Site dumper hire and safety

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Site dumpers account for around a third of all accidents reported on construction sites involving vehicles.

Many of those accidents are of a serious nature, and some even result in death, so it is important to understand the dangers and to take steps to improve safety.

Dumper hire, in particular, needs extra care as drivers, even experienced ones, may not be familiar with the machine or the construction site.

One of the primary cause of accidents according to the Health and Safety Executive is driver error, usually due to lack of experience in driving dumpers or to the inappropriate operation of dumper controls.

Other leading causes of accidents involving site dumpers are overturning on steep slopes and embankments; driving into excavations, falling from the machine while riding over rough ground or accidentally striking a worker who is on foot.

There are those who rant against 'regulations', especially in the building and construction industries but these are dangerously high-risk working environments.

According to official statistics, although only 5% of workers are employed in the UK construction sector, it accounts for 27% of fatal accidents.

As both hirers and drivers of site dumpers, Clark & Kent take their legal, social and moral duty to prevent accidents very seriously.

We make certain that site dumpers for hire are properly maintained, equipped with safety features and are fully capable of carrying out the work they are expected to undertake.

Two of the most important elements to consider in site dumper safety are the machines' capacity and stability.

It is vital to hire a dumper that is the right size for the job. A small overloaded dumper is not only at greater risk of overturning, but it can also be much harder to bring to a halt. A dumper that is too large will be harder to drive and more difficult to manoeuvre.

The dumper must also be suitable for site conditions, and a tracked dumper will be much more stable on steep slopes and rough ground, for example.

But the most important safety consideration is for dumper driver protection, not only against the dangers of rolling over but drivers being hit by falling overhead materials. All dumpers for hire by Clark and Kent have roll-over protective structures (ROPS) and seat restraining belts fitted where necessary.

One of the biggest causes of injury is dumper drivers trying to throw themselves clear of a rolling vehicle with tragic results. Far better to be held under a ROPS bar by a firm seat restraint.

And the biggest safety feature of a site dumper is the driver. A competent, experienced and level-headed dumper driver will avoid dangerous situations, take extra care where required and keep to designated safe operational routes.

Only drivers with appropriate skills and training should drive a site dumper. An experienced driver will know how the machine will handle, avoid dangerous slopes and keep a safe distance from excavations and other hazards.

Site managers should also take care to ensure site dumper routes are safe, position markers near trenches and other danger spots, keep site workers on foot away from traffic routes and ensure dumpers are safely loaded.

For further advice on construction site safety, the Heath & Safety Executive publishes a range of leaflets and other free publications on their website, and further information is available from the Construction Industry Training Board which offers safety training courses across the UK

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