a machine needs, the higher the chances of an accident. So it is recommended to replace old and outdated components with newer and safer ones that require less maintenance. This is also financially prudent.

It is also a wise idea to upgrade the crusher with the safety and performance tools mentioned above. If, on the other hand, the crusher is too outdated and is not compatible with any of these modern upgrades, it might be time to replace it altogether with a more advanced, safer version. The US Navy does the same thing with its ships.

Employer Responsibilities under Cal/OSHA

Cal/OSHA or the California Occupational Safety and Health Regulations came into force in 1973. All employers in California (barring a very few exceptions) are under a legal obligation to follow Cal/OSHA regulations. California is one of the states which has its safety and health plans that have been approved by the federal government and precede over federal OSHA. To learn more, click here.

Rock Crusher Accident Lawyer in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a rock crusher accident lawyer in Sacramento. Employees often suffer serious injuries due to equipment failure or someone else’s improper conduct. If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed in a heavy-duty equipment accident, call me at 916-584-9355 for a free consultation.

For the past 36 years, I’ve helped many clients throughout Northern California with personal injury and wrongful death cases. My firm is dedicated to helping injured workers and their families get the compensation they are entitled to.

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