SUDBURY, Ontario – At the annual Workplace Safety North conference, held April 4-10, J.S. Redpath Limited earned top honours in the juried line-up of industry safety innovation awarded annually by the Ontario Mining Contractors’ Safety Association. Redpath’s winning solution is a redesign of the platform trap door entrance on a mechanized raise climber.
Traditionally, mechanized raise climber (MRC) personnel entered the upper platform through a hatched door by way of a congested opening and a ladderway not lending itself to ergonomic design due to the lack of proper handholds once the worker passed through the trap door opening at the platform. The potential risks of this entrance system included pinch points to hands, lack of three-point contact for ladder climbing possibly resulting in slips and falls; poor miner posture potentially resulting in musculoskeletal injury, and the inadvertent moving of the raise climber due to the worker’s tendency to step on the operating control mechanism. Redpath’s recognition of these potential hazards has led to a design innovation expected to be adopted by the industry at large.
Redpath’s mechanized raising area superintendent Gary Gagain, alongside MRC shop foreman Wayne Boucher and welder millwright Jack Sikora have over 60 years combined experience with the company. This experienced trio defined the areas for improvement for the MRC and began incorporating engineered alterations to Redpath’s work platforms manufactured in the Timmins, ON, mechanical shop complex. The development lasted nearly two years and was completed in spring 2014 including both shop and field testing before being formally adopted.
The winning innovation now provides a physically enlarged opening of the platform access. This enlargement is a more comfortable allowance for mining personnel outfitted with complete personal protective equipment. Also, this larger opening facilitates deck access for rescue personnel wearing bulky breathing apparatus and equipment.
In addition to the expanded doorway, the hatch door is now outfitted with a double stop mechanism; the first hitches the door to prevent potential slamming down on workers’ hands and the second soundly vertically locks the door and doubles as an extension of the cage ladder rungs to ensure three-point contact for the raise miner’s safe climb to and from the deck. This provision also eliminates the need for miners to reach and seek personal climbing support from nearby equipment, hose work, safety chains or other components not designed to withstand the weight of personnel.
This engineered design is also expected to influence the entry systems on galloways in Redpath’s shaft sinking practices.
Please visit the J.S. Redpath website at RedpathMining.com.