Safety Tips for Quarry & Aggregate Operations

The quarry & aggregate industry is full of tough applications that require durable machines. Unscheduled downtime is not acceptable. Products must maximize uptime and productivity. Maintaining a safe work environment in the quarry & aggregate industry is critical. Inadequate walkways or scaffolding, poor housekeeping, lack of training and operator fatigue often cause injuries.

1. Wear seat belts.

Seat belts are an essential safety feature for quarry and aggregate jobsites. It is important to remember they hold operators in the seat and help contain them inside the rollover protection structure (ROPS) in a collision or tip-over event, when used properly. The seat assembly, which includes the seat belt and mounting hardware, should be inspected regularly as required during the pre-shift walk around and as instructed in the manufacturer’s operation & maintenance manual. When inspecting seat belt:
  • Check the seat belt mounting hardware for wear or for damage. Replace any mounting hardware that is worn or damaged. Make sure the mounting bolts are tight.
  • Check the buckle for wear or for damage. If the buckle is worn or damaged, replace the seat belt.
  • Inspect the seat belt for webbing that is worn or frayed. Replace the seat belt if the seat belt is worn or frayed.
  • Check the label for date of installation and replace after three years service life.
  • Consult your Cat dealer for the replacement of the seat belt and the mounting hardware.

2. Ensure operator visibility.

Lack of adequate visibility can be a serious hazard on quarry sites. Factors such as difficult light conditions, fatigue, dust, dirt, wind, rain, snow, reverse operation or pile height can cause complications seeing other vehicles, people, roadways and other important hazards. If at any point during the shift visibility is significantly reduced or eliminated, stop the equipment until it improves and contact your supervisor. Poor visibility can lead to injury or death of an individual and severe damage to the jobsite facilities or equipment. Visually scan the jobsite at all times and inform management and other operators of any unsafe visibility areas or conditions. Clean mirrors and windows at the beginning and end of each shift, as well as during breaks, and tell management about any cracked or broken windows or mirrors. Water down the haul roads and blast sites to reduce airborne dirt and dust. Park machine with clear visibility of adjacent equipment.

3. Always wear personal protective equipment.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is designed to protect employees from workplace hazards that could cause serious injuries or illnesses. Consult your jobsite safety coordinator or supervisor for the required PPE needed for your job. Common PPE for quarry and aggregate operations includes hard hats, eye protection, high-visibility vests, steel toed safety boots, gloves, hearing protection and task appropriate respiratory protection for which you have been medically cleared and test fitted.

4. Adhere to legally required site specific training.

Knowledge is power. Training makes employees aware of hazards and supports a “safety culture” at the jobsite. Ensure all applicable employees are certified and approved as required by the government regulations to be on the jobsite. In addition, all employees should complete any required site-specific mine safety courses prior to work beginning. (i.e.: fall protection, confined spaces, etc). Consult with your site safety representative if you have any questions.

5. Respect mobile equipment right of way.

Traffic flow creates a potential danger area for daily operators and jobsite visitors. All traffic and directional signs must be in good working condition. Ensure all employees and visitors are trained on the proper traffic flow and abide by the rules set forth by the site. For instance, some jobsites have a left-hand traffic pattern which allows better visibility of the ditch line and is safer in wet conditions. Right of way determines which vehicle moves first when two or more pieces of equipment are in the same area at the same time. Right of way should be pre-determined by the site management and communicated to all individuals using the haul roads.

6. Recognize highwall hazards.

Highwall safety is important for any quarry and aggregate employee. Conduct hazard recognition highwall safety training in which employees must identify the following during the examination: cracking, rutting, loose ground, sloughage and large rocks causing obstacles. If material needs to be dumped over a berm, it should be done while maintaining the safety height requirements. Safety berm heights should be a minimum of half the wheel height of the largest piece of equipment working on the site. Communicate any changes that occur throughout the day on the highwall to the following shift. Loose material should also be scaled prior to performing work. Remember to position shovels and trucks so that the cabs swing away from the highwall when loading.

7. Conduct walk around inspections of your machine.

Walk around inspections only take a few minutes and are one of the best ways to prevent mechanical problems and avoid safety hazards. Details are provided in the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual, which should be kept in the cab of the machine. Operators must understand the importance of completing the checks and supervisors must allow time for a thorough evaluation. Look for equipment damage, leaks, cuts, cracks, rubbing, debris and excessive wear. Do not limit the examinations to the start of the day. Perform a walk around every time you get off the machine and again at the end of a shift. Pass along all relevant information to other operators and ensure new observations are clearly communicated to a supervisor for proper maintenance.

8. Avoid slips and falls.

Poor footing conditions may cause slips and falls from equipment. Use extreme caution when maneuvering on or near loose material. Organizing the work area is the best way to avoid slips and falls and make it clear that others are expected to do the same. For secure footing, slip-resistant shoes or boots should be worn. Consider conditions that often lead to slips such as rain, mud, steep terrain, debris and use three points of contact when mounting and dismounting. Make sure the platform is free of tools, gloves and loose objects. Position your equipment when parking to safely dismount via manufacturer designed mounting and dismounting points.

9. Maintain a safe travel distance between machines.

Do not risk safety for production! Operators running equipment on the jobsite should remain a safe traveling distance from other machines. Weather conditions may cause slick roads or poor visibility. Having additional space between machines is recommended to avoid accidents. Any number of variables can cause a person to brake, turn, stop or lose control of a vehicle. Uphill and downhill slopes are also areas of concern. Ensure a safe travel distance (Example: 2 times – the required stopping distance, a guideline to be determined by each site) is maintained at all times on the haul roads and employees are trained and aware of the site rules. Never follow a machine so close that it puts you outside their visibility zone.

10. Make a commitment to training.

Practice makes perfect. New operators should be properly trained before starting work on a jobsite. An operator who is not properly trained is a hazard to everyone on a quarry site. Operators must understand the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual before putting the machine to work. To create a safe work zone, it is important all employees understand the common communication practices used on the jobsite. Train employees on jobsite communication, such as:

  • Keeping track of others in the work zone and letting them know where you are at all times.
  • Establishing eye contact before entering a work zone.
  • Creating two-way communication before entering a work zone.
  • Informing co-workers when leaving

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john said...

Getting the right training such as oshacampus program for safety is one of the things that most workers can do to ensure their health and safety. In some places this is already required but even in those places where this is not mandatory, employers still likes to provide it and worker still trains for it as they both know it's importance in decreasing health and safety hazards.

man said...

thanks for your information.

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