A remote pressure release system that allows the operator to attach or remove a pressurised grease gun without the risk of an injection injury, which causes severe trauma and can often penetrate protective equipment.
Awarded highly commended at the 2014 Queensland Mining Industry Health & Safety Conference.
In January 2013 a serviceperson at a Central Queensland mine sustained a serious grease injection injury while greasing the blade assembly on a dozer. The line had blocked, causing the grease gun to become stuck on the grease nipple and the grease gun hose to pressurise. When he wriggled the line to try to pull the gun off the nipple, the nipple sheared off and grease shot up under pressure, dislodging his safety glasses and hard hat, and striking him near his right eye. This injury required emergency medical treatment and demonstrated that even standard PPE cannot always prevent grease injection injuries.
Australian Diversified Engineering Pty Ltd (ADE) was approached by DownerEDI Mining to come up with a solution for this problem. The challenge was to find a simple, cost-effective solution that would not create more work for the serviceman, but make it as fast and easy as possible to eliminate the hazard of a pressure build-up.
The Solution - ADE's remote grease pressure release system
The use of PPE was not effective, as this had failed to protect the mining serviceperson from injury. Similarly, the process of removing the hose from the nipple was intrinsically flawed, as were administrative controls were not going to help.
Our solution cleverly focuses on the elimination of the hazard, i.e. to safely release the pressure in the hose prior to detachment, rather than protection. The Remote Grease Pressure Release System utilises a simple garage-door-style remote control that can safely release the pressure in a blocked hose, and is suitable for both hydraulically and pneumatically operated grease systems.
A single button on the remote will turn the system on, with lights in the cabinet activating. The serviceperson can then attach or remove the grease gun without the risk of releasing high-pressure grease.
Features & Benefits
The obvious primary benefit is the virtual elimination of risk of harm to service personnel undertaking greasing activities with both high-pressure and high-flow hydraulic fluids. Feedback from service personnel has been that the Remote Grease Pressure Release System is being used approximately once per week to aid in the removal of the grease gun after it becomes struck on a nipple. This means that at least one potential injury a week has been avoided through installation of the system.
There is also an environmental benefit: when the pressure is released from the system, the grease goes back into the tank, avoiding any spillage of grease onto the ground.