Metal shard projectile from excavator track sprocketMines safety alert no. Newsflash | 12 June 2020 | Version 1
Following an undercarriage track change on an excavator, a metal shard (refer Figure 1) was ejected from the track sprocket. The metal shard travelled 35 meters breaking a side window and entering the cabin of a parked service truck (refer Figure 2).
In this incident, the metal shard ejected in line with the track frame, however, metal shards may be ejected at any angle from the tracks. Whilst no injuries were reported on this occasion, coal mine workers have suffered serious injuries from flying metal shards in cases reported to the Mines Inspectorate. The track sprocket was a refurbished sprocket and not an original OEM sprocket.
How did it happen?
Site Senior Executives should;
- Ensure that OEMs or service providers provide all replacement components that are fit for purpose. This includes confirmation and documentation of component refurbishment processes, quality control checks and engineering certification of components including tracks sprockets and idlers.
- Review risk assessments for track maintenance and consider enforcing a 360-degree exclusion zone around excavators when track maintenance is in progress. In particular, consider the radius of the exclusion zone.
- Ensure that suitable ballistic protective equipment is available to spotters required by maintenance procedures.
- Consult with the OEMs or service providers to ensure that the correct track maintenance procedures are available.
References and further information
Authorised by Peter Newman - Chief Inspector of Coal Mines
Contact: , +61 7 3199 8001 QldMinesInspectorate@rshq.qld.gov.au
Issued by Resources Safety & Health Queensland