Creating a Safer Environment for Crews on Site
By Douglas Smith, Regional Health & Safety Manager
It’s the height of construction season, and as contractors work to manage ongoing project demands on short timelines, they must also continue to make safety a priority. Your employees’ understanding of pitfalls and risks, as well as how to create a safer environment, is essential. From providing employees shade and hydration in warmer weather to ensuring everyone is using his or her safety gear properly, there are a variety of ways to keep work crews safe.
One area that needs close attention is knowing the “No Zone.” The No Zone refers to blind spots that surround large commercial vehicles, like concrete mixers and cement tankers, that create high-risk situations. These spots are out of the operator’s view and are unique to each type of vehicle.
In a concrete mixer, the No Zone creates particularly dangerous situations at the back and passenger side of the vehicle. In these areas, the blind spots are much larger, causing the driver to have a reduced or completely obscured view of pedestrian traffic. To put this into perspective, a driver of a cement mixer is unable to clearly see objects or people at ground level for 44 feet to the rear of the vehicle and for 29 feet to the right of the passenger side door.
Education and open dialogue are the best approaches for addressing these challenges. When crews are pushing to meet deadlines and schedules, they are more likely to not identify risks, particularly around the No Zone. Maintaining daily toolbox talks and pre-job risk assessments can help crews focus on the task at hand and better assess and control these hazards. An important reminder for customers to give their crews during these talks is that they should never control or operate any part of our company trucks, except when a driver has given specific authorization. Even in these circumstances, it’s important for crews to follow the driver’s careful instructions.