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Safety Notice – Narrow Dumpers

Narrow dumpers are really useful bits of kit aren’t they? They fit down narrow towpaths and are much quicker than a wheelbarrow. Yes, the instructor guidance notes say they are rarely suitable for canal sites but as long as you are careful it will be fine. Won’t it ……??

The Health and Safety Executive has this to say about dumpers in general:

Site dumpers are involved in around a third of construction transport accidents, causing many deaths and serious injuries, particularly to drivers. The main cause of dumper accidents are overturning on slopes and rough ground and at the edges of excavations, embankments etc. 

In the last few years we have had three incidents of narrow dumpers being turned over. After the first two we published an article in Navvies and modified the instructor guidance notes to discourage people from specifying and using them. However the latest incident highlights that the message is not getting through. The full causes of the incident in the photo are still being investigated but initial analysis highlighted the following.

  • There was a change in the way the site was run, in particular the dumper had to pass an excavator on the towpath which was not the case in the original method statement.
  • There was a belief that the narrow dumpers suited the type of work being undertaken.
  • The driver was undertaking a manoeuvre which would have been with in the capabilities of a normal dumper, but which exceeded the capabilities of the narrow one he was driving.
Important Information:

Following discussions at a recent WRG Board meeting, we have decided to exclude narrow dumpers from the normal Driver Authorisation Category (D25- articulated steer dumpers).

A new category will be created for narrow dumpers (ie. 1.2m or less in width) that will only be given via a temporary time limited card for specific jobs authorised via the WRG Board. Any request will have to be very detailed, including proof that the ground is firm, level and has space to manoeuvre without getting close to an edge, as well as covering why alternatives are not suitable. For example; could a powered barrow (either tracked or wheeled) be used? Would a tracked dumper be more suitable?

Please email Jenny Morris if you have any queries.

Driver Authorisation: Need to Know