Excavator Counterweights Become Safer
Jan. 29, 2021
Excavator Counterweights Become Safer
Excavators are large off-road machinery, mainly used for digging trenches, holes and foundations. They are heavy construction equipment and should be handled with care. The heavy design of excavators requires a heavy counterweight to balance the weight of the excavated earth. In the design stage of excavator counterweight, the possible dangers should be foreseen to ensure the safety performance of the whole machine.
Counterweight related accidents mostly occur when operating excavators or removing counterweights from them.
When transporting excavated soil and rotating the arm of the bucket to the right or left, or while reducing the load, the excavator counterweight mounted on the back may swing. This tail wagging effect can cause some serious accidents where bystanders are crushed between the wagging counterweight and nearby walls or columns.
The counterweight was removed from the excavator to facilitate transportation. As the counterweight is connected to the excavator in a vertical position, there is always a danger that the worker will be dropped by the counterweight during this process.
The improvement of excavator counterweight should be better implemented in the design process to minimize the potential safety hazards.
Optimal improvement of excavator counterweight to achieve safer design:
1. Zero tail pendulum design
Cast iron counterweights are heavy but small, so they can stay within the track width as they sway. This makes body swinging safer and increases mobility in a confined space. Still, zero-tail pendulum excavators make working on slopes tricky by increasing the risk of capsizing. These designs are also more commonly used in small excavators than in heavier excavator variants.
2. Rear view camera
The integrated counterweight mounted rearview camera can be used for the wagging tail design, eliminating the need for the operator to turn and look back to ensure that there is no danger to bystanders as the crane swings. Otherwise, the operator must always take extra care and ensure that no one gets stuck in the tail swing rack.
3. Disassembly of counterweight
The system planning the counterweight hydraulic disassembly system at the design stage will help to remove the counterweight from the excavator easily and safely. This also greatly reduces the transport preparation time of the excavator. The counterweight supplier recommends using counterweights with built-in dismantling systems only in certain cases, as they carry less than standard counterweights.
To minimize possible hazards, the following safety and risk reduction guidelines should be followed regularly.
Periodically inspect the excavator installation and disassembly system
The quality of the entire dismantled hydraulic system and lifting chain shall be controlled regularly to avoid any structural damage (including bending of the excavator frame or lifting mechanism; Cracks in the paint on the joint and space) between the counterweight lifting mechanism mounting bracket and the excavator frame.
Label of counterweight removal system control function
The whole system for disassembly and connection of counterweights is equipped with a controller in the side compartment of the excavator. All these special valves and switches shall be labeled to reduce the workload of personnel, to operate accessories and disassembly systems and to avoid any erroneous actions.
Follow the manufacturer's exact instructions
All relevant workers, whether excavator operators or at-risk bystanders, should receive regular task training on the procedures to be followed with regard to the safety of mounting and removing counterweights. In addition, all manufacturer's instructions should be strictly followed.