A-Plant ups the ante for drivers working at height 06 October 2011

Plant rental firm A-Plant has launched a DAF 26-tonner that offers drivers maximum protection when loading and unloading equipment.

A-Plant's director of transport services Shaun Winstanley explains that the new truck has been designed to prevent falls from height and to mitigate other common hazards.

"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," states Winstanley.

"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," he adds.

A-Plant's transport, training and environmental, health and safety (EHS) departments developed the new vehicle with Lancashire DAF and vehicle bodybuilder PPS Commercials.

The original concept was derived from a 'Bright Idea' submitted by an A-Plant HGV driver. Two early versions of the vehicle have been developed, and on the second version 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 so is operational within seconds.

Other safety features, developed with Brigade, include a CCTV system with four cameras that provide footage in the event of an incident. 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; and a LCD monitor with three camera inputs and three auto triggers such as reverse gear selection.

Winstanley says that the on-screen distance markers assist drivers when manoeuvring, and adds that there is the option to switch between mirror and normal views.

And he adds that electronic on-board weighing ensures that all loads are legally compliant, while an anti-theft Runlock device enables drivers to leave the vehicle running while removing the keys to operate the beavertail.

Brian Tinham

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