- Chain Trencher
A chainsaw on wheels. That is the chain trencher. Its job is to dig trenches by, essentially, cutting the ground. This tool is often used for construction crews that want to lay pipe. One model of chain trencher, the Tesmec TRS 1675 can dig trenches up to 24 feet deep and twenty-six feet wide. With a tool like that, it shouldn’t be surprising that trench work can be dangerous. A man working on a construction crew in Guam was killed when he fell into the trench and was struck by the trenching machine.
- Shellfish-Shucking Machines
In 2014 a man was violently killed after he was caught in a shellfish-shucking machine. He was cleaning the machine and got caught in a rotary turbine engine. Police said it took the fire department nearly an hour to free the man’s body after partially dismantling the machine. He was pronounced dead on the scene. There are many inherent dangers in working with machines regardless of the years of experience you may have. Any little mistake or malfunction can cause injury or death, even when working with shellfish.
- The Walking Tree Harvester
This thing is unnecessarily scary looking. And if you are a tree it is truly terrifying. The idea behind this next machine is quite simple. Harvesters cut down trees and sometimes need to go places where wheels would be a very bad idea. To compensate for such terrain, the walking harvester was created as a kind of lumberjack. Developed in the 1990s, the machine is able to walk because of sensors in its legs. These sensors react automatically to soft, sloping, or uneven terrain. A computer control system distributes weight and supports all six legs equally. The machine walks over obstacles and the operator adjusts the ground clearance and height for each step. Walking harvesters also wreck less havoc on the environment than the traditional harvester on treads. Well, besides the fact that it was made to eat the forest.
- The Feller Buncher
It’s a machine with a giant claw that has a saw attachment. A logging harvester like the one discussed a moment ago the feller buncher can cut through trees, picks them up, rips off the branches, and sets them aside. It can take down two trees in six seconds. Imagine those are people and things start getting very scary.
- The Forage Harvester
This could come in handy for the zombie apocalypse. A forage harvester (also known as a silage harvester, forager or chopper) is a farm implement that harvests forage plants to make silage. Silage is grass, corn or other plant used for feeding livestock. This farming tool looks like a lawnmower on steroids. It can either be a dedicated machine or a tool that can be attached to a tractor. In 2008, twenty-nine year old Justin Jantzen, a farm hand, was run over by a forage harvester and died. The details of his death are unclear but it’s enough to make you think twice before getting close to this machine.
- Tunnel Boring Machine
Also known as a “mole”, tunnel boring machines excavate tunnels with a circular cross section through anything from hard rock to sand. The largest tunnel boring machine is Bertha, which has a boring width of 57 feet 3 inches and is currently burrowing underneath Seattle. As of March 2017, it’s only 1000 feet from completing its job but work has ceased because the machine appears to be several inches off course. Tunnel boring machines are an alternative to drilling and blasting methods in rock and conventional “hand mining” in soil. They don’t disturb the surrounding ground and they create a smooth tunnel wall, which reduces cost and makes them perfect to use in heavily urbanized areas. However, they are also incredibly expensive. Elon Musk has tweeted an image of a tunnel boring machine he hopes to use to create underground roads. It was an idea that came to him while being stuck in LA traffic. While these pieces of machinery are expensive but useful, accidents do happen. In 2013, a man in Ireland was killed while a tunnel boring machine was in use.
- The Continuous Rock Miner
A continuous rock minor is a machine with a large rotating steel drum equipped with tungsten carbide teeth that scrape coal from the seam. Operating in a “room and pillar” system – where the mine is divided into a series of 20-to-30 foot “rooms” or work areas cut into the coalbed – it can mine as much as five tons of coal a minute – more than a miner of the 1920s would produce in an entire day. Continuous miners use conveyors to transport the removed coal from the seam. Remote controlled continuous miners are used to work in a variety of difficult seams and conditions and robotic versions controlled by computers are becoming increasingly common. All of this sounds wonderful until you see the thing. It looks like a forager but for underground. Since 1984, there have been 35 deaths where miners have been pinned, crushed, or struck by continuous mining machines in underground coal mines.