Technology is not enough, says Spillard

Spillard Safety Systems is stepping up its campaign to hammer home the message that more needs to be done to increase safety on mining and quarrying sites. As part of a newly expanded education and training programme, the company will be taking part in a series of safety events this autumn including a Mineral Products Association (MPA) safety day, and a safety week organised by Tarmac.

“Technology alone is not enough to ensure the safety of people exposed to the dangers of limited visibility and blind spots on machines and vehicles,” said MD Pete Spillard. “The industry knows only too well the tragic human effects, financial impact and reputational damage that have resulted from serious accidents in the past. But we’re still seeing too many accident and fatalities on construction, mining and quarrying sites. And as well as equipping operators with the right on-board technology to improve all-round plant visibility, an important part of the answer is educating all of the people who work on site about visibility risks and how to avoid them.”

One of the events where Spillard will be raising these issues and advancing some practical answers will be the MPA Midlands health and safety day, taking place at Bradgate House in Leicester on 18 October. Hosted by Midland Quarry Products and Hanson Aggregates, it aims to provide essential training to quarry operatives on many areas of health and safety.

Spillard will also be taking part in the Tarmac Northern and Scotland areas safety week, taking place between 17th and 21st September 2012 at Tarmac Barrasford Quarry. The focus of this event will include behavioural safety, workshop safety and housekeeping, and working at height. Spillard will be discussing visibility issues relating to blind spots and small vehicle segregation.

The company has been closely connected with efforts to improve site safety and visibility in particular since it first started in 1992. It has given away free more than 24,000 one metre “visibility sticks” used as a simple rule of thumb aid to measuring visibility around a machine. Over the past fifteen years, Spillard specialists have also carried out around 200 free visibility studies to map the blind spots on individual machines and vehicles. These are now available on the Spillard website and can be downloaded free.

Spillard’s latest product launch is the Optronics ASL360 – the world’s first 360 degree surround view camera system for industrial and commercial vehicles. It will be used as part of the safety discussions.  Already successfully proven in the high end passenger car market on the BMW 5 series and the Land Rover, Range Rover models, this highly sophisticated system takes visibility up to the next level by giving operators a real-time bird’s eye view of their entire vehicle and its surroundings.

“We’re very serious about this education and training programme, and totally committed to it,” said Pete Spillard. “We need to get through to everyone from quarry operatives to maintenance people who may have operated a fork lift, but remain unaware of the different level of risk presented by a 100 tonne dump truck. Experience has shown that many people still assume they can be seen by an operator sitting up high on a machine, and that there are no blind spots. In many cases that simply isn’t true. We’re now looking at new ways we can help to get the message across and help to save lives – everything from posters to smart phone apps.”