Working with industrial power tools is always dangerous, and workers should be properly trained on how to safely use them. At Bevel Tech Group, Inc., we work with a lot of industrial type tools. At first thought, people seem to think that pneumatic tools are much safer than electric or hydraulic, and in many ways they are. But working with industrial tools, no matter if electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic driven can lead to severe injury or death if the operator of the tool is not careful.
Hand safety is always a threat when working with industrial tools, especially ones that are rotating in nature and geared down to cut and shape heavy metals. These machines do not speak, or understand yells or screams; they just keep doing what they’re doing. They will overpower you in a split second, and more times than not leave you severely injured.
One of the first and foremost safety precautions that Bevel Tech Group, Inc. mandates is that there will be no jobs involving just one person when working with industrial pneumatic, hydraulic, and/or electric driven rotating tools. The second technician is always dedicated as an additional safety backup and monitors the machining activity at the energizing source where he/she can immediately stop a machine in case the operator falls into danger. On machines as powerful or as large as we usually use, if you were to get snagged by a machine, it normally is so powerful that it will seriously hurt, disfigure, or kill you before you can get to the stop mechanism. The machine doesn’t recognize danger, so we have to mitigate those dangers to keep people safe.
Besides our strict and proven policy utilizing a second technician stationed 100% of the time at a stop or trip mechanism, Bevel Tech Group, Inc. continues to evaluate any safety threat we identify and our engineering department works vigorously to resolve and mitigate those threats. Mitigation can be performed thru procedures or by redesigning any piece of the mechanical equipment to prevent injury.
Our engineering department has developed several enhanced safety mechanisms to mitigate or eliminate job threats, keeping our employees and our rental customer employees from being injured while performing tasks associated with equipment that we regularly use.
To mitigate the scenario of an accidental or premature opening of the valve handle that energizes the machine, all of our equipment has now been retrofitted with “dead man” valves. Previously, on some of our rotating cutters, trip pins had to be positioned manually in either an ON or OFF position, putting the operators hand close to the moving parts of the machine. The pin actuator allows this function to be done pneumatically, and at a safe distance away from the cutter.
The grip valve allows air to power the machine only when the operator is holding the valve and squeezing a lever that opens the valve. When released the valve automatically goes back to a closed position cutting off air to the machine until squeezed again.
Additionally, there is a second push valve that operates the trip pin actuator.
Pictured below, these valves allow the operator “hands free” operation at a safe distance from the machine with a positive locking mechanism to prevent any accidental actuation of start up.
Another safety feature added to our clamshell pipe-cutting field machining equipment fleet is the automatic trip feed/ dead man air caddy. This allows the operator total “hands free” start up operation along with “hands free” feed actuation at a safe distance away from the machine.
As history tends to repeat itself, we should never turn our heads to a possible threat, but immediately mitigate the threat by performing an analysis to determine the proper corrective action.
At Bevel Tech Group, Inc., we continue to evaluate threats and mitigate them. It’s just the right thing to do.
Chris LeGeaux, Engineer and Shop Supervisor
Name: Chris LeGeaux
Title: Engineer/Shop Supervisor
Main duties include: Quotation through completion of shop jobs. Oversee maintenance of shop building, equipment, and vehicles. Order tools, materials and supplies for shop and field work. Provide input on design and fabrication of job specific fixtures and equipment. Create and maintain all equipment drawings. Coordinate work of outside suppliers.
Years with BTG: 6
Bio: Thirty plus years of experience in drafting, design, and engineering work in roadway construction, material handling, rock quarrying, and now pipe and flange weld prep. Worked at Martin Marietta – Aggregate Division, Southern Scrap, Wink Inc., and several small engineering consulting firms. Also, 3-1/2” years of teaching experience at college level.
Married to Sheri Rohde LeGeaux with one daughter (Jennifer), and one step-son (Bryan) with three grandchildren.
Hobbies – Military history, hobby machining, and my daughter’s and grandkids sports.