OPERC Meet With the HSE (29/09/2003)
On September 29th, 2003, Mr Barry Robinson, OPERC President attended a meeting with over 20 inspectors at the Midlands branch of the Health and Safety Executive to discuss how UK industry can successfully implement All Round Visibility (ARV) technology. In particular, Mr Robinson discussed the potential practical applications of all round visibility but also highlighted potential limitations of use. For example, convex mirrors fitted to large 'fast moving' vehicles can suffer from vibration and vision distortion. He also suggested that a new term adopted by OPERC, namely 'All Round Awareness' (ARA) (including, audible and visual alarms as well as machine design features) be used in preference since this encompasses all aspects of operator awareness and not just vision.
Mr Robinson praised the excellent work of manufacturers, such as Caterpillar and JCB and also equipment dealerships (e.g. Finning (UK)), for their innovative and ground-breaking work into the redesign of plant and equipment to allow greater visibility. CAT's new downward curved Articulated Dump Truck (ADT) engine compartment was noted as representing the very best in practical machine design as it allowed greater visibility without the need for additional ARA aids. It was suggested that manufacturers ought to be formerly congratulated for their efforts to date.
The presentation concluded with the point that industry require more practical guidance on how to meet legislative requirements and that any guidance provided should be machine and industry specific. In other words, a 'one system fits all' approach may not represent the best means of raising standards and reducing accident rates. In addition, it was recommended that practitioners conduct a full risk assessment before fitting any ARA aids and that mirrors fitted by manufacturers are not removed.
Members may find ISO5006 to be a good introductory text to this topic area.