How to manage TLB equipment safety
TLBs are mid-sized construction loaders and excavators. Generally, the back hoe is used for crowding and digging. General TLB risk assessment points include;
Cabin secure against falling debris
Cabin secure against rolling
Inspected by an independent third party
Maintenance passed and recorded
Inspected monthly by supervisor
Inspected daily by operator
Reflectors and strips fitted
Mechanically in working order
Electrical working order
Mirrors side and rear clean
Revolving orange strobe light on canopy
Reverse buzzer and lights working
Safety lever or features tested
Load chart available
Exhaust emissions clean
Operator with relevant license
Operator PPE: hard hat, visible vest, safety shoes, respirator
Applications relevant to design
Work base secure
Clear of power lines and power extensions
Clear of steep inclines or holes
Clear of water or mud pools
Clear of height restrictions
Clear of unsound surfaces
Clear of public roads.
Oscillating or ‘boating’ at road speed presents serious road safety concerns. TLBs may be banned from driving on public roads, and being confined to low-bed trucks, as in the European Union and USA.
Base slips and edge collapse risks
TLB loss incidents and injuries often involve experienced operators, duie to over-confidence and lack of training on responding to emergency situations. Simulator training could overcome this problem, but it is expensive.
Working too close to an edge, on steep or uneven grades, or on unstable bases, trigger many incidents.
High loading and some swing moves change the centre of gravity. Slow, steady movement is the safest way to maintain control. Keep loads close to the ground and raise it only near the tipping point.
Manufacturers advise operators to:
• engage the parking brake
• check controls for free movement
• adjust seat to reach all controls
• fasten seat belt or harness
• remain seated in the event of rollover
• for roading, lock brake pedals together
• for roading, lock boom and swing
• survey terrain, people and vehicles before moving
• sound horn before moving
• for digging, check control pattern selection
• check backup (reverse) alarm
• for work, apply stabilisers to full width
• roll the bucket over to dig in cutters and sill plate
• avoid working while tires bounce the machine.
Avoid machine runaway;
• Do not start engine by shorting across starter terminals
• Never start engine while standing on the ground
• Start engine only from operator’s seat with transmission in neutral and park brake engaged.
Avoid rollaway incidients;
• Secure machine before leaving operator’s seat
• Do not mount or stop a moving machine
• Park on level ground
• Engage park brake
• Lower all equipment to ground
• Stop the engine
• Block the wheels if you park on a grade and position machine to prevent rolling.
Before digging, check location of electrical cables, gas lines, water and sewer lines.
Before changing seats to operate the backhoe, engage park brakel, lower loader bucket to the ground.
After changing positions to the rear backhoe seat, lower stabilizers to the ground, lift rear tires off the ground so as to remove weight from the tires. Or, from the loader operator seat, raise loader bucket and stabilisers, drive machine forward to change position, and secure machine after each move.
Do not dig under stabilisers. Stabilisers must be set on firm surfaces. Be alert to possible machine movement when raising stabilisers and loader bucket. Avoid swinging bucket to the downhill side of the machine when digging on a slope.
Wear eye protection, head protection, hearing protection. Keep other people off and away from the machine.
SA legislation does not specify TLB models or vintage years, but focus on standard safety features and risk assessment.
African legislation relelvant to TLBs
SA Driven Machinery Regulations of 1988
SA OHS Act Construction Regulation 21; construction vehicles and mobile plant
SA Construction Regulation 21, under the OHS Act:
21 (1) A contractor shall ensure that all construction vehicles and mobile plant:
(a) are of an acceptable design and construction
(b) are maintained in a good working order
(c) are used in accordance with their design and the intention for which they were designed, having due regard to safety and health
(d) are operated by workers who (i) have received appropriate training and been certified competent and been authorised to operate such machinery, and (ii) are physically and psychologically fit to operate such construction vehicles and mobile plant by being in possession of a medical certificate of fitness
(e) have safe and suitable means of access
(f) are properly organised and controlled in any work situation by providing adequate signalling or other control arrangements to guard against the dangers relating to the movement of vehicles and plant, in order to ensure their continued safe operation
(g) are prevented from falling into excavations, water or any other area lower than the working surface by installing adequate edge protection, which may include guardrails and crash barriers
(h) where appropriate, are fitted with structures designed to protect the operator from falling material or from being crushed should the vehicle or mobile plant overturn
(i) are equipped with an electrically operated acoustic signalling device and a reversing alarm; and
(j) are on a daily basis inspected prior to use, by a competent person who has been appointed in writing and the findings of such inspection is recorded in a register.
Mobile earth moving machine are not classified as lifting equipment.
Swaziland OSH Act does not mention TLB requirements.
Sources; Buildsafe SA safety alert, April 2012. Forconstructionpros.com. Allmand.com.
Latest posts by Edmond Furter (see all)
- A slip incident could expose workplace culture failure - May 22, 2013
- SA health and safety law update; May 21 - May 20, 2013
- Managers need driver retraining, says MBA - May 20, 2013