Monster Trucks Driven By Distracted Drivers And Other Mining Industry Dangers
There has been a lot of buzz in the media about drivers texting or using social media apps behind the wheel, but the problem doesn’t stop when they get to work. Any industry that uses commercial drivers is potentially vulnerable to accidents caused by distracted drivers, and the mining industry is no exception. So is there a safe and cost effective solution out there?
Drivers in mining operations face the challenges of remote job sites, operating vehicles with large blind spots, long hours with rigid schedules to maintain production, narrow roads overlooking steep drops and an ever-changing environment and layout. Drivers must maintain a high level of alertness whenever they are behind the wheel. It only takes a moment of inattentiveness for disaster to strike.
Think of it this way…You are probably reading this on your computer of mobile phone the same way you read most things. In fact, if you work with PCs all day you are reading and creating and editing on computers all day. Now imagine (you don’t have to imagine real hard) you miss an urgent email or delete a file accidentally because you were chatting or watching a youtube video in the background while you work. This is the distracted driver of heavy machinery equivalent except those mistakes lead to major damage, financial losses and possibly death instead of a typo or missing email.
The real cost of a distracted driving incident goes far beyond the incident itself and can have long-term effects on the business.
- Damaged and destroyed equipment.
- Lost productivity and disrupted operations, sometimes for weeks as the incident is investigated.
- Workman’s compensation or life insurance payouts.
- Emotional distress and decreased morale from witnesses and co-workers.
- Litigation from family members or regulatory bodies.
- Increased regulatory scrutiny.
Industry experts have long recognized distraction and fatigue as major threats to mining site safety. Cell phones pose special challenges because they are a potential source for distraction, but they are also used to communicate with drivers so banning them entirely is not always an option. Mining operators need a way to keep drivers off the phone while driving, but still be able to reach them by phone or walkie talkie if necessary.
While many local operations and the US Dept. of Labor have rules and policies against using cell phones for personal use on the job, enforcement for drivers has been challenging. Many drivers operate their vehicles alone without direct supervision. Some companies monitor phone records for company phones, but that still requires manually matching phone logs with work logs. Drivers can also have a personal phone with them and use that instead. Cameras are an option in some vehicles, but the footage must be reviewed and makes drivers feel like they are under scrutiny.
What mining companies need is a way to identify drivers who use cell phones on the job and violate safety policies. The BVS TransitHound makes the job quick and easy. The system installs in the vehicle and logs the time, date and duration of any calls made from the driver’s seat. It can also pick up mobile phone activity including texting, voice and social media apps like Facebook. Real time alerts can be sent to the manager or the driver themselves as well as timestamped call records for later comparison.
Distracted drivers are a risk to themselves, the equipment and everyone around them. Mining has its risks, but drivers distracted by cell phones doesn’t have to be one of them. Contact Berkeley today to talk about how you can make your mining job site safer.
Wireless, RF, Security Detection at Berkeley Varitronics SystemsBerkeley Varitronics Systems (BVS) designs and manufactures innovative, RF analysis and wireless threat detection tools for businesses, and government organizations to manage secure facilities and maintain wireless networks.