On guard with ESS

ESS has updated its EZI-GUARD safety system with a few tweaks over the past year. Jeremy Andeway tells Safe to Work about the upgrades.

ESS (Engineering Services and Supplies) is committed to reducing the abundance of safety risks around conveyor systems.

Conveyors have several dangerous elements, especially when unguarded, and may result in injury or even death if proper safety protocols are not followed.

ESS provides onsite training to make sure workers stay safe while working near conveyor belts at mine sites.

“A lot of things can happen with a moving conveyor,” ESS Goldfields branch manager Jeremy Andeway tells Safe to Work. “You’ve got crushing injuries and deaths — I’ve seen a lot of injuries on site.”

“For example, there are people out there that will try to get a roller to move if there’s a bit of build up by using a crowbar to clean the dirt off. The crowbar can get caught and pull the person’s arm through or worse.”

Andeway has been working at ESS for eight years and oversees company operations in the Western Australian mining region.

He has been involved with the development of ESS’s popular safety-focused product, EZI-GUARD, an ‘off-the-shelf’ modular guarding system that is placed around conveyors for increased protection.

EZI-GUARD’s design requires little to no welding to install, and uses standard hand tools and a drill, making assembly of the system straightforward.

Once the framework is assembled, the guard panels can be attached and detached in just a few seconds. ESS also manufactures customised guard panels for closure around conflicting equipment or interfering structures.

“It’s very easy to install,” says Andeway. “Recently in Kalgoorlie, 55m of safety guarding was installed in under 24 hours.”

The EZI-GUARD system has been engineered to meet the guard design requirements of AS 4024.3610:2015 Safety of Machinery – Conveyors and ISO 14120-2015 Safety of Machinery.

It is also flexible enough to extend beyond conveyor systems and can be used for other applications such as heavy earthmoving equipment, workshop machinery, and anywhere there is a potential to fall from heights. If restricted access is required, EZI-GUARD can cover it.

ESS continues to develop EZI-GUARD into a safer system for mining users.

In February 2018, ESS worked collaboratively with a major Kalgoorlie client, and the existing EZI-GUARD system was upgraded to include a locking mechanism for the connection of mounting brackets.

The new locking mechanism, which gave EZI-GUARD a cast screw insert attached to a wire lanyard, replaced a retainer-style system.

This lanyard is used to avoid bolts from dropping and potentially getting lost, further improving efficiency and safety.

“Normally, if you’re working at heights and drop the bolt when you take it out, you could have an incident or near miss to anyone working below,” says Andeway.

“The new system now connects bolts to the lanyard, so once you undo them, instead of falling down, they just hang there. It’s a big gain for safety.”

ESS tailors the design of each EZI-GUARD system to the needs of the site in question. The patterned slot openings on the guarding panels can be customised depending on the airflow and visibility requirements, while still ensuring the hazard is guarded safely as per AS 4024.3610:2015.

EZI-GUARD’s colours can also be customised. The guards come powder coated in black or safety yellow as standard, but colours can be specified at the request of clients.

The guards are available in several materials, including aluminium, 304 stainless steel and mild steel (galvanised). Aluminium is the most popular choice of clients; being the lightest and most corrosion resistant, it can be manoeuvred easily while still safely guarding hazardous areas.

The aluminium guards and 316 stainless steel supporting structure is particularly well suited to mine sites near hypersaline water bodies that lead to corrosion.

Some Western Australian mine sites, in particular, face high levels of salinity, something ESS takes into account when assessing mine sites.

“We look at the application in question, the surroundings, and the water quality,” says Andeway. “As soon as you get to a mine site you’ll know if it’s got good, clean water. Some mines have stalactites with salt crystals, which is a typical sign of hypersaline water.”

“On one of the sites that we work on in Kalgoorlie that has hypersaline water, we decided to use 316 stainless steel mounts brackets and supports and aluminium powder coated guards due to the potential corrosion factors.”

This article appears in the Oct-Dec 2018 Safe to Work magazine.

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