Safety tips for common type of motor graders
Like any other heavy equipment, motor graders also need to be safely operated so that so as to avoid any accidents at the jobsite. Even the best and safest motor grader must still be operated with care. Typically, observance of safety rules and alertness on the part of the operator on the jobsite can result in increased jobsite safety.
Here are some safety tips that should be kept in mind while operating the commonly used motor graders...
1. Pre-start checks:
a) The first step is to read the operators’ manual to get familiar with the controls of the equipment.
b) You also need to read the warning labels and stickers as well as maintenance information, specification charts and other important information posted around the machine.
c) Visually inspect controls, engine, compartment, cooling system, gear boxes, hydraulic parts and other parts.
d) Check all the attachments of the motor grader. See if everything is in its proper place.
e) Walk around the equipment and check loose bolts, trash build-up, oil or coolant leaks and damaged tires.
f) Always ensure that all the safety equipment are working and clean.
2. Checks to be performed when starting the motor grader machine:
a) Check all the signals, lights and flags on mouldboard and cab.
b) Always turn off the ignition and allow the engine and exhaust to cool prior to opening the fuel cap and refuelling the vehicle.
c) Take precautions so as to prevent overflowing the tank or spilling fuel.
d) Loosen radiator cap slightly, pause to relieve pressure slowly and then remove the cap.
e) Never pour cold coolant into the radiator if the engine is hot.
f) Walk around and ensure that there is no one next to, under, or on the machine.
g) Ensure that the controls are in neutral position.
h) Check the horn sound.
i) Test all controls, brakes, steering and accelerator before starting the equipment.
j) Listen and report unusual noises, if there is any.
k) Recheck lights, back-up alarms and other warning or safety devices.
l) Never operate electric starter for more than 30 seconds. Allow two minutes for cooling before starting again. This is because an overheated starter could cause a fire.
a) Look behind the machine before moving and while backing up. Operators should ensure that the work area is absolutely clear before doing anything.
b) Make it a point to know and understand the width of the machine in order to maintain proper clearances from surrounding obstacles and obstructions.
c) Be aware of overhangs, electric wires, slide areas or other dangerous conditions.
d) Match speed with job conditions.
e) Stay in proper gear when travelling downhill. Never coast in neutral and use engine RPM to help maintain control.
f) Use parking brake when parking at all times.
g) Always operate controls from the operator station.
h) Use proper hitch equipment and technique when towing the grader.
i) When you stop the equipment, lower all the raised equipment parts.
j) Make sure that the machine is not left on a slope with the engine running as this may put the machine into motion.
4. Service and repair tips:
a) Read and understand the motor grader maintenance manual.
b) Keep hands and clothing away from moving parts.
c) Wear eye protection as fluids (fuel and oil) can damage your eyes.
d) Wear other safety equipment like hard hat, gloves, safety work shoes etc.
e) Operators should ensure that the engines are completely shut off and keys are removed before cleaning, servicing, checking belt tension, adjusting brake or clutch or working on hydraulic system.
f) As hot or damaged tires can be the source of a violent explosion, do not approach the vehicle in line with hot or damaged tires.
g) If engine must be run for a check, set brakes, have transmission in neutral, block the wheels and have one man at the controls and the other working on the engine.
h) Relieve all pressure (water or hydraulic) before opening or removing any caps, lines, valves or fittings.
i) Lower all hydraulically activated equipment parts before servicing the hydraulic system.
j) Lubricate all the moving parts of the machine well as they will fail if they aren’t lubricated properly. Too little as well as too much lubrication can be harmful for the machine. So, you need to lubricate the machine wisely.
k) Follow manufacturer’s instructions exactly when adjusting the brakes.
l) Block wheels before bleeding wheel cylinders.
m) Use only that brake fluid type that is recommended by the manufacturer.
n) Create and follow a maintenance schedule. Include notations on how often each part of the machinery should be inspected for problems, repairs and general maintenance.
o) Pay close attention to wear and tear signs as they may signal problems that can cause machinery to malfunction more often or result in costly repairs or component replacements before your regular inspection.
5. Tips for parking the motor grader
a) Select level ground wherever possible.
b) If the grader is disabled and cannot be moved from the roadway, then put out flags and flares (flares are mandatory at night and during periods of poor visibility).
c) Have the grader removed from the roadway as soon as possible.
6. Tips when shutting down the motor grader:
a) Lower all equipment to the ground.
b) Reduce the engine speed.
c) Keep the transmission neutral.
d) Set park brake.
e) Allow engine to cool gradually.
f) Remove ignition key when leaving grader.
g) Secure machine to prevent unauthorised starting and movement.
Thus, by following these simple safety tips, motor graders’ lifespan can be increased considerably and dangerous injuries to men and machine can be prevented easily. These small but important tips can help to increase productivity as well as efficiency of the machine to a very large extent. Be it any type of motor grader, the above mentioned safety tips remain the same and should be followed at any cost.