The question of how much safety is worth is a popular trajectory in mine sites. Rachel Fraser from Nivek Industries goes in to the field to find out more.
Nivek Industries sales and marketing manager Rachel Fraser has found that the Tracked Elevating Device, or TED, is lifting morale, efficiency and quality of life for fitters in mines all over the country.
Fraser spoke to a contract worker who highlighted TED’s value in these areas during a site visit in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.
The contract employee, who regularly works on dozer, haul truck and grader maintenance and repairs across five pits in the region, describes TED as an extraordinary safety innovation.
In addition to saving lives, TED adds to the quality of life by making jobs easier and preventing workers from feeling sore and exhausted at day’s end.
TED is an Australian-made remote-controlled, all-terrain, battery powered, hydraulic belly plate jack that has developed into a lifesaving multi-purpose tool since its inception in 2011. It removes the need for workers to place themselves under suspended loads. This has been achieved through the continual development of new smart attachments.
The technology is used to take the weight out of a myriad of heavy, dangerous maintenance jobs via a wireless remote control. This way, fitters are removed from the line of fire during the dangerous lift and lower phase of component removal and replacement.
Prior to having TED, the Hunter Valley fitter removed belly plates using cummalongs. He also used a component handling trolley to accomplish the task, but points to his lack of control over them. In fact, he says removing belly plates at a mine site never felt “right” or “safe”.
“I don’t do steer cylinders without TED. With TED, you don’t have to put your hands in so many dangerous places, and it saves your back a lot more as well,” the fitter says.
“When I came in today, I wasn’t sure if we had a hire TED turning up. If I didn’t have TED for this dozer today, I just wouldn’t be motivated. And you see that on the sites that don’t have a TED. A dozer comes in and people don’t want to get into it.
“And that’s when they start cutting corners. When you’re in a pit that doesn’t have one, you think that TED’s such a reward – I’m stoked when I’m back at a pit that has one.”
Removing belly plates with TED can save up to three hours. Fitters don’t need to find air lines and set up, and neither do they need to push, pull or carry heavy loads in and around the workshop and the field.
The total lifting capacity of TED is engineered at a safe working load (SWL) of 800 kilograms, and is complemented with a maximum lifting height of 1170 millimetres.
TED has several built-in safety features, including a deadman switch, forcing the operator to physically engage before every operation to avoid any accidental operational signals; load lock valves to prevent unplanned movements; and strobe and alarm to give effective visual and auditory alerts when TED is operating.
It also boasts 14 attachments that increase the versatility of the device, such as a track roller carrier, recently upgraded cutting edge tool, steer cylinder cradle, stand locating tool and TED slope jig.
“The best thing with TED, regardless of where I’m working in the Valley, is you know where it is,” the fitter says. “It’s in its home on all the sites – they’re all the same. Once you’re passed out, you’re ready to go.”
With nearly 200 TEDs at work and six distributors internationally, Nivek Industries is committed to constant product development on the TED system and will release other safety tooling in the near future.
The article also appears in the Apr-Jun edition of Safe to Work.