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RR1157 - Application of a risk-based method to evaluate operator visibility from an hydraulic excavator

In Great Britain there are 25 fatal injuries each year on average, and hundreds of non-fatal injuries to workers as a result of being struck by moving vehicles in the workplace. Restricted operator visibility is often identified as a contributing factor in these accidents.

HSE researchers developed a risk-based method to determine ‘visibility risk zones’ for earth-moving machinery such as dumper trucks and excavators. Excavators are of particular concern due to several fatal accidents in which they have struck workers. Some excavators can have relatively large blind spots, with up to about 50% of the operator’s direct visibility to the field of view obscured by the body of the machine and the boom.

This report describes the application of a risk-based method to evaluate the operator’s field of view from a medium sized hydraulic excavator. The evaluation considered the visibility for an excavator with the mirrors and a rear view camera fitted during manufacture, and the visibility that would be given by a 360° camera monitoring system to provide a ‘bird’s eye’ view around the excavator. The work demonstrates the application of the risk-based method to determine visibility risk zones.

Two related reports describe the development of the risk-based visibility risk zones method (RR1156) and its application to a large rigid frame dumper truck (RR1158).

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Updated 2020-11-06