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The mining industry is a high risk one, so it’s important mining companies reduce the risk of incidents and injuries. We are going to take you through some mining equipment safety tips and procedures that should be undertaken at every site. Equipment maintenance safety is a key priority, as malfunctioning machinery is one of the largest hazards within the mining sector.
Reasons to keep mining equipment maintained
There are several important reasons mining equipment maintenance is so important. We have compiled three key reasons why it’s so important for a mine site.
1. Reduces mine site incidents
One way to reduce mining injuries is with scheduled maintenance and repairs. There are major safety issues if faulty equipment is not behaving correctly and putting operators and nearby workers at risk.
2. Improves equipment quality for better efficiency and productivity
With use, wear and tear is bound to happen, and equipment will begin to lose some of its efficiency whilst being operated. This can mostly be remedied with scheduled maintenance, replacing and repairing key components.
3. Saves long-term expenses
Equipment downtime, especially during a mining operation can be costly, and massively so. Whereas with effective maintenance schedules, the risk of machinery breakdowns will be reduced massively, minimising downtime.
General tips on how to maintain mining equipment
A lot of the items on this list are easy enough for any operator to do by themselves. A great way to maintain this schedule is by having a pre-check sheet that the operator needs to sign to prove they’ve done a once-over. This will certify that the equipment is ready to use, and if there is an issue, the mechanic is able to undertake the necessary mining equipment repairs required.
Check and top up fluid levels
Like any piece of machinery, it’ll need fluids to keep it running. Be it oil, coolant, washer fluid, or fuel, it all needs to be regularly checked. It’s a good idea to have operators check all the fluid levels each day before they begin regular work.
Look for rust and general wear and tear
Like anything else with use, vehicles and machinery accumulate wear and tear. Things to keep an eye out for are damage, rust and unusual operation.
Damage is a commonplace thing to machinery, especially in mining operations, it’s just part of the job. It’s important to take note of the damage and assess whether it’s something that will need fixing.
Next is rust, which is especially important for aging equipment. Sometimes the old stuff is just better than the new, we get that. But nothing lasts forever, rust is the antithesis of any mine site equipment.
Last, but not least is how the equipment operates. It could be something internal that will need replacing or mending and not even be noticeable until the machinery is operated. If the operators report any regularities to the equipment, it’s important to take note, they’ll have the experience to know when something is wrong.
Machines with engines need to intake air to run, essentially allowing internal combustion to work, so the engine works. Without clean or filtered air, it suffocates the engine and causes poor performance. Filters are very hard to find in machinery, consult the user manual and it will have a guide on how to locate and replace the filters.
Take a reading of tyre pressure
If the equipment has tyres, they’ll need to be checked regularly. It’s for general safety concerns that the tyres are inflated to the recommended amount indicated in the user manual. We can’t give a number here because the tyre pressures vary massively depending on the vehicle and tyre type.
Excavators and drilling rigs usually run on tracks, and these will need to be inspected. It can be dangerous if damaged tracks come loose on large equipment and could potentially cause injury. Check the tracks for any significant amount of damage that causes the machine to operate incorrectly.
Read the operator manual
Heavy mining equipment will have operator manuals, which will not only show the user how to operate the machine, but how to maintain it correctly. Some may see this as pointless and believe that they know how to check everything on the machine, but they’re all different and have been designed a certain way. The operator’s manual will detail what will need maintenance after a certain amount of running time as well as some common repair work unique to the equipment.
Schedule a regular service by a professional
Not only is it important to ensure operators are doing regular visual inspections and checkups on the machinery, but it’s equally vital to keep a scheduled maintenance appointment for the equipment. Maintenance services ensure a professional has gone through all the important details of the machine, so it’s safer and operates better in the long run.
Keep the machinery clean
We kept this last on the list as it’s not directly about maintenance, but it’s still equally important. Keep the equipment clean. Cleaning equipment is a good way to remove large debris build-ups, which may lead to rust damage.
Pressure cleaner trailers are a great option to clean mining equipment. The high-pressure water is able to blast away any dust, dirt, grime, and debris from the equipment with ease not causing direct damage to hydraulic hoses, paint, or wiring.
Get onto your mining equipment maintenance
This article has outlined a number of key reasons why it’s important to maintain equipment and how to do it. If your equipment is in need of a good clean, drop by us at Mining Technicians group Australia we have high-pressure wash trailers perfect for the job.
MTGA offers more than just pressure washers, we specialise in providing innovative and efficient engineering solutions in the mining industry.