Having the correct safety equipment is essential as mentioned in the previous section. Further to this; and depending on the situation or the job which is being carried out by you, it may be necessary to check a few items before proceeding with the actual job. For your personal safety, complete a site
assessment prior to beginning any tasks. Please see our compact site checklist.
Position of the Vehicle
Always try to position the vehicle as close as practical to the work-site, without interfering with other people or their workplaces. If in doubt, ASK!
Always try and position your vehicle so that when the doors open they provide shade and protection from direct sunlight.
In windy, dry and dusty conditions (hot or Cold) try and use the vehicle to protect you and the job you are working on from these negative elements.
When entering or working on-site, observe all safety regulations, both inside of buildings and outside on construction sites. This would include all speed limits and road signs etc. If in doubt or an unfamiliar site, it would pay to call in at the office or seek directions from the appropriate persons.
Safety at the Machine
In all instances avoid working on
a machine whilst it is in operation, or the motor is running. It may be necessary for the operator to work his controls to correctly diagnose a fault or leak. Once satisfied, the operator should turn everything OFF and vacate the machine or vehicle whilst you are working. Many injuries and fatalities
have occurred because of a misunderstanding.
Never start a machine before you are 100% sure of how to turn it off. Anything could happen. An arm could drop and injure somebody or worse. Also once you start the machine, it doesn’t take long to pump all the oil out of a blown hose. Then you’ve got all sorts of dramas.
Some machines that you will work on, predominantly earth moving machines, may have a pressurized hydraulic
tank. If so, your initial procedure before undoing hose fittings will be to release the tank pressure. Usually the operator is aware of the procedure. However if in doubt, find out before proceeding. As well as being embarrassing, it can be a dangerous situation undoing a pressurized fitting.
Feeling for a Leak
When diagnosing and more specifically looking for a leak in a hose, it may become difficult in locating because of the different circumstances surrounding the position of the hose. If so, resist using your hand to feel for a fault on the hose, it can cause you injury which in turn could result in having you laid off work and hence, no income.
Cracking a Hose
At the point of actually starting to undo the hose fitting or “cracking” the hose, it is imperative that you are confident that it is not going to cause a hazardous situation to you, or cause damage to the machine or surrounding fixtures etc.
- If in doubt check with a person who does know before proceeding.
- Fatalities have occurred due to the fact that this hasbeen overlooked.
- In some cases it may be necessary to remove several
hoses or hose fittings, and because these hoses are not at fault, they may still be holding pressure in which case you may have to chock or secure a
certain part or parts of a machine before proceeding.
- Please ensure that all hoses that have been disconnected are free from any blockages and or check valves.
- Ensure that both ends are free from plugs and caps before cutting, re-ending or shortening.
- Ensure all parts/linkages are secured properly/resting securely on the ground
Leaks and Oil Injection Injuries
Probably the most common injury associated with hydraulic systems is the result of pinhole leaks in hoses. These leaks are difficult to locate.
A person may notice a damp, oily, dirty place near a hydraulic line.Not seeing the leak, the person runs a hand or finger along the line to find it.
When the pinhole is reached, the fluid easily can be injected into the skin as if from a hypodermic syringe. Immediately after the injection, the person experiences only a slight stinging sensation and may not think much about it. Several hours later, however, the wound begins to throb and severe pain
By the time a doctor is seen, it is often too late, and the individual loses a finger or entire arm. Unfortunately, this kind of accident is not
uncommon. To reduce the chances of this type of injury, run a piece of wood or cardboard along the hose (rather than fingers) to detect the leak.
Removing Welded Joints When at any stage you apply heat to a fitting which still has the remains of a hose attached, do it with care and always have a hose tail or fitting secured when applying heat, as it will blow off with a force strong enough to cause injury if struck.
Suction Hose ! Although suction hose is only used at a low or negative pressure and doesn’t appear to create a safety threat, it is the makeup of the hose which can cause serious injury. Suction hose, because of its application, can in some cases collapse which will cause a restriction. To overcome this, two spring steel strands are moulded into the hose. The unsafe condition arises when the hose is cut. The wire strands are exposed and tend to protrude outwards. In all cases the wire is to be made safe by cutting it behind the end of the hose end.
Correct Tools for the Job As well as selecting the correct spanners for a certain size hose tail of swivel nut, or the correct size welding tip, or even the correct jaws for the crimping machine, along with the correct tools comes the associated safety equipment. e.g. Welding:Gloves, Goggles, Boots and Clothes Grinding: Gloves, Safety Spectacles, Boots, Clothes and Hearing Protection Dismantling: Clothes, Boots, Gloves and Safety Spectacles.
Completion of Job Along with checking the job for leaks, and hose positioning, point out if necessary any unsafe condition to the operator. If it’s out of your control to make safe, then as well as telling the operator, you should make a note of it on your docket. Any extra materials, equipment or oil spillage should be removed or cleaned up; or the necessary arrangements made for the removal and clean up. The bottom line is to cover yourself, especially where safety is involved.
Protect your business and that of the remainder of the team by completing the job so that the machine you’ve worked on is safe. E.g., If you haven’t cleaned the dirt out of a hose or if you put dirty oil back in the tank, a number of failures could occur. Make sure that your future work with that customer is safe.