WorldWide Drilling Resource

Safety Solutions for Heavy Equipment Adapted from Information by PRECO Electronics Being struck by an object is one of the leading causes of construction worker deaths and, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 75% of those fatalities involved heavy equipment. One of the key is- sues lies with the blind spot associated with heavy equipment. Equipment operators might not see a worker in their blind spot or may assume the machine’s path of travel is clear. On the other side, workers on foot may not hear a vehicle’s backing alarm over the surrounding noise of the jobsite, or they may simply ignore it because they are focused on their own tasks. One of the leading causes of workplace fatalities is struck-by accidents, with 25% of those deaths involving construction workers - more than any other occupation. Employees are often backed over by heavy equipment, even with vehicles equipped with backup alarms, because the alarms are often ignored. A common reason preventable struck-by accidents happen on construction sites and elsewhere is accessible safety tech- nology is not installed or used. Although safety technology is becoming standard in the automotive industry, it hasn’t happened as quickly with heavy equipment. Even with original equipment man- ufacturers (OEMs) offering safety technology as a standard feature on new heavy equipment, existing equipment will have to be retrofit- ted with these technologies, especially considering the lifespan of heavy equipment. Vision systems, such as rear visibility cameras, have helped companies avoid accidents. However, this technology is a passive approach to collision avoidance, it requires the attention of the equip- ment operator. This places the responsibility of identifying an obstacle or person at risk in the hands of the operator. Active warning systems rely on sensor technology, such as object detection radar, to identify the potential danger. As soon as an object is detected, the operator receives an alert. This alert gives the operator the opportunity to identify the potential threat using the vision system, and take appropriate action. Integrating both active and passive safety solutions gives operators the best of both worlds. Regardless of where the operator’s attention is directed, if an object or person is detected, the system alerts the operator, and the operator is able to react before a potential accident occurs. Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) technology is active machine control which is one step closer to full equip- ment autonomy. ADAS combines active alerts that aid, warn, and assist opera- tors of heavy-duty equipment, allowing them to navigate and avoid collisions. Improvements being made in radar technology will soon allow operators to not only receive an alert when some- thing is in their blind zone, but also determine how far away the object is, the velocity at which it is moving toward the operator, and its location. 39 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® NOVEMBER 2020 C&G The WWDR office will be closed Thursday, November 26, to allow our employees to spend time with their families. Limited staff will be available on Friday, November 27; e-mail will be monitored. We wish you and yours a blessed and safe holiday.