Following incidents last week involving reversing trucks crashing into workers and fatally wounding them, we have compiled a list of safety guidelines and procedures for anyone working with or near dump trucks on construction sites.
Loading and Dumping Safety procedures
The biggest concern for trucks of this size is crashing into people or vehicles or toppling over and crushing people or other vehicles. Because dump trucks in particular load and unload several times a day onto the same area to create elevated surfaces known as stockpiles. When drivers load and unload their trucks on these elevated or uneven surfaces it is very dangerous as the vehicle can topple or roll over. The dump truck operating on the unstable ground created by a stockpile can cause fatal accidents. Good practice is to dump the load at least one truck length away from the pile. Adverse weather conditions can make ground even more unstable and wet conditions can cause landslides on stockpiles. Pedestrians should stand clear of stockpiles while trucks are dumping as drivers cannot always see what’s happening behind the truck.
Working Near Powerlines
Dump truck drivers and in fact all truck drivers need to always pay attention to overhead power lines. Dump truck drivers especially so because when the dump truck bed lifts, the height of the truck naturally increases. This provides an opportunity for the truck bed to hit into the powerlines which could damage the truck and cause injury or even electrocution. Although the trucks tyres will act as an insulator, tyres can blow out. In an emergency of this nature drivers should not attempt to exit the truck unless there is a fire. The electricity can travel on the ground surrounding the truck and electrocute the driver if he/she attempts to leave the truck. Also once it is safe, check that the tyres haven’t been damaged before continuing to work.
Know how to Control Hazards
Due to the dangerous nature of construction work and dump truck work itself, there are a number of hazards that are present. Often, dump trucks must back up to release the load, reversing in general causes a hazard for trucks and dump trucks even more so due to their size and loading and unloading function. Workers should use simple, easy-to-see hand signals; wear a reflective or bright PPE (personal protective equipment) such as a vest and always stand on the side of the truck, never in the front or behind it. Drivers and workers outside the truck guiding it while it reverses should come up with clear hand signals before the driver backs up the truck and dumps the load. To avoid injury, all workers should clear the area while the driver dumps the load.
Prepare The Work Area
In order to increase the stability of the dump-point prepare the ground where unloading is taking place to increase stability and reduce hazardous conditions.
For night work, provide plenty of lighting for the work area so that drivers are able to identify potentially hazardous conditions.
Perform an inspection of the work area prior to dumping and make the necessary improvements to potentially hazardous conditions.
Check the grounds in the dump area for cracks, depressions, and any other indicators that could lead to the ground shifting underneath the weight of the truck which could result in disasters. If cracks do exist and work must continue, dump your load short of any cracks or other suspect areas as the truck tyres could sink and the vehicle could roll over.
The basic safety tips to remember are:
- Drive with Extreme Caution when Carrying a Load
- Reduce Speed in Poor Travelling Conditions and on site adhere to speed limits.
- Beware of pedestrians, remain in the correct zoned areas
- Abide by Truck Load limitations to avoid capsizing
- Maintain Good Visibility
- Be trained on emergency procedures such as when equipment Fails or bad weather conditions prevail
Posted by Steven Asnicar