Article Update 18th September 2015: The DMP have now released their guidelines, which can be viewed and downloaded from their website.VIEW GUIDELINES
The Department of Mines and Petroleum are set to release a new set of guidelines regarding safety when working with off-road tyres for earthmoving machinery.
After reviewing the draft guidelines for the DMP, Asset Management Engineers have identified some critical aspects to be considered in managing your risk responsibilities. These responsibilities apply to rubber tyred earthmoving machinery, as well as associated equipment often found in and around the tyre bay workshop such as cranes, vehicle hoists, air receivers and pressure vessels to name a few.
Earthmoving Machinery: Management Procedures and Guidelines
Rubber tyred earthmoving machinery is potentially dangerous due to its size, mass, magnitude of air or gas pressure and presence of combustible materials. An uncontrolled release of this stored energy can have serious, even fatal, consequences.
The DMP is urging operators to adopt a risk management approach to this equipment, developing a documented tyre management plan specific to their site considering three major elements:
- Fit-for purpose equipment
- Competent people
- Safe systems of work
Something to consider in your on-site guidelines are the hazards involved with associated plant and equipment. For example, your on-site guidelines should cover hazards involved with compressed air systems used to inflate tyres on site. It is suggested you develop an air hose specification stating the acceptable air hoses and fittings to be used.
What to consider in your guidelines
Routine Visual Inspections
A key step within your procedures to improve the safety and compliance of this equipment is routine visual inspection incorporated into regular maintenance. To do so effectively and accurately, it is often necessary to break the item of plant down into parts.
Tyres – visually inspected and checked.
Rims – inspected both visually and through non-destructive testing by a qualified inspector.
Ball Studs – visually inspected with routine ultrasonic testing performed by a qualified inspector.
Tyre Handling attachments – inspected both visually and through non-destructive testing by a qualified inspector.
Tyre cages – visually inspected and checked.
Whilst many would claim to be competent in visual inspections and risk assessments, often equipment requires particular consideration and further regular inspection by a competent, experienced and independent third party. In particular, in performing more complex inspections like Non-Destructive Testing, a qualified inspector is always recommended.
Statutory Inspection for associated equipment
Whilst statutory inspection may not be mandatory on rubber tyred earthmoving machinery, the statutory inspection of associated classified plant is. There are several items of classified plant that you may be using as part of your on-site tyre handling processes, often found in and around site workshops. This includes:
- Pressure Vessels
- Vehicle Hoists
- Mobile Cranes
- Overhead Cranes
- Vehicle Loading Cranes
- Air Receivers
- Air/Oil Separators
Compressors, pressure vessels, air hoses and fittings should all be regularly inspected to assist with their ongoing integrity and safety. It is also recommended that you perform ultrasonic sound leak tests on your steel reticulated compressed air lines around the workshop to identify any leaks before they create any issues. This can reduce unwanted additional duty cycles on your compressor, reduce power costs and increase the life of your compressor.
Ensure all operators are qualified and trained in the use of their machinery. Whilst this may seem obvious; effective and comprehensive training is essential in the minimisation of risk on site, including making the operator aware of any hazards they could be exposed to as part of a job. This should be supported by regular risk assessments on all of your machinery as well as planned regular maintenance.
Planning for the Unplanned
The guideline also highlights the hazards associated with performing maintenance in the field following unplanned breakdowns to machinery. If your site is experiencing regular unplanned breakdowns to machinery you should consider a maintenance audit to determine whether or not your maintenance team is well equipped and focusing its energy in the right places to reduce breakdowns, increase safety, reduce maintenance costs and increase site productivity.
This latest guideline by the Department of Mines and Petroleum is a good reminder for us all to consider if we are doing all we can to assist tyre safety on site. There is a lot to take into consideration when ensuring the compliance and safety of tyres, rims, tyre handling equipment, machinery and compressed air systems and identifying the hazards associated with each of them. Ensuring you have guidelines in place and that this information is readily available with all personnel trained appropriately, will assist you in becoming compliant with guidelines, minimising risk and preventing unplanned mishaps to encourage safety on site.
If you require any clarification of your responsibilities or would like assistance with inspections, non-destructive testing, the creation of procedures or specifications, maintenance audits or machinery risk assessments then please contact AME. One of our experienced and knowledgeable team members will be available to discuss your requirements and advise you further.Contact Us