Vulcan started looking for solutions to keep drivers inside their trucks and away from the pumps. Off-the-shelf solutions did not adequately meet Vulcan's demands. "Anybody can provide a camera for looking right behind you when you are backing," says Luce. "Depending upon the type of pump and how high or low it was, or the angle the driver backed in on, that one rear-view camera mounted somewhere near the hopper wasn't sufficient all of the time to keep the driver away from the pump."
This is where a partnership was formed with Safety Vision. "We purchased two cameras for every truck," says Luce. "We had the rear view. The other one is detachable. We attach it to the chutes. This development process took over a year."
To control the hazard, Vulcan's team considered several camera configurations and arrangements until it selected the best design, which included mounting an adjustable bracket for the camera on the chute. "Now, if the driver needs to adjust the camera, the driver can make the adjustment safely and return to the cab before the material begins to flow down the chute," says Luce. "The new arrangement keeps the driver away from exposure to potential pump failure. Drivers can sit in their truck with the windows rolled up and watch the concrete come down the chute."
The new arrangement also provides added protection to the drivers from noise exposure. "We require ear protection," says Luce. "But allowing the driver to return to the cab provides additional protection." To help minimize noise exposure for its ready-mix concrete truck drivers, Vulcan requires the installation of air conditioning in all of its ready-mix concrete trucks.
The results have been impressive. "My ultimate goal is to keep drivers away from the pumps 95% of the time," says Luce. Unique jobsites and other conditions make 100% nearly impossible. "So there are some constraints. But in working with Safety Vision, we have been able to greatly reduce exposure. In my perspective, it is only fair to the drivers."
Drivers report the rear-view camera is a useful tool to ensure workers on the jobsite stay clear of the trucks. "Our perspective is it is just another mirror - another tool for our drivers to use," says Luce.
Vulcan justifies the investment through increased safety and improved conditions for drivers. "We will do what needs to be done to keep the drivers safe and healthy," says Luce.
Currently, Vulcan is in the process of prototyping and evaluating several event recorder systems, as well.
Useful training tool
Event recorders can help identify risky driving behaviors so they can be corrected. "The intent is driver risk management," says Rob Bartels, general manager, DriveCam.
The device begins to record when set thresholds are exceeded. "The event recorder has a tri-axis accelerometer on it," Bartels explains. "The accelerometer is set at certain thresholds, so when there is a braking incident - hard braking, swerving - that triggers an event."
The system remains on while the truck is in operation. "The event recorder is basically recording all of the time - video and audio - in 10-second loops," says Bartels. "When the trigger threshold is met, it freezes that 10 seconds and records an additional 10 seconds. That is a 20-second video and audio clip."
This clip is captured in the event recorder and wirelessly transferred to a PC when the vehicle returns. The PC then sends this video back to DriveCam. "At DriveCam, we analyze that video for risky behavior, score it appropriately with our scoring system, then make it available for our customer to view it," says Bartels. "We have coach's notes. They coach the driver and, by doing so, change driver behavior."
The system is often mounted behind the rearview mirror on the windshield, with one camera pointed at the driver and one pointed out front. This allows DriveCam to view both the event that occurred in front of the truck and how the driver reacted. It becomes apparent if the driver was scanning the road or looking in the mirrors.
In the off-road environment, many things can trigger the event recorder - a lot of which is not really of interest to the owner, such as potholes. As such, DriveCam provides experts in driver safety who are trained to quickly sort through the data and identify areas of risk. "What you need to see are just those 'nuggets' of risky driving behavior that you want to identify and change," says Bartels. "We do that filtering, that weeding out, and apply our expertise."