Tipping trucks, just like any other vehicle, have been associated with a number of accidents over the years. According to M. McCann of the Center for Construction Research and Training, 829 construction workers have been killed by dumping trucks between 1992 and 2007. Some of the dangers these vehicles may be exposed to include fires, collisions with other vehicles, failed brakes, short circuit and accidents as a result of over speeding.
New Features That Enhance Safety
Following the number of accidents caused by dump trucks, there has been a need to develop new safety measures that involve changing some of the standard features of these trucks. Some of these measures protect the driver, while others protect passers-by. Some of the features you can expect in new tipping trucks include:
• Tail gate protection: this feature will prevent damage to the cabin in the event of either head to tail or head to head collision.
• Reducing speeds: the trucks will be fitted with speed governors. These will either be mechanical or electronic. The speed limits will be set by individual management and hence will not be standard for all trucks.
• Blind spot mirrors: this will help prevent accidents caused by blind spots to the driver.
• Seat belt reminder: this is an alarm that will indicate to the driver whether the seat belt has been used or not.
• Two brakes: newer truck models will have two brakes instead of one. The additional one will act as a failsafe, in case the first one malfunctions.
• Reflectors on all sides of the truck. This will increase the truck's visibility to other drivers at night.
Ways in Which Tipper Trucks can be Used Safely
Having seen how tipper trucks can be a source of danger, here are a few guidelines on how to avoid accidents while dumping truck loads:
• Scout the area in which dumping is to take place in order to avoid work related accidents. According to Safe Work Australia, in mining and construction (two of the most common sectors where tipping trucks are used) worker's compensation claims are at 6.7% and 11.2% respectively.
• Make use of orange or green cones. These cones are used to alert passers-by that dangerous activity is going on. These cones should be placed at the corners of the trailer. If possible, it would be even better to get a spotter to assist you. Spotters are lookouts and will point out any potential accidents as you dump the load.
• The site at which the load will be dumped needs to be firm and level. It should be strong enough to withstand the weight of the truck in addition to its load. This should be determined during the initial scouting of the area.
• Drivers should never try to get out of a truck that is toppling over. Instead, the driver should try to steady himself/ herself using the backseat of the truck, or while holding onto the wheel. Only after the vehicle has come to a standstill should the driver come out.
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