WHAT IS TRADITIONAL DE-DAGGING?
De-dagging is an industry wide term describing the removal of accumulated dried concrete from the inside of a concrete truck agitator bowl. A worker enters the agitator bowl and uses a jackhammer to chip away dried concrete from the insides of the bowl - it's amongst the world's worst jobs, placing the worker at risk of death or serious injury from the following:
- Falling concrete
- RSI from jackhammer vibration
- Hearing damage
- Heat stress
The following incidents illustrate the real and present dangers associated with traditional de-dagging.
- The NSW Supreme Court has awarded a worker who sustained injury whilst operating a jackhammer above his head for prolonged periods, $533,220 in damages, and in doing so held that the labour hire agency with which he was directly employed should be fully indemnified by the host employer.
- On the 14th July 2007, a worker at a West Australian Boilermakers shed was in the process of de-dagging, placed his jackhammer down whilst moving to the next cleaning area. In doing this he accidentally activated the on switch - the tip of the hammer contacted his leg, piercing the skin and fracturing it.
- Also in 2007 a worker was dragged into an agitator bowl - he was chipping away at the concrete from a position outside and 2.8 m above the bowl with a hand chisel and pneumatic jackhammer. The remote control switch of the bowl became active, the air hose was wrapped around his leg and rotation dragged him into the agitator for around three to seven minutes.
- A Holcim employee was in the process of de-dagging an agitator barrel. He had de-dagged the lower end of the barrel and had started to apply the jack hammer between the fin and concrete below waist height when a large piece of concrete between fins 2 and 3 slid from position. This large piece of concrete initially hit the employee on his head and then became wedged on a bracing bar simultaneously impacting the employee's left hand which was on the bracing for support. The employee suffered a severe injury to his left hand requiring surgery and ongoing rehabilitation.
There have been four deaths in recent times involving traditional de-dagging.
1. A 52 year old Innisfail QLD man was crushed to death in a concrete truck when the agitator bowl rotation commenced whilst he was inside.
Cairns.com.au - Man crushed in cement truck
2. On the 14th March 2008 a worker from Newcastle NSW stuck his head into the agitator bowl of a concrete truck whilst the bowl was in motion. He was killed as a mixing blade struck his head.
WorkCover Authority of NSW - Gateshead concrete company fined after death
3. A French worker died on 14th September 2010 at St Appolinaire, France. The victim had partially entered the agitator bowl via the manhole cover when the bowl began to rotate.
Dijon Bétons - Injury causing death
4. A West Australian worker died after he was crushed against a chassis rail whilst entering a concrete agitator bowl - he attempted to enter the bowl through the manhole cover and inadvertently moved the agitator remote selection gear shaft into neutral, causing the bowl to rotate - crushing him between the manhole cover and the chassis rail.
WorkSafe WA - Man fatally injured in concrete agitator
WA Agi-Kleen provides an non-entry solution to the problem of de-dagging, this takes workers out of the firing line and prevents many injuries from occurring.