How is a machine operator best protected from an explosion? This is a question that we often come across and we are happy to clarify the concepts and risks to allow you to choose the right product. In the end, it is the machine operator who loses the most if a screen between them and the blast wave is too weak. Malin Påhlsson is our Senior Designer & Compliance Engineer and she is in charge of regulations:
– The safety standards for earth-moving machinery are based on the risks that are general for the vast majority of machines. Risks of thrown objects and explosions are not included in the general risks that exist, but it is up to the employer to identify and take measures based on the risk assessment, which must be done before work begins. The responsibility to prevent the catastrophic consequences that an accident can have on the operator always lies with the employer.
”A machine is not supposed to be close to explosive substances”
– Actually, explosive substances are not supposed to come near a machine, but the reality is different. When machines handle stone masses, after a blasting has been carried out, undetonated explosives may lie hidden and detonate because of the friction in the machine bucket. If the operator is unlucky, the bucket forces the rock straight towards the cab. The blast wave created by the explosive force can hurl both smaller rocks straight through a grille and through the screen behind it, as well as larger rocks of a few hundred kilograms right at the operator.
What is required of screen, frame and fittings in order to protect the operator in such a situation?
– The blast wave – apart from the first one that wants to push the protection into the cab – creates negative suction afterwards, where the protection with which the machine is equipped will be worn out by the machine. In other words, the fastenings in the cab are put to severe tests. It is also the reason why the entire protection is tested in a cab-like fixture and is evaluated according to the blast test standard adopted for screen solutions.
– The safety standards for operator protection require the protection to be tested against a measurable force and marked with the International Standards and safety levels that correspond to the protection. Which is also why we at Hammerglass label our frontal protection systems with these standards. We do this to make it easier for operators, safety representatives and employers to know that the measures we have taken comply with all existing directives and legal requirements.
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