Jeffry Bolsens, DEME’s Project QHSE-S Manager, explains how this ingenious but simple solution came about. “Stepping on and off excavators is always risky. The standard access steps to these excavators are located inside the boundary of the tracks and when covered in mud, sand and clay it is very easy to slip, which regularly results in accidents, leaving our operators with the risk of cuts and bruised shins.”
DEME talked to its operators and the majority said they all have a risk to get scars on their shins as a result of contact with the tracks while stepping on and off the excavators. The QHSE-S team knew something had to be done and a year ago, they started to consider the advantages of deploying a foldable, retractable ladder. “We saw that there was a significant problem and looked for a safer solution which could replace the existing steps,” says Jeffry. “The very large excavators have fixed platforms at the back of the machines that operate automatically, but with smaller reclamation units there is the continual risk of operators’ shins making contact with the tracks.”
EN 1090 certification
In a clever solution, the retractable ladder, which has an EN 1090 certification and complies with all the latest regulations, can be folded up just below the topside of the excavator. Crucially, at all times the operator has a 3-point contact when stepping on and off. Within the Benelux alone, DEME operates approximately 60 track excavators and has 120 operators. These excavators have all been fitted with the new ladder and DEME has also constructed new ladders for its projects worldwide.