Excavator operative was working a blast pile, creating a bench and rock trap as required. Whilst carrying out this task, the operator decided to manoeuvre a large rock out of the way, which unfortunately naturally split. The top section of rock slid across the rock trap and hit the access platform of the Hitachi 530. The impact of this deformed the access system and the steps proximity switch had also been broken. This disabled the machine’s ability to move from a potentially dangerous situation, e.g., further rock fall.
This occurrence has demonstrated the potential for an operator to not be able to track out of harm’s way if such a system (access step proximity switch) is broken or breached. Currently they would rely solely on breaking cab glass and escaping, which could be deemed more hazardous outside of the machine’s falling object protection (structure).
We wanted to identify a solution to the above, so that an operative can remove himself from a dangerous area without leaving the machine. Between ourselves and the excavator manufacturers, we have developed and installed an emergency bypass switch which enables us to do just this.
This entry relates to that of “The fatal 6” – Fatal 5 (Struck by moving or falling object).
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