At Express Asphalt Darwen, one of the biggest safety concerns and reports of near misses during 2016/2017 involved customers exiting their cabs to check their vehicle position whilst under the mixer. This presented significant risks of injury from falling material (up to two tonnes) and exposure to very hot temperatures (up to 170°C), dust, noise and vehicle fumes.
In the event of incorrect loading, customers would climb onto the back of their vehicle to manually relocate the product, creating exposure to hazards associated with manual handling, falls from height and hot materials.
At Darwen, the mixer operator is stationed at the opposite side of the building with no direct line of sight or means of
communication with the driver. Customer surveys revealed that the loading tunnel on-site presented visual difficulties as drivers moved from daylight into the darker tunnel. Customer feedback said that the acuity of the loading zone needed to be improved but they also needed an indication of when the mixer door was about to open so that they didn’t leave the safety of their cab or move their vehicle.
Following a staff brainstorming session it was decided to install two outdoor LED screens that were visible to the customer from their cab.
The upper screen is linked to a high definition camera located adjacent to the mixer door which points directly onto the rear bed of a vehicle under the mixer. On the screen is a ‘Target Box’ showing the driver exactly where the load will drop.
The lower screen provides revolutionary real time plant information giving a five second warning of the impending discharge of hot material via a countdown clock. This screen can also be used to visually communicate with the customer. There are several pre-set messages which can be sent at the click of a button along with a free text option for unusual situations such as warning the driver about a hazard in or around their vehicle.
- Reduced risks associated with exposure to falling materials and burns
- Loading accuracy has significantly improved
- Huge reduction in the necessity for people to access their vehicles
- Turnaround times on-site have improved
- The free text option has already proved invaluable
- Reduced levels airborne dust or rogue hot material exposure
- No incidences of drivers leaving their cab whilst under the mixer
- Very positive feedback from customers
- A safer environment for all.