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  • The Five Hazardous Co-Workers

The Five Hazardous Co-Workers

Which One Are You?

By Eric Marcotte

Safety is everyone’s responsibility and everyone’s problem. It is critical to the safety of the operator and others that reasonable care and judgment is exercised. Here are five bad personality types paired with examples of the most common Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety violations for 2018 as they apply to impact crushers. We specialize in impact crushers such as cage mills, horizontal/vertical shaft impactors and air swept fine grinding mills. Next to conveyors, potentially some of the most dangerous quarry equipment to work around. Despite all the advancements in technology to improve quarry safety, one factor remains the same: the human factor, which leads to errors. Most accidents are caused by failure to observe simple safety rules and precautions. Operators must be aware of what is happening around the working area to recognize hazards before they become accidents and to avoid creating situations, which could cause accidents or hazards. Operators must also be aware of their and their co-workers’ hazardous thoughts. Thoughts that disregard rules and regulations, common sense and physics! It’s everyone’s responsibility to recognize hazardous attitudes and stop them before any action is taken.

1. The Resignator! - “What’s the use?”

Lack of personal protective equipment (respiratory and eye/face) is the fourth and tenth most common violation in OSHA’s yearly report. “What’s the use,” you might say. Resignation to a problem isn’t a solution. Don’t get a rock chip in your eye because you wanted to be a “nice guy” and not ask someone for eye protection. Whether or not you get a respiratory illness from breathing rock dust isn’t a matter of being lucky or not. When things go badly, it won’t be because someone is out to get you, it's because you didn’t wear a respirator specifically approved for the hazard. What’s the use? The benefits are you’ll have happy employees, higher uptime, easier troubleshooting and reduced off-spec product. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has just released a beta version of monitoring software that will help mines more effectively monitor worker exposure to hazardous respirable crystalline silica. The antidote to the Resignator is: “You’re not helpless. You can make a difference.” 

2. I’m Invincible! – “It won't happen to me.”

Lack of proper machine guarding is the ninth top OSHA violation. Many people believe that mishaps happen to others, but never to them. They know mishaps can happen, and that anyone can have an accident. However, they never believe they will be involved. Persons who think this way are likely to take chances, increasing their risk. Who is responsible? It takes leadership management with the commitment, to empower facility managers to get employees engaged. Machine guarding is only the last defense. You should also remove rings, necklaces, jewelry, and neckties. And not wear loose fitting clothing, to not put you in the position of the person who got their clothes caught in a rotating drive draft, drawing them into the machinery. The antidote to invincible thinking is: “It could happen to me.” 3. Get’er Done! - “Do Something Quickly.” Accidents with powered, industrial load carrying equipment are the seventh highest violation rate. Jumping onto a forklift to “Get it done right away” may not be the right action. Some people frequently feel the need to do something immediately. They do not think about what a risk they are taking or evaluate the best choice. Doing the first thing that comes to mind is almost never the best decision. What could go wrong at your plant? Review your safety issues during the specification and commissioning of equipment. Question how the use of forklifts, front-end loaders, trucks and man lifts be used, equipment tested, personnel trained, supervised and new risks assessed? Clearly, mark traffic paths and include blind corner fish-eye mirrors. Is the cribbing you placed to repair a flat tire appropriate for a front-end loader? Is that lifting chain properly rigged? When working near equipment, make eye contact with the equipment operator and directly communicate your intended movements. Before you jump in that man-basket secured to a shovel by a weldment that doesn’t look right to get the job finished, think, “Why rush into this?” The antidote to impulsivity is: "Not so fast. Think first.”

3. Get’er Done! - “Do Something Quickly.”

Accidents with powered, industrial load carrying equipment are the seventh highest violation rate. Jumping onto a forklift to “Get it done right away” may not be the right action. Some people frequently feel the need to do something immediately. They do not think about what a risk they are taking or evaluate the best choice. Doing the first thing that comes to mind is almost never the best decision. What could go wrong at your plant? Review your safety issues during the specification and commissioning of equipment. Question how the use of forklifts, front-end loaders, trucks and man lifts be used, equipment tested, personnel trained, supervised and new risks assessed? Clearly, mark traffic paths and include blind corner fish-eye mirrors. Is the cribbing you placed to repair a flat tire appropriate for a front-end loader? Is that lifting chain properly rigged? When working near equipment, make eye contact with the equipment operator and directly communicate your intended movements. Before you jump in that man-basket secured to a shovel by a weldment that doesn’t look right to get the job finished, think, “Why rush into this?” The antidote to impulsivity is: "Not so fast. Think first.”

4. Macho, Macho, Man! - “I can do it.”

Lockout/tagout violations were the fifth most frequent violation in 2018 thru Sept. 30. Taking chances is foolish. Persons like this are always trying to prove that they are better than anyone else. Thinking, “I can do it—I'll show them.” Persons like this will try to impress others by taking risks. How does your plant handle operational safety issues? Do you have regularly scheduled maintenance and inspections logs? How clean is your quarry? Are the proper spare parts available? Is it easy to find out how to properly service and maintain your equipment? Dust control guarding is also important for cage mils, which can create dust issues because the cages act as fans. 3 Never troubleshoot electrical systems when you can come into contact with the high voltage typically found in control centers. Always install the necessary lockouts and tags needed to isolate equipment from power sources before removing any guards or covers or performing any maintenance or adjustments. Standing on an energized conveyor is never a good idea, and pulling the stop cable isn’t a lockout! It’s not rocket science, but in 2018 the Mine Saftey and Health Administration awarded Penn State University $50,000 to plan, design, develop and evaluate a three-module training program that will enhance safety regarding inspecting, working around and performing maintenance on conveyor belts. The antidote to being macho is: “There are old quarrymen and bold quarrymen. There are no old, bold quarrymen.”

5. Anti-authority! - “Don’t tell me.”

General fall protection is the number one violation! Some people do not like anyone telling them what to do. They are thinking, “I’m not going to fall, one hand for the man, one hand for the ship,” is my motto! They may regard rules, regulations, and procedures as silly and too time-consuming. It's always your prerogative to question authority if you feel it is in error. Do you know the Health, Safety and Environmental regulations for your operation? The HSE safety goal is “Less than one workday lost per million hours worked.” Where are your Safety Data Sheets? NIOSH offers Hazard Recognition Programs and Toolbox Talks to bring your crew up to speed. Quarries have many high places to fall from. Even falling off of a portable plant while stationary can be fatal. The antidote to anti-authority is: “Follow the rules. They are usually right.” 

Summary

Business is good, now is the time to review your safety programs for continued profitability. Specific requirements, precautions, and hazards associated with impact crusher equipment operation and the general work area must be communicated to, and understood by, all persons involved in the operation and maintenance of this equipment in order to avoid injury or death to personnel, or damage to the equipment. Heavy equipment operation - is decision-making in a unique environment — pits and quarries. Mining is not possible without risk, but unnecessary risk comes without a corresponding return. Make it a systematic approach to consistently determine the best course of action in response to a given set of circumstances. The five steps for good decision-making are: 1. Identify personal hazardous attitudes, 2. Use behavior modification techniques to diffuse them, 3. Recognize and cope with stress, 4. Develop risk assessment skills, and 5. Use all available resources. Vertical Shaft Impactors operate at higher speeds than most crushers and typically require automatic oil feed lubrication systems, another thing that can go dangerously wrong if not maintained. 4 Maybe it will be a video game that helps you develop a culture of safety, which means empowering employees to make observations, report unsafe conditions and have the authority to stop work without retribution. Recently NIOSH funded a $1.6 million grant to develop more effective mining safety training methods. Researchers will develop training that uses “serious” computer games designed to replicate a realistic mining environment where mineworkers will be put in dynamic situations to make decisions and see the consequences. Proper training is one of the most fundamental requirements for successful, reliable production. Begin with the crusher’s operation and maintenance manual. Incorporate the manual’s suggested routine maintenance schedule into the maintenance team’s duties. Appoint a “lead person” for each crusher as the go-to for that machine. This person is the historian for the unique operational adjustments the producer has incorporated for raw feed and product requirements. Equipment manufacturers are the final word on any and all issues with their products, if you’re not sure what you’re doing is right, ask them. There are no dumb questions. Eric Marcotte is the Inside Sales Manager of Stedman Machine Company, Aurora, Ind.

About the author:

Eric Marcotte joined Stedman Machine Company and its affiliate Innovative Processing Solutions in 2010. He has a Mining Engineering Degree from the University of Kentucky.