Hammerglass Automotive

Scandinavian Stone, Vånga Quarry, Kristianstad, February 2022:

The windscreen was hit by a 10-tonne boulder....

Jörgen Stjernkvist often clears dynamite chutes and has a good overview of the situation. But anyone can have bad luck - and on a very normal Monday at work he did. A large granite block unexpectedly broke loose from the mountain and fell to the ground in several pieces. His work cabin was rammed by a 10-tonne boulder.
- I didn't have time to think until it was over, the only thing I had in my head afterwards was the joy of having made it," he said.

Jörgen has been a machine operator since 1978, following in his father's footsteps as a young boy. He has never regretted his career choice - it is an exciting industry to work in and he has driven a variety of machines over the years. Safety has evolved a lot over time, of course, and at Scandinavian Stone they are particularly safety-conscious. Everyone knows what can happen if an accident occurs, and that the difference between life and death can depend on the preventive measures taken. - I have worked hard all my life and have been spared accidents. Sure, I've been hit by stones and broken glass, but nothing serious has happened. Now I have only one and a half years to go until I retire. I'm looking forward to it, I'll take care of the house and garden and do the things I enjoy. After what happened, I am even more grateful for the little things in life. The situation could have been very different, I realise that when I see the picture with the stone block and the machine. I was actually sitting in it, only with a windscreen in between.

What had happened?

- I was cleaning the dynamite chutes - not an unusual task for me - but this particular boulder had a long crack that shot inwards and upwards, invisible to the naked eye. As I worked, the boulder came loose incredibly quickly. One second the boulder was still attached to the rock face, the next it was crashing into my window. I didn't even have time to realise what was happening.

You have Class 3 protection, which includes a Hammerglass RABS solution with full cabin protection. How do you feel about it now?

- The stone had a pointed front, which made it even more dangerous. The point itself had pushed into the windscreen a little, but then stopped. If it hadn't been for Hammerglass RABS, the tip would probably have gone right through me.

What did your family say when you came home that day?

- I played down the incident, I didn't want to scare her unnecessarily. All's well that ends well, and the way I see it, I made it because Scandinavian Stone doesn't rely on luck. The company invests in the right kind of safety.




"The reliability of Hammerglass has made all the difference for me".

Sven Jönsson is environment, health and safety manager at Scandinavian Stone, and Jörgen's accident confirmed that he had chosen the right safety solution suitable for the environment in which the machine operates.

- Safety always comes first. Our aim is to find and apply the best technology and method to suit our needs in each workplace.

Why did you choose Hammerglass?

- Since no one can guarantee that their product offers "sufficient protection" and neither authorities nor manufacturers could help us here, I did my own analysis, starting with material selection and basic design, based on the knowledge I have about polymeric materials and glass. The impact strength of polycarbonate is well known, so that was the deciding factor for me.

What do you think about Hammerglass now - after Jörgen's accident?

- We are of course very grateful that the glass held up! We have then started our own review of our risk analysis and are looking at what measures we can take to strengthen protection, especially in the event of a massive collapse directly onto the cabin.

"Today's standards don't meet all the risks that protective glazing can face - that's why we set higher standards for our products."

Malin Påhlsson is a design engineer and regulatory manager at Hammerglass. She was on site in Vånga early on to see for herself what the RABS frame looked like after the accident.- This was about extreme forces in a risky working environment, she notes.

The Swedish Work Environment Authority stipulates that drivers of vehicles in quarries must be protected against falling rocks. It is the employer's responsibility to carry out a comprehensive risk analysis, taking into account the environment in which the machine is working and the type of work being carried out. The lowest possible accident scenario represents a potential hazard for the machine operator and should influence the choice of safety solution. The Health and Safety Executive also points out that a canopy for a cab must be able to withstand a weight of 227 kg falling onto the roof from a height of 5 metres. Hammerglass' RABS frame is tested in the same way as a canopy, although the relevant standard for a front guard actually only requires half this force.

- The reason Hammerglass requires more from the product than necessary is that we believe that today's standards do not match the real risks that protection can face. A landslide can fall on the front of the machine just as easily as on the top, and the RABS frame should also protect the operator from falling rocks from an exploding borehole," she says.

- The accident also suggests that the frame was most likely exposed to a force far in excess of the values stated by the Swedish Working Environment Authority and that the design in this case exceeded expectations. It is also a confirmation for Scandinavian Stone that they thought correctly in their risk assessment and took care to choose the best possible protection for the situation. It may well have been the deciding factor in the driver being able to get out of the cab uninjured in this accident.

Scandinavian Stone

The company is a merger of Svimpex Granit and Emmaboda Granit and has been quarrying various types of natural stone since 1933. Scandinavian Stone is part of the Naturstenskompaniet International group, which operates 15 quarries in Sweden and Norway. The quarry in Vånga, where Jörgen Stjernkvist works, consists of a rich granite deposit.