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What manufacturers are doing to boost haul truck safety

By |  April 4, 2022
Photo: Doosan

Doosan’s articulated dump trucks are equipped with backup cameras. Photo: Doosan

“The public thinks that these guys and the equipment they’re driving see what’s going on around them [at all times],” he says. “But they’ve got to focus. They’ve got to produce. They are out there running and making things happen, so it is very challenging for them to be completely aware of everything that is going on around them all the time.”

Autonomous vehicles

Looking ahead, there are additional safety-enhancing advancements in the works for hauling operations.

One developing technology is autonomous vehicles, which would allow operators to control machines remotely on-site or in a control room. Autonomous vehicles eliminate the need for workers to be in a quarry, greatly reducing risks.

Kleingartner says Doosan is on the cusp of commercializing autonomous vehicles. He hopes to see it happen by 2025 or 2026.

“Sometimes, worksites are in an area where safety is a concern for an operator, and remote-control or autonomous vehicles are used today to accommodate those needs,” he says. “We have decided that we wanted to expand that and just make it across the entire jobsite. The concept is pretty simple: Via a drone, you scan the area. You know exactly how much material needs to be moved. You punch that into the system, and the trucks and excavators go and work autonomously.”

Training

Ultimately, the best way to prevent accidents is to properly train employees.

Before new employees ever begin work on-site, they absolutely must be trained and fully capable of operating machinery safely, Kleingartner says. Untrained or improperly trained employees pose great risk at jobsites.

“That operator training is going to be essential to make sure that they’re operating the machine in the intended way, in the safest way possible,” Kleingartner says.

Kleingartner adds that site managers should use telematics to ensure their haul truck operators are using best practices.

“A fleet manager or a site manager can look at data that’s available to them via a web-enabled device or within a specific app that can give them information about how that machine is being operated, the speeds of the machine [and] various different parameters that could help with operator training,” he says. “And [they can] follow up on best practices or make sure that things are being operated in compliance with the rules of the particular jobsite.”

Properly trained employees are essential to safe haul truck operation. But combining training with safety-boosting technologies is a more sure-fire way to keep employees safe.

“This is a smart investment,” Martell says. “It works. It’s effective. We have proven time and time again that with the technology, it reduces – if not eliminates – the accidents that the customers are concerned about.”

Carly Bemer

About the Author:

Carly Bemer (McFadden) is the associate editor at Pit & Quarry. She can be reached at 216-363-7930 or cbemer@northcoastmedia.net.

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