Improving dozer safety in America

November 28, 2017

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A coal mine site in America has employed RCT’s Smart Technology in order to adhere to Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) regulations.

The regulations highlighted the need to further safeguard dozer operators by removing them from the cab of the machine that was responsible for pushing residual coal material into a tailings pond.

The site’s mine maintenance supervisor acknowledged that the coal industry can be dangerous business.

“The introduction of MSHA’s regulation would enhance operator safety in the coal industry across the country. Anytime you can take the human factor out of a dangerous situation is a good thing,” he said.

RCT’s ControlMaster® Line-of-Sight (LOS) dozer package answered the client’s direct needs; ensuring the site adhered to the regulation.

However, this wasn’t a standard installation as the system would have to be adapted to fit the site’s electric Caterpillar D7E.

“This model of dozer has virtually no hydraulics and carries upwards of 400 volts of electricity,” said RCT’s USA Service Manager, Thomas Laverty who completed the install.

“This particular model of dozer was unlike anything RCT had fitted previously,” he added.

As a result RCT Custom delivered this project.  The system was installed within five days and on the sixth day the dozer was in operation.

Operators were more than impressed with the system which took them from the uncomfortable seat inside the cab of the dozer, to remoting the machine from a safe distance.

One of the operators described sitting inside a dozer for the duration of a shift as an uncomfortable experience.

“I’ve gone from sitting in a piece of equipment that is travelling over uneven rocks and material for up to 10 hours a day to remoting the dozer from a distance and now I can’t feel a thing,” he said.

Not only does the LOS solution create a more comfortable working environment for the operator but it has proven to be a time saver at shift changes.

“Switching operators during a shift change used to be quite time consuming, but now there’s no need to stop the dozer for long during handover,” he added.

“The LOS reduces changeover time significantly as no one physically has to enter the dozer and I can explain what I’ve been doing and where I’m up to, while I continue to operate it.”

Of course, the biggest benefit for the operators on site was that the system not only improved safety but it now met MSHA standards.

“This way I can run the dozer and do the job and be completely away from the dozer and potential danger,” he said.

The mine maintenance supervisor stated “the next generation was going to love it. It’s just going to make the job much safer.”