Defensive Driving at a Construction Site – Here’s Why It Needs Your Attention.
Driving safety at a construction site remains a prominent safety issue. Even years of experience can sometimes not withhold driving errors & workplace incidents.
To ensure a safe & accident-free site, particularly pertaining to the vehicles & moving equipment used for construction, there are Government rules & regulations that work as the fundamental guidelines. They contain the dos and don’ts for driving at a construction site that exist to ensure the driver’s safety, as well as the safety of others on the road, or in this case, the site.
Let us begin by understanding what exactly are the challenges, especially pertaining to driving at the construction site.
Challenges of Driving at Construction Site
Safety is paramount. Whether trucks carry materials to and fro from the construction site or work internally at the site. Both these fleets have a significant no. of challenges that they come across while driving on-site, which could lead to serious near misses or accidents.
Let’s just quickly understand what points could end up being quite the risk, when driving:-
- Employing temporary or contract-based drivers without proper training.
- Skipping toolbox talks with the drivers, failing to make them aware of the challenges on the site as well as the imminent weather changes.
- Improper tracking of the driver’s training sessions.
- Drivers not following the fundamental safety guidelines.
- Not checking if the driver is physically & mentally fit to drive the vehicle/equipment that day.
These are, on the surface, driving challenges faced on the construction site. The drivers face daily challenges as the site work progresses. So how does one ensure foolproof safety?
Well, here are some tips that may help reduce accidents, incidents, and injuries particularly due to driving. If implemented correctly, these defensive actions will ensure driving in the safest way possible.
Tips for Driving Safety at Construction Site
Wearing someone’s shoes and knowing the current situation is far more different than simply guiding them. This means that it is absolutely vital that the driver precisely knows their vehicle that they are going to be driving. Post that, the training and guidance should be used to refresh what the driver already knows, to inform them about the construction site & the type of terrain, the weather conditions, so on & so forth.
Correct Wrong Driving Habits Immediately
The safety authorities must immediately address bad driving habits. This may be noticed physically or in their digital systems. For example, if one of the drivers does not follow the barricade or fencing system or exceeds the decided speed limit to try to reach faster, they should be immediately corrected. These immediate actions help create awareness.
Designated Entry and Exit Points
Giving dedicated entry and exit points for vehicles or mobile equipment. The entry-exit points should be mapped in such a way that it is wide enough for easy entry/exits, convenient loading & unloading of materials is possible and they should be far from everyday pedestrians’ in and out gates . This may seem minor, but it makes a huge difference. The drivers can drive without the fear of injuring workers, and also, these entry points can satisfactorily evaluate and check the credentials of the drivers or inspect the vehicles etc. if required.
Make the Use of Spotter Compulsory and Definite
A spotter is best described as a qualified expert whose responsibility it is to ensure a job is done in the safest manner possible to avoid injury, warning others of any unsafe approaches to a job or project. A spotter ensures double safety of the construction vehicles. They should wear highly visible clothes and maintain a position wherein the driver can see their signs clearly. Spotters can view the blind spots, ensure safe loading and unloading, and effectively communicate with the driver.
Provide Defensive Driving Training/Toolbox talk Regularly
Despite the driver having the required license, defensive driving training must be provided. It is like brushing up on the laws & guidelines, in-case they have forgotten any. Organising daily toolbox talks can help for refreshing this information or bringing to light a few key points, before commencing the work.
Some inclusions of the essential training are:-
- Fundamentals of defensive driving
- Unloading/loading plan management
- Delivery knowledge about the type of products (especially liquids)
- Maintenance of vehicles
- Emergency response plan
- Importance of following road and driving rules
The list can be configured according to the work of the driver. But it should be updated and reminded regularly.
Why Does It Require Attention?
Driver’s focus, behaviour, skills, and safety are the prime components for positive and safe working at a construction site. The safety manager must foresee that the drivers have the required skills, knowledge, tools, and training to be efficient at their job. Perform surprise checks to know the current status of the vehicle and the driver.
Proper defensive driving training ensures;
- Accurate safety driving and well-maintained equipment.
- Zero or minimum potential injuries, incidents, and accidents.
- A valuable investment for the business and its employees.
We are not unaware of the various challenges that already preside over a construction site. The constant risk of incidents/accidents/near misses can be daunting. It becomes two-folds when it comes to the gigantic vehicles & mobile equipment moving around the uneven terrain of the construction site. These few tips, from the many, could help to a certain extent.