This recent activity follows an incident involving a chipper in June 2016 whereby a supply chain operative suffered a serious incident resulting in a fractured ankle. Subsequently, Aggregate Industries’ contracting team undertook a thorough investigation to identify how such future incidents could be avoided. This included a review of its own fleet and the best practice equipment across the whole industry, and the results highlighted that what was required was a new approach to chippers.
Paddy Murphy, Managing Director of Contracting Services at Aggregate Industries, commented: “Our investigation revealed that chipper technology had changed little over the decades, resulting in equipment that had been left behind with regards to health and safety standards when compared with a lot of modern machinery used by the industry.
“Initially, to improve operations, we considered alternative methods of placing chips but found that, in terms of delivery, the existing equipment remained the best. Therefore, we decided to take matters into our own hands and decided that upgrading the current chipper technology remained the only viable approach.”
After consulting with its team of experts at its National Plant Department, Aggregate Industries formulated 25 improvements to the latest chipper equipment. The company then approached the industry leading supplier, Tex Engineering, to undertake the identified improvements.
In July 2017, eight months of meetings and development later, trials were undertaken with the new chipper, which featured changes including; joystick control, hopper moving mechanism, and improved lighting – including safety bars. The trial proved successful and the new chipper – M95 AI Class – was introduced into operations for the first time at a site in Hampshire last August (2017).
Paddy adds: “The chipper improvement project has proved to be an incredible success. From the investigation, which identified the improvements to the R&D, to the technological developments created in partnership with Tex Engineering, we have seen countless examples of professionalism and expertise, and a real dedication to make a lasting contribution to improving safety standards across the industry.
“I’d like to thank all those involved in the project including the team at the National Plant Department, the Southern Region & Safety Department, and special thanks to Shaun Hillier and Craig Flowers, for their efforts in delivering this achievement.”