Ready Mix Truck Procedures
As part of the initiative to provide the employees at Norwalk Ready Mix with the knowledge and understanding of safe practices, the management is putting in place a written procedure for mixer use. The following written program will be dealing with various mixer procedures involved in the daily work of a driver. All the information herein has been approved by the management of Norwalk Ready Mix and will be put in place as a written policy which is to be upheld and followed by all employees dealing with the operation of a ready mix truck. Any questions dealing with the information herein can be brought to either the managerial staff of Norwalk Ready Mix, or the Safety Director, Jamen Hull.
Training will be conducted on mixer procedures by the safety director. Although it is impossible for a safety program to cover all the potential hazards employees may encounter on the road or on a jobsite, one statement stands true for all jobsites: Safety must be your first consideration and highest priority.
Sections covered during training sessions will include the following:
1. Truck inspections
2. Identifying pinch points on your mixer
3. Mounting and dismounting your truck
4. Washing down procedures
5. Safety precautions on the jobsite
6. Near Misses
All employees will be given training on these procedures. Any new employee will be given training at the time of hiring.
Retraining will be given whenever a new element involving a mixer is introduced into the workplace, or whenever a change would occur in the company’s policy pertaining to mixer procedure.
A list of trained employees and the dates of their training will be on file at the main office and maintained by the Safety Director.
The purpose of this policy is to provide a procedure that establishes requirements for the safe and practical methods to be used every time, by every employee in order to protect against the hazards of a ready mix truck. This program is to be used as a safe guard to ensure safety to employees as well as contractors and the general public. As stated before, not every potential hazard can be identified in the safety program so it is imperative for employees to use common sense and their best judgment when a potential hazard presents itself.
Compliance With This Program
All employees are required to adhere to the instructions listed within this written procedure. Failure to comply with this policy can result in a written warning, suspension, or even termination. On site safety inspectors are in place at each plant and will be instructed to watch drivers and offer feedback to the Safety Director in order to help with the compliance of this program.
Inspecting your truck daily is not only federal mandated, but it is also a precaution that could save a life. Norwalk Ready Mix already has a truck check out sheet that lists the various parts of a truck to be checked out daily before it is put into operation. When going to check out your truck check its general appearance. Is it leaning to one side or the other? Are there any puddles formed around it? Are the hoses in good shape and secure? These are all questions you should ask yourself when you observe the general appearance. It is also important to check you tires for proper pressure and to make sure they are in overall good condition. The D.O.T. requires at least a 4/32” tread depth on the front tires.
When checking under the hood be sure to check your oil, engine coolant, and power steering fluid. Also make sure that all hoses are in good condition, check to ensure all belts are in place and not cracked or worn. Check all site gauges to ensure proper levels of fluid such as hydraulic oil.
Check all your lights to make sure they are all working properly and not cracked, broken, or out of service. Windows and mirrors need to be cleaned and free of major cracks or chips. Be sure that the mirrors are adjusted to your personal settings before you put the mixer in service.
When in the cab, make sure that all loose items are unable to roll under your feet while you are driving. Also check the gauges, pressure readings, lights wipers and brakes. Be sure that you have your safety vest and hardhat in your cab and ready to use at all times. Also be sure to check that the fire extinguisher is properly mounted, and that the pin is secured in it. Safety triangles need to be checked periodically to be sure they are in good shape and ready to use if needed. There are many parts of your mixer that need to be checked out. All of these points listed in this written program are on the truck check out sheet to help you with the process of checking your truck out. Be sure to thoroughly check your mixer each and every day.
Identifying Pinch Points on Your Mixer
A pinch point is any place where the hand or even the entire body can be crushed between two moving objects, or a moving object and a stationary one. There are a number of pinch points on every mixer. Some have more than others such as a ten yard truck with its bridgemaster. Pinch point accidents are common amongst ready mix drivers, and they most often affect the hand. The types of injuries seen frequently in the ready mix industry include:
Fingers or hands getting caught between the rollers and the drum
Hands or arms getting caught by the fins while washing down
Around chutes when putting them on or folding them down
Around the bridgemaster when it is going down (feet) or coming up (arm/hand)
Hands getting caught in a door
Between the hopper and drum
Cleaning rollers while they are in motion
Nationally pinch point accidents make up 15% of all OSHA recordable injuries. That is almost one in every six cases. At the same time pinch point accidents are preventable by focusing on the job you are doing and the possible consequences of your actions. Listed below are some tips to keep you safe from getting hurt due to a pinch point accident.
Perform a hazard analysis on job tasks associated with your truck to identify possible pinch point hazards
Wear the right kind of gloves for the job. Wearing them around moving equipment may pose an additional hazard
Never tamper with machine guards. Always replace guards after making repairs
Be careful when loading rebar on your truck. Do not grab more than necessary.
Don’t wear jewelry or loose clothing around moving objects.
Long hair may present a hazard when working with moving objects.
Shortcuts count for a lot of pinch point injuries. Trying to clean the bowl extra good so you don’t have to chip as much out, trying to clean a roller faster by having it turn, or just not wanting to take the time to walk to the front of your truck and turn it off. You might spend five minutes of your day doing your job without a shortcut, or you can spend the rest of your life wondering why you didn’t. Hindsight is 20/20. Let this program be your foresight.
Mounting and Dismounting Your Truck
Many accidents are caused by slips and falls when climbing on or off a truck. This includes getting in the cab or up the ladder to wash down. Slip and fall accidents account for 30% of all reportable injuries. That is roughly 1 out of every 3 cases. In the ready mix industry alone, slips and falls account for 50% of injuries to concrete drivers according to the National Safety Council. The policy that Norwalk Ready Mix will be implementing concerning this subject is the 3 point entry / exit method. It is a simple concept that basically states three points of your body should at all times be on the vehicle. When mounting the vehicle from either the cab or the ladder, put two hands on the truck before you bring one foot up to meet the truck. Use the hand grips on your truck with a firm grip. When dismounting from either the cab or the ladder, use the same method as mounting, three points of your body firmly placed on the truck. A lot of drivers tend to jump out of the cab not knowing what the terrain under their feet is like which is just asking for an injury to an ankle or back.
Another good method to reduce the chance of a slip or fall is wearing a pair of work boots with good traction. As all employees know, the jobsites are often muddy and it is easy to slip under these conditions. Be sure to clean the mud off of your boots before entering the cab or climbing the ladder. Muddy boots can cause you to slip off the steps and even cause your feet to slip off the clutch which could cause another hazardous situation. It is very important to always exercise caution when walking around a jobsite, especially if you are carrying your chutes. It is common for the terrain to be rough and cause your feet to give out from under you if you are not paying attention.
Washing Down Procedures
As far as safety at Norwalk Ready Mix is concerned, washing down a mixer has been a major factor in serious injuries. Drivers work around over 60% of the pinch points on a mixer. Coming in direct contact with a pinch point is obviously unnecessary; however it has happened in the past. Norwalk Ready Mix is establishing a written policy on the correct way to wash down a ready mix truck. This policy will be put in place with the purpose of preventing drivers from an injury. All drivers will be expected to abide by this mandatory policy put in place.
When washing down a mixer, unfold the ladder and stand clear to avoid being hit should it happen to slip out of your hand. If the truck has a bridgemaster, stand clear of it while it is in motion. Drivers should put bowl in full charge with engine in a 2/3 throttle speed. This will allow for consolidation of the product but keep the bowl at a safe enough speed to prevent rocking of the truck or any other unsafe hazard that would otherwise compromise the safety of the driver. Do not wash down the mixer without putting it in full charge. All trucks are different so if a driver needs to have the throttle adjusted to a 2/3 engine speed, see the Safety Director or the plant mechanic. Mount the ladder using the three point method as described previously, and stand with both feet firmly planted on the platform. A safety feature provided by the manufacture of our mixers is the low set platform on our ladders. The reason that the platform is so low is to keep the driver’s center of gravity below the hopper. This is a measure designed to keep a driver from falling inside of the drum. In the past drivers have made steps to put on the platform in order to override this safety measure and get a better vantage point to wash down. That is absolutely prohibited from happening again. Steps or any other device that is not put there by the manufacturer will not be allowed. Although it will make for a lesser vantage point to wash down, leaving the platforms the way they were designed will keep drivers safe from a potentially dangerous hazard. Chipping out a drum is far better than losing a finger, hand, and especially your life.
When on the platform to wash down, keep both feet firmly planted on the platform. Keep all body parts such as hands and fingers clear from moving parts. Do not place your hand past the inside of the hopper for any reason. All hands should be kept outside of the bowl at all times. Drivers should never use their hands to wipe the ring of the bowl or any other moving part regardless of the situation, whether it is to clean the grime off or dry it to prevent rollers from freezing. A roller should never be touched by either a hand or tool while in motion. All hands must stay a minimum of one foot away from all moving parts.
Never use you left hand to wash down the inside of your bowl. The position of your body when holding the hose in your left hand washing the inside of the drum, prevents you from having a clear line of sight to observe the positioning of your hand. It would be too easy to place your hand far enough inside the drum and get it caught on a fin creating a dangerous hazard.
All washing down should be from either the top of the ladder with both feet firmly planted on the pedestal, or from ground level with both feet always touching the ground. There is absolutely no reason to stand on either the bridgemaster or the flop down chute to wash down a truck. Anyone caught standing on anything other than the approved places listed above will get a written warning for a first time offense and suspension up to termination for all other offenses.
When drivers are done washing down, secure your hose and put your ladder in its upright position. Do not drive to or from a job with the ladder down. Take the bowl out of full charge and put it in a slow charge. A drum turning too fast while traveling on the road adds an unnecessary hazard.
Safety Precautions on the Jobsite
Safety on the jobsite is one of the most important aspects a driver faces on a daily basis. Not only does a driver have to be aware of their own safety, but also the safety of the contractor and the general public. It is important to have job awareness for every job, every time.
Always survey a jobsite before entering. Take a walk to the spot the contractor wants your truck observing such things as rough or steep terrain, potential hazards, or any obstacles that might be in your way. Talk to other drivers on the site if they are available. If the jobsite seems unsafe or if you feel there is a safer way to do what the contractor wants, talk to the contractor an express your concerns. If the contractor refuses to listen to you, call the dispatcher and explain the situation to him. Do not rely on the contractor to point out all the hazards of a jobsite.
When putting on chutes drivers should lift the chutes with their legs, not their back. Avoid twisting your torso while carrying chutes. When you do need to turn, do it on firm ground. Stabilize the chute on your shoulder when carrying it to or from your truck. Be aware of the terrain you are walking on to avoid stepping on something that would cause you to lose your footing. When putting your chutes on keep hands clear of pinch points.
Be sure that you always have a spotter to back you up to the job. If you lose sight of your spotter in the mirrors, stop immediately. The spotter may have just moved into a blind spot or they may have fallen behind the mixer. Never back into a job assuming that every obstacle is out of your way. Many jobsites have curious children who are naïve to the dangers that are on a site. It is important to keep an eye out for workers, pedestrians, and children at all times. If you are told to move from one spot to another while on the job, always get out and check your back path. If you are backing up to an excavated hole to pour a footing for instance, back up to the hole perpendicular rather than parallel if possible. If you are parallel to a hole and too close to the edge, the bank could give way and cause your truck to tip completely over. The Norwalk Ready Mix policy for backing parallel to a hole is to stay at least one foot away for every foot of excavation depth. An eight foot hole would require at least an eight foot distance from the edge of the bank. As mentioned before however being parallel to a hole is only acceptable if it is not possible to be perpendicular.
There is an old saying- The customer is always right. When it comes to safety however, you can’t do what the customer request if it is illegal, unsafe, or against company policy. If ever in doubt of the safety or legality of any procedure, call the dispatcher and explain the situation in a factual manner.
There will be times when a driver will encounter a customer who may not know the hazards of unhardened concrete such as cement burn. If ever faced with a situation that implies the customer may be harmed in the way they are doing the job, the driver is responsible for telling the customer of the potential hazards involved. It is not the responsibility of a driver to make the customer stop, but it is to inform them. Every truck has MSDS sheets on unhardened concrete that can be passed out to such customers. Replacement MSDS sheets can be obtained from the Safety Director.
The definition of a near miss is an incident that almost happened. A close call. Behind every accident is a sequence of near misses. In the safety world, a near miss is a golden opportunity to make changes and help prevent accidents at nobody’s expense. The purpose of reporting near misses is to gather facts and make a strategy to provide a safer environment. It is not an opportunity to place blame or to reprimand. It is a way for the employees of Norwalk Ready Mix to offer suggestions to management to get their ideas of what needs to be done to prevent an incident.
Across America, nearly 50 workers are injured every single minute of a 40 hour work week. Nearly every accident has a near miss behind it. Nearly every accident could be prevented by acknowledging the near miss behind it and taking action. With years and years of history that includes disabling injuries making workers just like you unable to provide for their family, it is difficult to say that “accidents happen without warning.”
If you see the frequency of minor injuries is increasing, this tells you that sooner or later a serious, or perhaps fatal, accident is likely to happen. Because of this, every accident, whether the result is no injury, minor injury, or property damage, must be reported, investigated, causes determined, and corrective action implemented so that it will not happen again. If the causes of a near miss are not corrected, the same condition or conditions that caused the first injury are still there waiting to cause another accident, perhaps with more serious consequences.
There is a simple acronym that helps to give insight into the steps of reporting near misses. It is as follows:
Recognize – a potential incident
Enter – the near miss on a form and get it to a supervisor
Perform – corrective action
Offer – information to fellow co-workers
Reinforce – the reporting by getting feed back and taking further action
Track – reports to areas that need more work
It is not the agenda of Norwalk Ready Mix to punish a person for reporting a near miss that happened to them, quite the opposite actually. We encourage our employees and thank them for doing their part to help make this establishment as safe as possible. Near misses or property damage that occurred while doing your job is a warning. Take them seriously and make corrections, so there will not be a “next time,” when the incident is not a near miss, but results in a serious injury.