A concrete pump operator in Queensland recently sustained serious injuries when his arm was caught in moving parts within the receiving hopper of a concrete pump.
Early investigations indicate the worker was in the process of cleaning inside the concrete pump hopper when a moving component activated and seriously injured his arm.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said that cleaning out concrete pumping equipment including the hopper can be a highly hazardous operation.
Entanglement, crushing and amputation hazards exist in a concrete hopper and pumping device of the concrete pump.
Workers who stand in or place parts of their body in hoppers are at risk of serious injury and should avoid placing any part of their body within the hopper.
A risk assessment should be performed and documented so that adequate controls are implemented to control the risks associated with cleaning the hopper.
This should be discussed by both the PCBU and the concrete pump operator. Safe work procedures and control measures are to be communicated to the workers involved before the commencement of work.
The PCBU, including the concrete pump manufacturer, should also apply adequate engineering controls to minimise risk.
This includes a grate on the hopper to prevent a person from making contact with agitator mechanisms, valve gears (“S – tube” or “rock valve”) and other dangerous moving parts inside the hopper.
In terms of hopper grate design:
Considerations to minimise risk when cleaning concrete pumping equipment include:
Each year there are on average 13 accepted workers’ compensation claims involving a worker being hit by a moving object related to a pump or compressor, and of these claims, 68 per cent result in a serious injury with 5 days or more off work.
Since 1 July 2013, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has been notified of 55 events relating to persons injured or at risk of serious injury by a concrete pump or concrete pump hopper.
This has resulted in Workplace Health and Safety Queensland issuing 70 statutory notices, relating to risk management around being injured or preventing injury by a concrete pump or concrete pump hopper.