Hard rock quarry unearths award winner

This month we feature Hy-Tec Industries, in our profile series of the 2016 SafeWork Awards winners. Hy-Tec’s Austen Quarry entry received the ‘Best Solution to an Identified Workplace Health and Safety Issue’ award.

Hy-Tec supplies premixed concrete, aggregates and sands to all sectors of the construction industry. It has a hard rock quarry, Austen Quarry, located at Hartley in the Blue Mountains. Heavy machinery, including a large PC850 excavator, plays a crucial part in the day-to-day operations of the quarry.

In a truly collaborative effort, Hy-Tec engineers, safety officers and workers developed the Excavator Bucket Tooth Exchanger to directly address the risk of musculoskeletal and pinch-point injuries faced by workers while changing the PC850 excavator bucket teeth each week. Like a dentist fitting enormous veneers, the workers at Austen Quarry were manually removing the old teeth, weighing 10kg each, and then attaching five new teeth, each weighing 29 kg, to the bucket.

The Excavator Bucket Tooth Exchanger has eliminated the need for workers to manually handle the heavy bucket teeth in order to transport them from the delivery box to the excavator. A hydraulic arm now does the heavy lifting to load the teeth into the attached tray. A forklift moves the device into position and the excavator bucket slots straight in.

Safety has been dramatically improved as workers are no longer placed in the potentially dangerous situation of having their arm or hand crushed while supporting the teeth. An additional benefit of the Exchanger has been the decreased time required to change the teeth, resulting in improved operational efficiencies.

Carolyn Fisher, HSE Manager at Hy-Tec Industries commented that “The cost to manufacture the Exchanger was just over $1,000. This is a minimal investment compared to the potential cost of rehabilitating an injured worker with a broken arm or hand. The Exchanger has truly been an innovative way to improve workplace safety, foster teamwork and boost productivity – it’s a win for everyone.”

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