By Richard Campbell
Having been in or associated with the earthmoving, forestry and mining industries for over 40 years now I have witnessed many changes. Some of these have been necessary, like roll over protective structures but some others leave me scratching my head as to the sense behind it.
Firstly hi-viz clothing.
Initially quite striking when you saw it but nowadays everybody wears it, sometimes even as a fashion accessory! Every third person you see seems to have some form of high visibility clothing on, it’s nuts.
Be warned, those bright orange and green garments are rapidly losing their impact as a “watch out for me” because they are so commonplace and the dreaded complacency is setting in.
There certainly is a place for hi-viz clothing, don’t get me wrong here, but it is where you really need to be seen such as in the forest, mine site or night time roadworks where they come into their own. Unfortunately common sense has been lost and people don’t look out for each other as much as they used to on the job.
Hi-viz clothing will not save you from being squished if people aren’t taking notice. It’s like going to a rock concert where everyone is wearing a black t-shirt.
Secondly, automatic lubrication systems.
Now these are really useful on big pieces of gear, make no mistake. They save time, working at heights, and lubricating places that are sometimes hard to get at.
But, on smaller items of equipment what ever happened to checking your machine before or after operating it ? Sure your machine may have an auto lube system but how do you know it’s working if you don’t look ?
When I apprenticed we had to check the machine before start up (oil, water,hydraulics) and see if there had been any puddles that had materialized overnight. A walk around check would see if there were any loose track shoes/tyre cuts or other things that may require attention. At the end of shift we had to fuel up and lubricate the machine before putting it to bed.That way we discovered faulty grease nipples, loose fan belts and pieces that may be falling off.
In today’s times, a walk around inspection before start up is just as important as it used to be. It will also reveal if your auto lube is working properly or if you have oil/water/hydraulic oil leaks. Don’t just hop on and start the thing up only to find you’ve blown the turbo because the oil feed line has dropped off.
If you had inspected your machine you would have noticed that big black stain developing.So come on folks, get those eyes working, be aware of your workmates and don’t entirely rely on those modern marvels to keep you and your machine out of trouble.
Lets all bring back common sense.