The regulatory standards for maintaining the well-being and safety of drivers, motorists and pedestrians are becoming stricter for businesses everywhere around the world. This is particularly the case for the mining and construction companies. Also, policy solutions to prevent accidents involving fleets no longer focus solely on upskilling or recruiting skilled drivers. Instead, the emphasis is placed on implementing technology – for instance collision avoidance systems (CAS) in mining – to help drivers mitigate or reduce the impact of a collision.
But since the key to running a successful modern-day fleet is the ability to strike a balance between safety and productivity, relying on CAS alone is not enough. That is because they are focused on maintaining only the safety aspect of the fleet and not productivity. In this manner, fleets need to integrate their CAS with telematics to assist them with the productivity dimension of their fleet.
Fleet Risks and Accidents
Regardless of the sector in which you work, assets such as vehicles and heavy-duty equipment pose an inherent risk to your employees. According to Automotive Fleet, an average of about 20% of commercial fleets are involved in an accident every year. One of the main reasons why accidents are high is that fleet drivers travel a significant number of miles/kilometres every year. Additionally, as recorded by the Center for Construction Research and Training, more than 7,600 deaths occurred between 1992 and 2010 involving heavy equipment. This is an annual rate of nearly 404 deaths. Some of the reasons for the heavy-duty equipment fatalities include noise, disruption, poor visibility and fatigue.
The Costs of Accidents
Accidents can cause serious organizational harm. This is aside of the usual repair-related downtime, as it can also cause the company to incur significant costs that could cripple the business. These costs cover repairs to third party vehicles, legal battles and medical bills in the event of injuries. As reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), accidents involving motor vehicles cost employers an annual cost of $60 billion in medical care, legal expenses, property damage and loss of production. The average cost of an accident is estimated at $16,500 and more than $74,000 for an injury-including accident. What’s more, the unfortunate thing is that accidents can lead to a loss of life, and that is considerably more difficult to calculate. And sadly, all vehicles or people involved in the accident are subject to fatality, not only your drivers.
Read more on how to use telematics to ensure driver compliance.
Laws to Ensure Compliance and Promote Employees Health and Safety
Everywhere in the world, the employer has the legal duty to implement reasonably practicable measures to protect its employees from harm. In South Africa, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act No. 85 of 1993) includes this responsibility for executing the above-mentioned procedures. Nevertheless, the Act only applies to all other employers and workers in other industries apart from the mining and shipping industries, which both have their own laws. For the former, workers’ health and safety is covered under the Mine Health and Safety Act, while for the latter it is laid down in the Merchant Shipping Act.
Changes in Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act in South Africa
According to the ICMM, 30-40% of deaths in the mining industry are caused by mobile equipment. And out of a total of 88 fatalities, 14 were recorded in South Africa during 2017. As a result, the South African government has made significant changes to Chapter 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Act because of the high frequency of deaths at mines. The revised legislation requires employers to introduce a collision avoidance and proximity detection system at each mine by the end of 2020.
Productivity and Safety Go Hand-in-hand
While the implementation of a CAS offers endless opportunities to ensure your drivers or operation safe, it has its limitations. In a CAS test methodology developed by the VDG in consultation with the South African mining industry, it was found that introducing CAS solutions contributed to a production reduction of up to 30%. This is a setback for mines particularly at a time when the economy of the country is increasing at a pace slower than expected and the costs of business operations are raising.
The Benefits of Integrating Telematics with Collision Avoidance Systems
Geotab’s telematics solution can generate large chunks of data which can be broken down into concrete information that can be put into practice. By integrating it with a collision avoidance system, it can help you run your vehicles and equipment at peak efficiency in the following ways:
- Track the movement of vehicles operated in remote locations.
- Monitor vehicles and drivers to gain insight into bad driving behaviour, to take appropriate action.
- Gain access to vehicle usage reports to allow fleet managers to delegate and maximise vehicle usage across the entire fleet.
- Track routes travelled and fuel consumption.
- Plan optimal routes to make maximum use of your vehicles.
- Create zones for your vehicles to ensure they are always where they need to be.
- Telematics has the ability to record and take into account CAS safety alerts, enabling managers to tally and compile reports on alerts.
- Access to accident report for insights into events leading to the accident and post-accident.
- Keep an eye on engine data and maintenance schedules to anticipate problems, avoid failures and wear and tear.
Read more on the benefits of having an open platform system.
Author: The Geotab Africa Team
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