A-Plant leads the industry in ‘safe working at height’ for drivers

Following an extensive six month development project, leading equipment rental company, A-Plant, has launched an innovative new 26T vehicle which offers drivers maximum protection when loading and unloading plant equipment. Equipped with a hydraulic walkway which is operated at the touch of a button, the new vehicle – which is unique to A-Plant – is designed to prevent falls from height whilst also offering an abundance of other safety features.

A-Plant’s Director of Transport Services Shaun Winstanley said:

“There are inherent dangers faced by drivers working at height on commercial vehicles during loading and unloading operations. This new vehicle is revolutionary to our industry as it incorporates a hydraulically operated walkway down one side of the vehicle, allowing drivers to safely enter and exit the items of plant when loading and unloading. This is a major safety benefit particularly when drivers are transporting items that are the same width as the vehicle body. Several of our major customers have already requested a demonstration of the new vehicle and it is currently on trial in our business.”

A-Plant’s Transport, Training and Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Departments developed the new vehicle in conjunction with Lancashire DAF and vehicle bodybuilders PPS Commercials to enable safe access for drivers and exceed the Work at Height Regulations 2005.

The original concept was derived from a ‘Bright Idea’ submitted by an A-Plant HGV Driver, whereby A-Plant employees are invited to submit ideas of how to enhance Health and Safety throughout the company. Two former versions of the vehicle have been developed, the second version of which the walkway was self-assembled by the Driver. This third generation vehicle offers distinct advantages, as the walkway simply extends out at the touch of a button and is operational within seconds.

As well as the unique Vehicle Fall Protection System, the 26T A-Plant vehicle offers a whole host of other safety features developed in conjunction with Brigade who specialise in Vehicle Safety Systems. These include a state-of-the-art video recording system which captures CCTV images from four cameras and provides invaluable footage in the event of an accident or if an insurance claim is made.

The vehicle also incorporates Brigade’s Sidescan Ultrasonic Sensor System which detects objects in the vehicle’s path providing audible warnings to the driver, a BBS (white sound) reversing alarm which the hearing impaired will detect more readily than a single tone alarm and a LCD monitor with three camera inputs and three auto triggers such as reverse gear selection. The on screen distance markers assist Drivers when manoeuvring and there is the option to switch between mirror/normal views.

Other advanced features incorporated include an electronic on-board weighing system to ensure that all loads are legally compliant and an anti-theft Runlock device which enables Drivers to leave the vehicle running while removing the keys to operate the Beavertail. A-Plant’s new Beavertail vehicles are fitted with an advanced ‘cheese wedge’ design which is proven to be a massive 35% more fuel efficient, so significant cost savings can be made on fuel whilst also protecting the environment.

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