Back-up Cameras Boost Safety at Greely Sand & Gravel

June 1, 2012

David Pyper is simply glad he didn’t have to learn his safety lesson the hard way.

David Pyper is simply glad he didn’t have to learn his safety lesson the hard way.

“It was 6 or 7 years ago in one of our aggregate pits, where our [Cat] 966 loader was finishing a load for a customer,”  recalls Pyper, who runs operations at the family-owned Greely Sand & Gravel in Ottawa, Ontario. “Another landscaper, who was waiting for the next load, pulled his truck up beside the machine and got out and walked right into the loader’s blind spot. The loader came very close to the driver, who had his back to the loader, when the other truck driver honked his horn.” The close call was enough for Pyper to immediately order backup safety cameras for all of his loading equipment.

Greely Sand & Gravel is one of Ottawa’s largest suppliers of mulch, sand, soil and stone and serves homeowners to large construction companies. Greely S&G has commercial pits for customers of soils, sand, gravel, and compost, plus two landscape depots where customers pick up garden soils, river rock, and mulch. The challenge, Pyper says, is that not everyone visiting his locations is well practiced at self preservation around heavy equipment.

“We put cameras on every one of our loaders, from our [Cat] 972 down to the [Cat] 930s at our landscape depots,” Pyper says. “They work a lot around the general population, so safety in the yard is always a concern.” He had remembered seeing TRACK-VISION camera systems at a trade show in Las Vegas, and so he contacted the local dealer who represented the line for RMT Equipment, the North American distributor.

David Pyper had already experimented briefly with an aftermarket camera, but quickly learned that the typical surveillance-style camera can’t stand up to job site vibrations and impacts. He recognized what was required was a backup camera system designed specifically for the equipment industry that could withstand the harsh environment and rugged use that it would be subjected to—a true heavy-duty, day and night, all-season system.

Although safety was the main reason for installing the cameras, Greely operators quickly discovered additional benefits to a rear camera view, whether they are loading trucks in the yard or clearing snow from parking lots through the winter.

“Our operators are very happy with these cameras,” says Pyper. “The image is sharp and crystal clear. We get tons of salt on the roads here, but we just give the lens a wipe and we’ve got full eyes again.” TRACK-VISION’s wide-angle lens provides a 115-degree field of view. The camera is housed in a waterproof casing, with built-in heating to keep the lens clear of snow, frost and condensation. Greely loaders are all pressure-washed once a week, but the TRACK-VISION cameras have had no problem facing the 2,000-psi spray.

With a sharp rear-view display on a 7-inch dashboard monitor, Greely operators now run their machines more efficiently, with a greater sense of confidence. They can line up better with the bucket, and they save time hooking up to other equipment without leaving the cab to check their positioning.

More recently, Greely installed TRACK-VISION’s digital recording system that captures up to 72 hours of video from the backup camera. “We had another instance where a customer’s truck snuck in behind the loader at the last minute and they came in contact. We felt the truck was at fault, but we had no visual proof. With the TRACK-VISION recorder, that won’t happen again.”

At Greely’s main aggregates location, only the Cat 972 loader is assigned to loading customers’ trucks. “With the recorder running, we don’t have to worry about arguing over who did what if there’s an incident. All the evidence is right there for everyone to see. It keeps things simple if there’s another incident.”

--Source: RMT Equipment

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