Know your blind spots
By Maria Hadlow09 August 2012
The UK's Spillard Safety Systems will be highlighting the dangers associated with blind spots on machines as part of a newly expanded education and training programme. The company will be taking part in a series of safety events in the UK this autumn including a Mineral Products Association (MPA) safety day, and a safety week organised by Tarmac.
"Technology alone is not enough to ensure the safety of people exposed to the dangers of limited visibility and blind spots on machines and vehicles," said managing director Pete Spillard.
"The industry knows only too well the tragic human effects, financial impact and reputational damage that have resulted from serious accidents in the past. But we're still seeing too many accident and fatalities on construction, mining and quarrying sites.
"And as well as equipping operators with the right on-board technology to improve all-round plant visibility, an important part of the answer is educating all of the people who work on site about visibility risks and how to avoid them."
One of the events where Spillard will be raising these issues and advancing some practical answers will be the MPA Midlands health and safety day, taking place at Bradgate House in Leicester on 18 October. Hosted by Midland Quarry Products and Hanson Aggregates, it aims to provide essential training to quarry operatives on many areas of health and safety.
Spillard will also be taking part in the Tarmac Northern and Scotland areas safety week, taking place between 17th and 21st September 2012 at Tarmac Barrasford Quarry. The focus of this event will include behavioural safety, workshop safety and housekeeping, and working at height. Spillard will be discussing visibility issues relating to blind spots and small vehicle segregation.
Site safety and visibility in particular are important issues to Spillard. Since the company started in 1992 it has given away more than 24000 1m "visibility sticks" used as a simple rule of thumb aid to measuring visibility around a machine. Over the past fifteen years, Spillard specialists have also carried out around 200 free visibility studies to map the blind spots on individual machines and vehicles. These are now available on the Spillard website and can be downloaded free.
Spillard's latest product launch is the Optronics ASL360 - the world's first 360deg surround view camera system for industrial and commercial vehicles.
"We're very serious about this education and training programme, and totally committed to it," said Mr Spillard. "We need to get through to everyone from quarry operatives to maintenance people who may have operated a fork lift, but remain unaware of the different level of risk presented by a 100t dump truck.
"Experience has shown that many people still assume they can be seen by an operator sitting up high on a machine, and that there are no blind spots. In many cases that simply isn't true. We're now looking at new ways we can help to get the message across and help to save lives - everything from posters to smart phone apps."