Laura Rourke, Tigercat‘s safety manager talks about how to stay safe when working under or around hydraulically powered machinery.
Never work under a cab without ensuring that it is properly braced with the cab tilt safety bar, or opened fully over centre.
Hydraulically powered equipment has many benefits, but also some significant inherent risks. Unintended and unanticipated movements of machine parts can cause people working on or around machines to be injured or killed.
Working under suspended loads is very dangerous. Adjusting pressures, disconnecting hydraulic hoses, or the failure of a component in the hydraulic system could cause a boom, blade or attachment to suddenly drop. Due to these risks, many countries have passed laws against working under suspended loads. Tigercat has designed several tools to assist workers when servicing machines to prevent this type of accident from happening. These tools, components or structures are always painted red.
A cylinder lock acts as a block, preventing movement of the cylinder and the boom – or whatever component the cylinder is controlling – in the event of a failure in the hydraulic system.
Cab tilt safety bar
Many of the operator’s cabs on machines like skidders and loaders tilt – either for transport or to access valves and other components located underneath the cab. Some product groups like skidders, forwarders, loaders and loggers are equipped with cabs that tilt over centre. It is critical to ensure that the machine is parked on level ground and that the cab has tilted over centre before working in the area underneath the cab. Conversely, the new TCi 920 dozer does not tilt over centre and thus requires the cab tilt safety bar to secure the cab for service work underneath.
Tigercat machines come equipped with appropriate safety equipment. Ensure that it is stored in
the correct location and that all crew members understand how, when, where and why to use it.
Tigercat material processing machines like the 6900 grinder use safety pins that are inserted under raised elements like the hog box to prevent the components from dropping while workers are performing service underneath.
Tilt frame lock
Tigercat harvesting heads have two locking points to prevent unintended movement. The tilt frame lock bolts can be installed one of two ways. In the upright position, the tilt frame is locked to allow for lubrication and service. In the down position, it allows for access to the hydraulic control valves and components that are located at the back of the head.
In addition to lifting, many Tigercat machines articulate for steering. Tigercat provides an articulation lock to prevent the machine from articulating, safeguarding work around the centre joint. Additionally, the articulation lock also prevents unintended movement during transport.
The centre joint articulation lock prevents the machine from steering. It should always be used when working in the vicinity of the centre joint or transporting a machine.
Employers should ensure that company safety programs include training on how to service equipment safely.
Crew members should know the steps they must take to ensure the equipment is safe before servicing. Always refer to the Operator’s Manual.
Never stand under an object or suspended load that is only supported by the machine’s hydraulic system.
Be aware of machine pinch points. No one should ever place themselves within the range of motion of the working parts of a machine without first taking steps to prevent unintended movement.
Engine enclosure roofs, access hatches, swing-out doors and tilting cabs should always be in the fully open or over centre position. If equipped with blocking safety equipment, it should be securely in place before performing work.
Booms, cranes and blades should be supported with commercial grade, rated jack stands if they must be in an elevated position for service.
Always lower booms and cranes so that the weight of the boom and attachment is resting on the ground and the boom or crane is properly braced. Never depend on the harvesting head attachment to support the boom or crane unless the frame locking bolt is installed.
Ensure that everyone understands how to properly use the red safeguards and lockout devices that come with the machines.
If we all take a moment to think through how to perform work in a safe way, we can help prevent accidents and get home to our families at the end of the day.
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