Boosting safety on your next auger boring job
Anytime individuals are working around large equipment like auger boring machines — no matter the industry — there is always a risk for injury. Despite the best efforts of crews and contractors to instill a culture of safety, accidents can happen. There are, however, some safety precautions contractors and operators can take to minimize hazards on the job site.
Tip 1: Knowledge is power.
Knowledge of the equipment, proper setup and operating best practices are key in ensuring a safe project site. General safety trainers are great, but finding an instructor who specializes in auger boring is the most effective way to train your employees. Industry experts are better able to explain how specific elements of boring apply to each individual role on the jobsite.
Tip 2: Make it a habit.
Teaching proper auger boring safety is a process that requires great patience. You have to reinforce an idea or behavior for six weeks before it becomes habit. It’s not enough just to remind employees about safety practices. Make it a companywide policy to comply with safety procedures and enforce consequences for those who do not follow the rules.
Tip 3: Do it right. Every time.
All the safety training in the world doesn’t matter if protocol isn’t followed on every job site, every time. Of all the risks associated with auger boring, machine rollovers are one of the most hazardous.
Rollovers occur largely due to the torque created by an auger boring unit. Actions such as pre-boring and using the unit without attached casings can significantly increase the likelihood of rollovers. Establishing a safe, well-supported pit can also be a significant difference-maker in enhancing safety. When setting up a bore pit, you need a pit bottom that will hold the machine for the duration of the job. If it’s a month, a concrete base may be necessary.
Tip 4: Use only reliable, well-maintained machines.
Auger boring manufacturers are dedicated to improving safety with advanced machine design. Over the years, significant improvements to the auger boring machine help minimize chances of rollover. One major improvement is the operator presence system that requires the operator to keep a hand on the clutch control. Once released, the machine will stop. This means the operator cannot walk away from the controls and leave the augers turning.
In the hydraulic clutch systems, all the operator does is release the clutch trigger and the drive line disengages in milliseconds, not seconds, preventing rollovers. A mechanical clutch will take seconds to disengage — and usually that is too late.
Even with such advancements in efficiency and quality, operators can never be too safe and must always remember to facilitate an environment in which all workers and equipment are protected.