Congratulations to Komatsu Australia's Wacol PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) team, which has just won a Queensland Government Safe Work Award for its solution to a hazardous manual handling issue when changing tracks on small excavators.
This solution, in addition to eliminating the risk of injury, also significantly reduced the time and cost of changing the tracks.
At a ceremony on October 17 the Komatsu team won first place in the Queensland Government's 2016 Safe Work and Return to Work Awards, for the Best solution to an identified work health and safety issue.
These awards recognise significant contributions made by Queensland organisations or individuals that improve workplace health and safety or return to work, with more than 140 organisations and individuals entering the awards this year.
The PDI team at Wacol identified a hazard in the workplace involving the task of changing the tracks on PC45 PC55 excavators which each weigh between 190 and 290 kg after two people sustained minor back strains when carrying out this task.
In addition, the task originally took three people and over 12 hours to complete.
The team worked with Komatsu Australia's engineering team to design, manufacture and test a cradle to hold and support the tracks in the correct position and shape, removing the requirement for people to manually complete this task.
The track cradle uses a frame and pallet jack to lift, fit and secure equipment tracks.
With the implementation of the track cradle, the team has managed to reduce the manual handling in the task by 95%, reducing the potential risk of injury to employees conducting the task, while also eliminating pinch point risks in the process.
Not only has the cradle significantly reduced the risk of injury from manual task activities, it has also created time efficiencies and significant cost savings.
The cradle, which cost around $2000 to make, has reduced the time taken to complete a track change from 12 hours down to four hours, and now only requires one person required for the task.
Over the course of building the last 36 machines, this has saved Komatsu nearly $30,000 in labour costs and more importantly, no further injuries have been sustained.
Wacol's PDI team were winners in Komatsu Australia's 2015 Queensland HSE Awards for the Best solution to a high potential hazard, and as a result, the solution was entered into the Queensland Government Awards.
This is an outstanding achievement and the new solution will be implemented across all operations that are exposed to similar conditions.