Workplace Health and Safety Queensland recently issued a safety alert highlighting the risk of failure of concrete pump delivery lines including failures of end fittings.
Businesses that fit end fittings to concrete delivery hoses and pipes should follow and document sound engineering practices and provide information on inspection methods to customers.
Concrete pump owners should obtain information from suppliers of pipes and hoses on the manufacturing methods used and appropriate inspection methods.
The alert was issued following a number of incidents in Queensland in which delivery lines have failed and sprayed concrete under pressure.
The alert recommended a number of required actions, and concrete pump owners need to ensure that the pressure rating of the concrete pump does not exceed that of the pipeline.
For example, if a pump is rated at 85 Bar concrete pressure then it is unacceptable for a steel pipeline to be replaced with a rubber hose with a maximum rating of 45 Bar. Owners must also take reasonable steps to ensure that a quality assurance program is followed while attaching the end fittings so that failure of the end fittings is avoided. It is generally easier to obtain certification from a local supplier when purchasing equipment.
If a concrete pump owner imports components from overseas, it may be more difficult to obtain trustworthy information on the manufacturing process. This is the case when the overseas supplier is unknown or there is no manufacturer’s mark.
The alert said unscrupulous manufacturers have also been known to copy manufacturers’ names and trademarks, so marking of products alone may not provide adequate evidence that the product is fit for purpose.
A concrete pump owner who imports equipment from overseas takes on the duties of an importer under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). The importer must carry out, or arrange to have carried out, any calculations, analysis, testing, or examination of the equipment to control safety risks.
Furthermore, suppliers should also provide documented instructions on the operating parameters of the product along with inspection methods to be used.
If the supplier attaches end fittings to pipes or hoses, the supplier takes on the duties for manufacturers under the WHS Act in addition to those duties for suppliers.
Owners and operators of concrete pumping equipment also need to ensure ongoing inspection of pipes and hoses is carried out. Inspection methods and intervals for measuring pipe thickness are outlined in the Concrete Pumping Code of Practice 2019.
However, in addition, an inspection program should be applied to end fittings on rubber hoses and flanges on steel pipes.