BHP delivers safer tyre handling system to Saraji

Credit: BHP Billiton

Credit: BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA) Saraji coal mine in Central Queensland has made a commitment to challenge its existing mindset around tyre handlers.

Tyre fitters are exposed to many incidents, injuries and fatalities when handling heavy vehicle earth moving tyres.

With tyre assemblies weighing up to 15 tonnes, the Saraji team set out to investigate a range of options and consulted the market when it found Hedweld’s TH 15000 tyre handler.

The TH 15000 tyre handler removes tyre fitters from the direct line of fire and safely secures the tyre in place during changes.

The device also features a jib arm to support the weight of the rattle gun required to remove the wheel nuts.

“A key part of this project was changing our way of thinking around tyre handling. We spent a lot of time engaging our teams and looking for opportunities to increase not only the safety and productivity of our processes, but also the culture that surrounds these types of activities,” Jarrod Layton, superintendent mods and ops projects in the Saraji engineering team, said.

Using Bluetooth technology, the device is remote controlled to give the operator improved visibility when aligning the device with the tyre and removes the need for any manual handling of the product.

The device also allows the workshop to make better use of all its bays as well as reduces the number of people required for tyre handling.

“As the size of mining equipment grows, traditional methods for handling tyres becomes more hazardous and time consuming,” said Layton.

“Traditionally, tyres are moved by equipment such as loaders and forklifts, and requires at least two fitters to operate. These items however, have limitations due to their size, manoeuvrability and safety.”

Layton said that while the safety and productivity benefits were clear, the cultural change had also been fantastic to see.

“We see that we’re willing to invest and try new equipment and train them in order to deliver safer results,” Layton concluded.