Working group to focus on improving digger and dumper safety

Frank Elkins

A new working group has been established with the aim of improving the safety of digger and dumper operations.

Hire Association Europe (HAE) has joined forces with Travis Perkins and other industry partners after investigations by Travis Perkins suggested the risks posed by the machines were a ‘serious industry-wide issue’.

A tragic accident involving a dumper last year was the catalyst for the initiative to form the Digger and Dumper Operational Safety Round Table. Overseen by HAE, the association’s members will focus on improving the recording of incidents, reviewing standards, engaging with manufacturers and making the sector aware of potential issues.

HAE said its Technical Health & Safety Group will be responsible for assessing the information gathered from members in an ‘established, systematic format that will enable the industry to respond to trends, review frequency, determine the root causes and relevant factors that contribute to incidents involving diggers and dumpers’.

It is anticipated that examining and interpreting the data will help the new working group improve safety for those operating diggers and dumpers by suggesting minimum safety standards that all businesses can support through more awareness, education and training.

The working group also plans regular dialogue with manufacturers, such as incorporating agreed safety features.

Frank Elkins, chief operating officer at Travis Perkins said, “Hire companies sharing best practices and initiatives amongst each other can lead to a best in class site hand over to ensure operational risks are minimised. Key plant manufacturers coming together and agreeing improvement in standards of the safety equipment and devices on these machines could lead to a significant reduction in these types of incidents. There would obviously be a cost to these improvements which the hire industry should be willing to bear.”

Paul Gaze, HAE commercial manager added, “By working together to gather reliable data we can agree a framework, including training and education, that will further improve safety standards by ensuring that operators are fully competent handling this machinery and are aware of the risks associated with their actions. We are looking for interested parties to volunteer to join the group and also meet up either face-to-face or using technology. Please do get in touch if you’d like to contribute.”