Award-winning innovation reduces risk of injection injury

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  • Plant & Equipment

A Queensland based engineering company has invented a remote pressure release system with aims of preventing high-pressure grease injection injuries that results from blocked grease guns.

Award-winning innovation reduces risk of injection injury
ADE's grease pressure release system allows operators to release built-up pressure in the grease systems from a safe distance, to prevent injection injuries. Image by: Downer EDI Mining Pty Ltd

According to the inventor, Australian Diversified Engineering Pty Ltd (ADE), grease is the most common injection injury with a possible one out of four cases resulting in amputation. If the pressure of the injection is 7,000psi or greater, the amputation rate reaches 100 per cent.

As a result, the ADE has come up with a garage-door-style remote control that would allow operators to release pressure from a blocked grease gun from a distance, significantly reducing the risk of injury.

The system was named the winner of the "Highly Commended "award at the Queensland Mining Industry Health and Safety Conference 2014 Innovation Awards, held in August this year.

ADE Manufacturing Manager Daniel Kirk says the solution not only achieves its main aim of reducing the chances of injury, but is also easy and quick to operate.

"Our research revealed that the usual protective equipment was not protecting servicemen from high pressure injection injuries, and the standard process of removing the hose form the nipple in the case of a blockage was intrinsically flawed and dangerous," he says.

"The solution is our remote-operated wireless transmitter than can be activated up to 50 metres from the service truck to release the build-up of pressure.

"It can be retrofitted to existing systems, and has already been installed at nine mine sites across Australia with great results."

The control unit is contained in a small stainless steel cabinet and mounted on top of the service truck or near the grease pumps, suitable for both hydraulically and pneumatically operated systems.

A single-function remote control turns off pressure to high volume and high pressure grease systems, while LED lights on the unit indicates when the grease systems are safe to operate again.

Mining services provider Downer EDI Mining has been using the unit at its sites and Mining Operations Excellence Manager Mick Carr has been happy with the system so far.

"Our servicemen use it on a regular basis and it has not added any additional work to their daily activities," he says.

"When looking at it from a hierarchy of control, it cleverly focuses on the elimination of the hazard, rather than protection."

In addition to the pressure release system, ADE offers a range of solutions for the mining industry including the manufacturing and installation of hydraulic services for mobile mining equipment.



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