Construction sites are dangerous locations. Aside from the common construction hazards such as falls and machine injuries, trucks and construction site vehicles also pose a significant threat to everyone on site.
Along with the risk of injury, if you were to get hurt from an on-site truck or construction vehicle, you could be out of commission for weeks or months at a time to recover.
Trucks and other heavy vehicles are needed on construction sites. These vehicles assist the workers and make their job easier, especially if they’re working on large-scale projects. Unfortunately, these vehicles can also cause significant injuries, especially when used by untrained workers.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to reduce the risk of truck accidents on construction sites.
1. Don’t Let Untrained Workers Operate Trucks & Other Construction Vehicles
One of the most common reasons semi truck accident happen on construction sites is a lack of or improper training. It’s crucial to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. Therefore, every employee entrusted with handling trucks and other machinery should be trained correctly. It is imperative every worker is educated on safety measures to keep both themself and others safe.
Collisions and rollovers are two of the most common type of truck accidents on construction sites. These accidents could occur because of erratic, distracted, or reckless driving and are extremely dangerous to construction workers who’re on foot. Also, since most of the trucks on construction sites are larger and heavier, they could inflict significant injuries or damage if they collide with workers or other vehicles.
As such, construction workers should have hands-on training with trucks, other construction vehicles, and their operation. Also, don’t let workers who have no proper training operate such vehicles. Employers should ensure that workers assigned to operate trucks and other construction vehicles are licensed or have a certificate to show they are qualified to operate said vehicles.
Keep in mind construction vehicles can be both dangerous for both the operator and other construction workers. Operators should have basic mechanical knowledge about these vehicles in case there’s an issue or problem to address.
2. Check The Construction Site
Before you start to drive a truck onto a construction site, don’t forget to check the site first. Make sure everything is in order and there’s nothing to hinder traffic.
3. Inspect The Vehicles Regularly
It’s also important to inspect vehicles to ensure they’re in good operating condition. Operators should at least know basic mechanical maintenance procedures for these vehicles.
When a vehicle isn’t well-maintained, it could quicken the chances of mechanical problems. The tires may need to be changed because their treads have lost grip on the asphalt. Trucks are often driven lengthy distances, so wear and tear on the engines tends to increase. Be sure to avoid needing to repair engines to avoid accidents on-site. If engine repair is needed, try to schedule maintenance quickly to lessen downtime between orders.
It’s better to let a professional mechanic service these vehicles regularly. By doing so, you extend the lifespan of the vehicle and assure you’re sending drivers out in cars that have no issues.
4. Use The Vehicles Only As Intended
Every construction vehicle is designed to perform a specific task. Trucks, for example, are used to onload or offload construction materials such as sand, gravel, cement, etc. As such, you can’t use them for carrying heavy equipment such as excavators, cranes, and other wheel loaders.
You need to make sure each vehicle is only used for its intended purpose. Avoid overloading or overworking construction vehicles. Never load more than needed or allowed on a vehicle. The more objects carried, the longer it could take to move, which could result in an accident.
An operator has to be mindful of the payload capacity of their trucks. Depending on the amount of construction materials to onload, you may need a bigger truck to get everything stowed. Be smart and safe; if a bigger vehicle is needed, err on the side of caution and make the proper arrangements.
5. Avoid Abrupt Changes In Speed
When driving, it’s important for a driver to maintain a constant rate of speed, especially when on a construction site. If possible, try not to speed up or slow down abruptly. This is especially important if you’re driving within a construction site. Keeping your speed moderate while around potential hazards such as workers or other machinery could help you avoid potential situations where you might lose control.
6. Implement An Internal Traffic Control Plan
A backover accident, when a worker is struck by a vehicle backing up, is one of the most common causes of significant injuries on constructions sites.
Backover incidents are often caused by a variety of factors. There could be a worker that gets distracted, a backup alarm could be faulty, a vehicle operator might assume the path is clear, or a worker could in the vehicle’s blind spot. There could also be a scenario where a worker accidentally falls from a backing vehicle. Fortunately, backover incidents are preventable with the help of proper planning and better communication between the workers and vehicle operators.
One of the best ways to help prevent backover incidents is to implement an internal traffic control plan. Having a detailed control plan can help minimize the interaction between vehicles and workers on construction sites. This plan could specify specific routes for vehicles and workers. Road signs could be used to identify where trucks and heavy equipment should go on-site. Make sure proper signs are posted in areas where trucks are permitted to be driven. There should also be plenty of warning posters nearby to let workers know the rules of the job. Workers on foot shouldn’t be allowed on construction vehicle routes to avoid injury or potential delay of operating procedures for large trucks delivering construction materials.
By laying out specific routes and restricting vehicles to certain areas, backing incidents should be reduced and workers should have less risk to injury.
7. Provide Proper Communication
Communication is critical on construction sites. As an employer, you need to ensure the channels of communication are always open to everyone working on site.
If able, try to provide walkie-talkies or two-way radios to everyone, especially the truck drivers and heavy equipment operators. These technologies effectively reduce the risk of accidents. Radios ensure everyone is informed and on the same page so workers can move if a truck is coming in or speak with the driver to make sure they prevent hitting either workers of other equipment.
Workers should always be aware of moving trucks and heavy equipment. Communication between drivers, operators, and workers can help prevent tragic accidents from happening.
8. Be A Responsible Driver
You need to be a responsible driver to avoid trucking accidents. Truck drivers should follow the rules of both the road and their company. There are strict distances and durations that determine how long a driver can go on their journey. Drivers must follow these laws or risk being charged either a personal or company fine. Driving too fast can be risky, because trying to stop with heavy loads can be difficult and could cause accidents. Workers should exercise caution when driving, especially if carrying dangerous materials because they may need more time to stop.
9. Observe & Follow Safety Procedures
When preventing truck accidents on construction sites, it’s important to remember there are safety procedures in place. Make sure your crew is aware of the rules and that supervisors check in on workers periodically. It might be a good idea for the manager to check in with a truck driver frequently basis. Other than these steps, it’s up to management to ensure everyone obeys the rules and works safely. By keeping a safe environment, you’ll have a safer workplace.
Of course, prevention is always better than cure. If you’re working in an environment where you might be liable for injuries or damages, it’s crucial to try and avoid potential issues as much as possible. Avoiding injuries doesn’t only involve the mechanical aspects of a vehicle. It also includes things like wearing appropriate clothing, working in safe areas, and using the proper equipment. By keeping these things in mind, you can go a long way towards preventing and type of accident while on a construction site.
Truck accidents on construction sites are usually caused due to mechanical failure, driver error, or both and should be avoided by all means. Any accident should never be taken lightly because minor injuries could be fatal at the most unfortunate of times. Every measure should be taken to avoid trucking accidents on construction sites. Reducing the risk of having an accident on-site may not be easy. However, it’s not impossible. Always ensure you follow every precautionary measure so accidents do not take place. Have a safety plan for both driver and on-site worker. Keep lanes clear and put up signs that clearly mark specific locations for either worker or vehicle. Stick to the safety measures listed above and you’ll be able to avoid trucking accidents at any cost.