Reducing high-pressure injection injuries for miners

Friday, 18 November, 2016 | Supplied by: Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE)

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Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE) has created a grease pressure release device for Downer, reducing the risk of high-pressure injuries from lubricants.

This followed an eye injury that was sustained at the company when the immense pressure from a grease fitting dislodged a service person’s safety glasses and hard hat.

On a mine site, to keep the fleet running, service vehicles provide lubricants to all mobile equipment. One of the lubricants, grease, can be supplied at very high pressure, up to 5000 psi.

A high-pressure injection injury often results in a serious medical emergency and can be common on mining sites, sometimes resulting in the amputation of limbs.

Downer viewed this as a major risk for the company and consequently asked ADE for assistance in eliminating the hazard without adding any additional steps to the greasing task.

To design an effective solution, ADE researched all aspects of the task at hand, including understanding the actions of the workers, the existing safety controls and the greasing hardware.

The research revealed the usual protective equipment was not protecting the workers and the standard process of removing the hose from a greasing nipple in the case of a blockage was intrinsically flawed and dangerous.

The device provided by ADE is easy to use and removes the pressure from the hose, therefore eliminating the hazard. Its design means it can be retrofitted to existing systems and is compatible with most industry-standard components. It is also remote-operated using a garage door-style remote, with a green lamp indicating when the system is active.

Since completion, Downer has installed the remote grease pressure release system in its entire fleet of service vehicles.

The positive impact of the device was recognised by the Queensland Mining Health and Safety Conference when the potentially lifesaving invention was highly commended at the conference’s Innovation Awards.

Downer’s commitment to providing zero harm in the mining industry is reflected in the company’s decision to donate its royalties from the sales of each system to A Miner’s Legacy, to help the foundation continue to spread the word that there is nothing more important than going home unharmed to loved ones at the end of a shift.

Image credit: © Jacobs

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