Starting up your operation this spring

By |  May 9, 2019
Employee safety should always be the first priority when resuming operations in the spring. Photo courtesy of Mellott Company.

Employee safety should always be the first priority when resuming operations in the spring. Photo courtesy of Mellott Company.

Spring is here, and crushing plants are warming up or are already back up and running.

The process of seasonal startup is important to get right. The proper startup processes go a long way to increase safety at a crushing site. This preparation also contributes to a site’s success and maximizes production.

Ready to get things moving this spring? Here are a few tips to get you going.

Check all safety equipment

This is the first step in the startup process, as safety is always the priority on a crushing site. This typically entails checking:

Fire extinguishers to make sure they’re in place and haven’t expired.

First aid kits to make sure equipment is stocked and up to date

Safety equipment. On machinery, this includes reviewing emergency stops, pull cords and safety guarding on conveyors to make sure everything is operational.

If things are missing or out of date, they should be replaced before continuing with startup procedures. Ensuring safety equipment is updated and functional is a good precaution against potential incidents.

Complete and update paperwork and training

It’s also important to make sure all paperwork and trainings are current.

Are all site personnel up to date on Mine Safety & Health Administration and Occupational Safety & Health Administration trainings? Is the corresponding paperwork completed? On some crushing sites, annual refresher trainings are mandated to ensure compliance, as well as confirm that all site personnel are current on necessary paperwork.

Ensure safe conditions at the crushing site

With paperwork and training up to date, the next step is to ensure safe conditions at the crushing site itself.

Access roads. Make sure there haven’t been rock falls or other events that impeded road access during the winter months. Confirm all required roads are open.

Safety conditions in the pit area. Make sure there isn’t standing water or fallen debris that would delay operations.

Berms are up to height. Ensure weather conditions and erosion over the course of the offseason didn’t displace or wash out berms.

Check crushing equipment

After reviewing pit conditions, it’s finally time to check the crushing equipment itself.

Like cars that sit through seasons without use, crushers need to be reviewed before they can be trusted to perform at maximum capacity again.

Here are a few things to check for at standard crushing sites:

Oils and fluids. Ensure there wasn’t a leak over the offseason, and confirm that all levels are appropriately topped off.

Cones for debris. Make sure cones are clear of any ice or debris that would impede functionality.

Belt conditions.Check transfer and discharge points to ensure they’re free of ice and debris.

There are also a few concerns specific to mobile equipment:

Tire conditions.Make sure air pressure is up to manufacturer specifications.

Mobile equipment fluids. Inspect fuel, antifreeze and oil levels to prepare mobile equipment for daily production.

Start things up

Finally, your crushing site is ready to be brought back to life. Test the startup siren to make sure it works. Then, start up all the individual pieces of the plant to make sure everything runs properly.

You don’t want to start running at full capacity. Start slowly and work up to full speed.

While the time to full production will vary across plants and production materials, it’s generally best to work up to full capacity over a full day.

Information for this article courtesy of Mellott Company.

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