Industrial Demolition Contractors Talk Cab Protection

Mechanics Hub - April 26, 2013
There are endless safety considerations in the scrap metal demolition industry, from pinching points to respiratory hazards to machine guarding. Industrial demolition contractors set up demolition work zones to keep the public safe, but of equal importance is the safety of the demolition workers. In addition to training excavator drivers about safe operating standards and best practices, you can do a lot to keep an operator safe by installing a cab guard. Excavation cab guard options include: Roll over protection structure (ROPS). An ROPS guard is a popular safety addition to excavator cabs to keep the operator safe if the machine overturns. These work most effectively when the driver wears a seatbelt. Falling object protective structure (FOPS). An FOPS guard protects the operator and cab from debris and larger falling objects. The heavy walled tubing offers protection against impacts. Lexan screens. Lexan screens add protection from small debris. You can add one to a FOPS guard to maximize safety. Wire screens. Wire screens offer similar protection as Lexan screens but can better withstand the impact of larger objects. Custom Cab Guards for Excavators: A Better Option The safest excavator cabs are those that scrap metal demolition contractors have custom-built to protect the internal workings of the machine as well as the operator. The benefits of custom-made guards over ROPS guards include: Improved visibility. At Elder Demolition, we use tailor-made flat stock louvers and 3/8 square tube steel. The louvers offer more strength and visibility than simple wire screens, while the square tube serves as the structural framing base. We reinforce the louvers with 1-inch solid stock in areas that have an original equipment manufacturers (OEM) blind spot. To minimize the blind spot and add safety, the louvers are 3/8 inch thick, 2.5 to 3 inches tall and spaced vertically so they can withstand greater force while giving the operator plenty of space to see. Furthermore, the position in which the guard is mounted is far enough away from the cab’s OEM components that it’s simple to clean the cab, including its windows. Operator protection. When a contractor installs an ROPS guard on some excavator cab models, the weight of the guard can make it impossible to open or close the cab door when the machine is on an incline. Consequently, the operator is at a greater safety risk if the machine rolls over because he may be thrown from the machine if the door cannot close, or he may not be able to escape if the door cannot open. When you build a custom cab guard with no moving parts, the guard’s weight doesn’t pose such a risk. Light protection. When industrial demolition contractors build custom excavator cab guards, they usually build a component that protects the OEM lights. The guarding mount gets reinforced to increase its effectiveness. Side protection. To increase the safety of a cab’s sides, Elder Demolition adds an 8-inch rolled catwalk that’s 3/8 inch thick from one side of the counterweight to the other. This addition protects the operator and lower part of the machine from side impacts. Protection for internal components. We replace the OEM paneling with 3/8-inch steel plating that’s cut to match the mounting points and stock sight lines, and we use ¼-inch steel to reinforce the mounting points. To handle the increase in weight, our technicians reinforce the hinges and brackets or replace them with heavy-duty components. The new plating circles the machine, protecting the hydraulic tank, radiators and motor compartment. The purchasing of safety equipment for an excavator cab is a worthwhile investment in an industrial demolition company’s assets. While the extra armor of a cab guard increases the excavator’s weight, the addition prevents future down time and expenses due to damaged equipment. More importantly, the protection of an excavator driver makes the installing of premium or custom-made safety components well worth the extra expense. Elder Demolition is located in Portland, Oregon and is a fully licensed and insured demolition company that has broad experience with industrial and scrap metal demolition, scrap metal recycling, and LEED-certified green demolitions.