Leading contractor Chepstow Plant International, like many contractors, takes health and safety very seriously. They have increased their focus on ADT safety and operator training to ensure that their quarry operatives are maintaining the best possible levels of safe working practice on site. Their Volvo Excavator Simulator training service is now also being offered to other contractors and quarry businesses.
John Corcoran, managing director of Chepstow explains, “The ADT has become the vehicle of choice given its scope and capabilities - they’ve been used in a variety of applications over the years with a design that ensures the safety of the operator should anything go awry. But with increased ADT use, a new set of challenges to quarrying has arisen. We’ve analysed some of these by working alongside our quarry customers to find solutions, such as reviewing operating procedures to provide optimum terrain conditions for ADTs to work on, having trucks equipped with extra safety technology, supported by state-of-the-art operator training for ADT drivers.”
Among an extensive fleet of plant, in which the majority of excavating machines weigh in at 30-80 tonnes, Chepstow also operates a large number of articulated dump trucks. The company added 73 Volvo ADTs to their fleet in the past year alone.
Having that many machines requires large numbers of highly skilled operators - all whom must be familiar with the latest equipment and capable of working in a safe, productive manner on site. The majority of the company’s work is in quarrying, so Chepstow routinely qualifies its operators to Mineral Products Qualifications Council (MPQC) Plant Operator Competency Scheme levels.
In line with Chepstow’s initiative, excavator operators have to prepare level-loading areas, dozer operators must keep level tips and stockpiles, and methodology and geotechnical assessments now have to be detailed to support the developments with new ADT stability programme. The company also keeps an ADT Risk Register and changed its operating procedures. Every site where ADTs are going to be used is visited by Safety and Quality Manager, Steve Smith who says, “We thoroughly assess weather conditions, unstable or uneven ground levels, the plant being operated, pre-start daily inspections, tyres, haul roads, inclines and downhill haul sections, plus loading and tipping areas, and reinspect again a few days after work has started. For us, safety always comes before production.”
In addition, one of Chepstow’s client partners, Tarmac, recently worked alongside them to develop an inclinometer that allows for an even greater safety margin during ADT operations, providing improved preventative controls to stop the rear chassis of an ADT from turning over in the kind of extreme terrain conditions that quarrying, by its very nature, is susceptible to.
Steve says, “It compensates for any ‘overly enthusiastic’ handling that quarrying operatives may engage in. We all know that in severe conditions, the rear chassis of an ADT can roll over leaving the cab safely upright, safeguarding the operator, but we would much rather there was never a situation where it risks being done at all! Now, if the body of a truck tilts more than 9 degrees either left or right, the system will automatically alert the operator and stop the tipping hydraulics. Likewise, if the body is down, the operator will be warned if the rear section of the chassis exceeds 12 degrees of roll angle during travel.”