It is generally understood that safety comes first. This is no different when loading and unloading fences. Ensuring safety at precisely this point is important. Safety regulations have been drawn up to ensure the safety of people and cargo. These regulations must be observed so that no dangerous situations arise when loading and unloading fences.
Roel Meuldijk, safety expert for Heras Mobile, on safety when loading and unloading: “Speed is important but certainly not the most important thing; that’s safety!”
The only way to prevent accidents is by observing the safety regulations.
There is a lot involved in loading and unloading fencing. The volume and weight of the fences must be taken into account and the load must be properly secured. In addition, driving a forklift truck, for example, requires the necessary knowledge and experience with loading and unloading fences. “In addition to knowledge of the products, conscious loading and unloading also requires knowledge of the equipment. The only way to prevent accidents is by observing the safety regulations. Of course, you want to prevent dangerous situations from occurring,” says Roel Meuldijk.
All the Heras Mobile drivers have had ‘code 95 training’ in addition to holding a driving licence. This training is compulsory for the professional driving of vehicles for which a C1(E), C(E), D1(E) or D(E) driving licence is required. Once the certificate is obtained, it is valid for five years. After these five years, it can be extended by 35 hours of continued education. The introduction of the Code 95 Professional Competence Directive will contribute to greater road safety in Europe and a reduction in the number of accidents involving heavy goods vehicles and buses.
The 16 life-saving rules were drawn up to prevent (fatal) accidents. Heras Mobile applies these rules as well. This states, among other things, how the safety of contractors and subcontractors can be guaranteed, how the machines can be secured, how traffic safety can be regulated on location, and how forklift trucks can be handled safely. In addition, rules have been drawn up on the use of mobile phones, for lifting/hoisting activities, and working at heights.
In practice, this means, for example, that safety clothing must be worn on site when loading and unloading fencing. This consists of safety shoes, a high visibility vest, and – depending on the location – a hard hat or gloves. Roel says: “All the members of Heras Mobile’s staff have the authority to call people to account for non-compliance with the safety rules; it’s even mandatory. For example, if someone does not wear their safety vest and wants to get out of the cabin of the HGV or forklift truck, there are two options: either stay in the cabin or adapt and put on the vest. Safety comes first, especially when you are busy loading and unloading fences.”
Loading and unloading fencing is a painstaking job. We must prevent fences from falling over and people from being injured. Roel: “Fast but careful, and therefore safe, loading and unloading; that’s what Heras Mobile stands for. Not at lightning speed, but with common sense. If a situation deviates at the start of the activities, a so-called Last Minute Risk Analysis (LMRA) follows. In case of doubt, the situation is reported and we try to find a solution. If situations deviate from the norm, take a step back and think: is this safe? If you don’t feel good about it, then the manager is called in and they make a decision. Safety must not be compromised under any circumstances when loading and unloading fencing.”
Heras Mobile brainstorms on the security policy and improves it where possible. For example, all people driving a forklift truck have a forklift driving licence. Once the basic certificate has been obtained, a training course on specific matters is held on location. This is repeated every three years and by law, the entire certificate must be renewed every three years. “Everything is documented. They think it’s easy work, but it takes a lot more effort than they think. Loading and unloading fencing is a profession in itself,” says Roel.
Roel continues: “The mobile fencing is transported on frames and the fences are held in place in the truck using strappers. And then there are other regulations that have to do with the forklift truck. Every day before the start of the work, the forklift truck is inspected using a checklist. Only use a forklift truck for its intended purpose. It is a difficult and dangerous tool to work with. We also ask all our transporters whether they have inspected their vehicles or not. Are all the mirrors on and are they properly adjusted, is the tyre pressure in order, is there a seat belt worn, that kind of things.”
Safety is of paramount importance at Heras Mobile; it’s safety then speed when it comes to loading and unloading fencing.