Alcoa’s two Western Australian bauxite mines, Huntly and Willowdale, operate a fleet of Komatsu 730E electric drive haul trucks. Changing the hydraulic steering filter at regular service intervals had resulted in several finger and hand injuries to maintenance personnel when the filter housing drops as it is unscrewed.
The solution came from a mechanical fitter who had performed the task and was aware of the potential hazards. Through the employee suggestion scheme he proposed modifying the existing housing and putting a threaded cap on the bottom. The immediate benefit was the elimination of injuries related to finger and hand crush from the weight of the falling filter housing. Finger, hand and arm lacerations from the burred metal caused by the jaws of the pipe wrench have also been eliminated and slipping pipe wrenches are a thing of the past now that a hexagonal spanner is used to loosen the end cap.