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    RESEARCHERS CALL FOR IMPROVED DUMPER DESIGN

    Current designs take little account of operator comfort and welfare

    HSL Research Report RR1066 – The use and non-use of seat belts in the operation of forward tipping dumpers has been published by HSE.

    If a forward tipping dumper (FTD) overturns the operator will be protected from death and serious injury by wearing their seat belt. The seat belt works in combination with the roll over protection system (ROPS) to keep the operator in their seat, preventing them being crushed by the machine.

    Experience has shown that some operators fail to use the seat belt thereby increasing the risk of death or serious injury should the machine overturn. The HSL research aimed to better understand the reasons why operators do not to wear their seat belt when operating the machines.

    The research also explored potential solutions that would encourage operators to wear their seat belt more, including possible design control measures such as immobilisation technology, alternative designs of seats and seat belts, and of the overall FTD machine.

    See Current Precautions required when using a FTD.

    Key Messages – Design and Management

    1. The researchers found that the reasons why operators of forward tipping dumpers (FTDs) may not wear their seat belts are multi-factorial, with important factors being:

    • Low levels of trust in the combined seat belt/roll over protection system (ROPS);
    • Wearing the seat belt is seen as inconvenient and uncomfortable; and
    • The basic nature of the typical seat belt design results in belts becoming dirty and easily damaged.

    2. Manufacturers could improve the wearing of seat-belts by making changes to aspects of the design of FTDs. Manufacturers should consider, in priority order, the following design changes:

    • Fitting integral cabs;
    • Changing the seat/ROPS design to allow the fitting of three or four point seat restraint systems, equipped with sophisticated interlock/immobilisation technology; and
    • Fitting robust, retractable lap seat belts instead of the more damage susceptible non-retractable variety and also equipped with sophisticated interlock/immobilisation technology.

    3. Manufacturers of FTDs could do more to involve end-users in the design process.

    4. Groups, organisations and stakeholders representing the Construction Industry should  drive a change process by actively encouraging the use of higher specification FTD designs on site. FTDs are operated in all weather conditions all year round. Current designs take little account of operator comfort and welfare and this is likely to impact negatively on productivity and safety.

    5. Construction companies could do more at site level to monitor and enforce the wearing of seat-belts.

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