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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Agent for Stone Finishing Equipment

THE Marine Safety Training Centre (MSTC) at South Tyneside College, in South Shields, has devised a new safety training course for crane and dragline operators working at water-filled quarries. The development follows an approach from Tarmac Ltd who wanted to ensure that dragline operators working at their sand and gravel site near Carlisle could evacuate the machine safely should it ever become unstable and topple into the water.

Tarmac’s initial brief to the MSTC was purely to assess the ease of such an evacuation, which led the Centre to recommend the installation of push-out windows in the roof and on one side of the cab, as well as training in the use of a special underwater breathing device.

Subsequently the MSTC devised a complete course for the quarry’s five dragline operators, including training in first aid (for conditions such as hypothermia and drowning) and in the use of the new Emergency Breather System equipment.

The main benefit, however, came from a full simulation of evacuation, which took place in the Centre’s pool. Putting what they had learnt into practice, the five trainees were seated in a mock-up of a helicopter cabin –– called a Helicopter Underwater Escape Trainer (HUET) –– which was immersed in the water and then capsized.

‘The cockpit of the HUET and a crane cabin are very similar in some respects,’ said Ian Cullen, director of the MSTC. ‘They both have a similar amount of space inside, similar sized window apertures and much the same basic layout, consisting of a narrow alleyway leading to the main door. For this reason the simulation is just as realistic to dragline operators as to our helicopter escape trainees.

‘Regardless of the nature of a business, if it brings staff into close proximity to water, then risk assessment is essential and safety training must be considered as a vital part of the operation,’ he said.


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