At the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) mid-year meeting in Seattle in July, the association gave a 2015 Asphalt Operations Safety Innovation Award to Superior Paving Corp. of Gainesville, Virginia, for its implementation of a McCav air brake warning system. The system visually and audibly alerts drivers if they leave the vehicle without engaging the safety brake. This innovation helps to avert roll-away accidents. Superior has installed the system on its entire fleet of trucks, including dump trucks, all-service vehicles, tack trucks, crash cushion vehicles, and low-boy tractors.
“If we can avert one accident, the system has paid for itself,” Todd Atkins, director of safety for Superior Paving, said. “Our most important asset, obviously, is our folks, and we can’t replace them. We can buy all the equipment in the world but you can’t buy people.”
Another way to implement safety around delivery vehicles is through training and the teaching of routine maintenance and basic safety measure. Make sure all haul truck drivers know the basic best practices to keep mix delivery—or millings removal—safe for everyone. For instance:
- Attend the pre-job prep meeting for details and project scope. This is where you’ll get the route directions and special instructions.
- Make sure the backup alarm is functional.
- Make sure the truck’s “Construction Vehicle—Do Not Follow” sign is clean and visible.
- Never load a truck in excess of the vehicle’s registered gross vehicle weight.
- Put a tarp/canvas over the load to protect the public from falling debris and to keep the perishable product from cooling.
- Keep headlights, 360-degree beacons and 4-way flashers on.
- Do not leave the vehicle when at the plant or on the job site. If you must get out of the cab for any reason, you must be wearing a safety vest and hardhat.
- Do not make unauthorized U-turns and do not exceed posted speed limits; drivers must obey all state and city traffic laws.
- Do not use cell phones or other distracting devices while working. All CB radios, company radios, etc., should be used for legitimate business only.
- When backing to the paver (or milling machine): use proper protocol, backup alarms and safety. Use both mirrors, watch for ground personnel and follow the dump man’s guidance.
- When leaving the paver: pull out to the left, allowing the next truck to back in. Go to the designated clean-out area to care for the truck prior to returning to the plant or truck yard.
Of course there are other safety items you’ll want to keep in mind to be the safest haul truck driver in your fleet. Be mindful of traffic laws as well as best practices to keep yourself, the traveling public, and your co-workers alive and well.