Does your machinery or equipment depend on couplers? If so, keeping those couplers in good working condition is crucial to avoid mishaps, accidents, and injuries.
You could replace faulty couplers with brand new ones from your stock of extra equipment, but that might not be the best solution. If you’re not sure why the coupler is faulty, a replacement could create a repeat of the same problem. For example, a faulty coupler could be a design flaw. The only way to avoid replacing a flawed coupler with another flawed coupler is to get an upgraded replacement of a higher quality.
Faulty couplers present a potential for injury, damage to equipment, and damage to the environment. Whether your couplers connect large pieces of equipment or use hydraulic fluid to transmit mechanical power to heavy machinery attachments, coupler quality matters.
Here are 4 reasons to upgrade faulty couplers when they need to be replaced:
1. Hydraulic fluid leaks pose a severe threat to the Earth, animals, and humans
Hydraulic fluid is a toxic substance that can cause skin and eye irritation. Consuming hydraulic fluid can cause pneumonia, intestinal bleeding, and even death. Inhaling hydraulic fluid vapors has been shown to cause nerve damage in animals. When this fluid leaks onto soil, some of the ingredients settle deep into the ground and can remain there for more than a year. Other ingredients stay on top of the soil.
If you’re using hydraulic couplers to operate heavy machinery attachments, fluid leaks and spills are always a possibility. Depending on the kind of hydraulic fluid you’re using, damage to the Earth could be mild to severe. Even eco-friendly hydraulic fluid can cause a small amount of damage.
It’s crucial to use high-quality couplers from the beginning to prevent leaks that would otherwise be avoidable. For example, you might not have a problem until it’s time to disconnect. If standard couplers don’t provide a tight seal, specialty couplers will limit spillage when disconnecting.
2. Couplers linking equipment can cause serious injury
Couplers designed to connect individual pieces of equipment pose a danger when all parts are not in working order. For example, in 2019, a San Francisco Muni system was using faulty shear pins to link train cars. Shear pins fit into the couplers that connect the cars together.
Thankfully, the faulty shear pins were discovered by a driver after finishing the day’s operations. Other faulty pins were discovered in a similar way by other drivers. Had the problem been discovered after a serious injury, the story could have been much worse. The pins are designed to fail upon impact (when the train stops) to separate the train cars while another system takes over to absorb the shock of a collision.
If you use couplers to connect pieces of equipment, make sure that all parts are in working order. Regular inspections are crucial.
3. Maintaining couplers in good repair avoids lawsuits
Next to preventing injury and damage to the Earth, avoiding expensive lawsuits is another reason to maintain your couplers in good repair. If you think you’re safe because most people can’t afford to hire a lawyer, think again.
Many lawyers are eager to accept clients on a contingency basis, which means the client doesn’t pay the lawyer anything out of pocket. The lawyer simply takes a percentage of the money won in the lawsuit or settlement.
Personal injury lawsuits are becoming commonplace. Statistics show that around 95% of personal injury lawsuits are settled before they go to trial. Even though those statistics also show that only 5% of plaintiffs win at trial, going to trial will be more expensive than settling with the injured party.
Damaged or faulty couplers can cause injury to your employees, customers, and anyone else who happens to be around when an accident occurs. If an employee gets hurt and you have workers’ compensation insurance, there’s no guarantee your injured employee won’t go straight to a lawyer in hopes of getting better compensation.
Financially speaking, if your couplers aren’t safe, your business isn’t safe.
4. Maintaining couplers saves your company money
Regardless of your industry, maintaining your couplers will save your business money. The most effective way to save money is to buy the highest quality equipment from the beginning so you don’t have to deal with so many repairs and replacements.
Using the highest quality couplers from the beginning will decrease the potential for accidental damage and injury to people, animals, and the Earth.