Chances are, you’ve seen one recently. On any given day, dump truckers are operating in a variety of environments ranging from gravel roads and rural highways to interstate highways and bridges. They represent much of the commercial vehicle traffic on our roadways, yet their safety needs can be unique.
While vehicle crashes are the most common cause of fatality in the workplace, dump trucks account for a large number of fatal occupational injuries at road work zones. Missouri Employers Mutual wanted to address some of those safety challenges by partnering with the Missouri Dump Truckers Association to provide Tool Box Talks for members.
Dump trucks: dangerous loaded or unloaded
“By nature of the truck, when loaded, dump trucks are top-heavy,” said Mark Woodward, safety and risk trainer at Missouri Employers Mutual. “But they are also dangerous when unloaded because an unloaded truck can’t stop as fast. The brakes can lock up and cause tires to ‘skip’ along the pavement instead of gripping and slowing the truck.” They also can operate on rough terrain and in harsh conditions, causing more wear and tear on the vehicle.
Also, the ownership of dump trucks can vary widely from construction companies to municipalities. Staff resources dedicated to safety may be limited.
“We wanted to provide resources that a business owner can use to reduce crash and injury risk,” Woodward said. “MDTA is very open to providing safety messages to their group and MEM wanted to support it.”
Safety concerns for dump truck drivers
Woodward said some of the main safety concerns for dump truck drivers and company owners are:
- Safe vehicle driving, to include speed management, seat belt use, distracted driving prevention and maintaining an operationally safe vehicle;
- Awareness of slip, trip and fall hazards, to include mounting and dismounting trucks, as well as working on difficult terrain such as construction jobsites, ice and snow;
- Awareness of job-specific hazards such as raising the dump bed into power lines, being caught under a falling dump bed and injuries such as smashed fingers and eye injuries;
- Driver complacency to include driver safety attitude, reducing aggressive driving, drug and alcohol-free workplaces.
Download the Tool Box Talks
Questions? Get in touch with our Safety and Risk Services team.