Lifting the lid on our approach to articulated dump truck safety management (part 1)

Articulated dump trucks are notorious within the construction industry for toppling over because of their design and the environment in which they’re used. Do you know what the most common causes are? Would you be able to pick up on them before they happen?

Given the sheer scale of the potential risk posed by these giant machines, many site workers are complacent about just how dangerous they are. Unfortunately, this means they often don’t spot the warning signs until it’s too late.

Do you know what the most common causes are? Would you be able to pick up on them before they happen? Help avoid common dump truck accidents on your site by checking out our list of the main reasons why they occur:

REASON 1: Underestimating their weight

One of the main reasons why trucks roll is because of unstable stockpiles and haul roads. A truck loaded with dense materials can weigh up to 50T. However, many people don’t realise just how much loaded trucks weigh and try to push them through deep, uneven ruts. The weight of the truck causes them to rock from side-to-side - hit a stone at the wrong angle, or encounter a dip, and it’s highly probable the truck will topple over.

REASON 2: Uneven stockpiles and haul roads

On most sites, dumper drivers aim to keep stockpiles as compact as possible. This results in them having to repeatedly drive backwards and forwards to and from the piles. When you have four or five articulated dump trucks doing this, the ground can become extremely rutted and uneven. Stockpiles can also deteriorate as quickly as they’re formed, which increases the risk of the rear of the truck sinking in the soft stockpile and either becoming stuck or rolling.

REASON 3: Overloading and using top-heavy materials

All materials are available in different weights and density and aren’t necessarily extracted out of the ground in a specific order. This means that some truckloads can contain a mixture of heavy and light materials that make the truck top heavy. Add rough and poorly maintained haul roads into the mix, and the chances of articulated dump trucks becoming unstable are high.

REASON 4: Incorrectly using tailgates

Misusing tailgates is a widespread problem across the industry. Many site workers think they can load more material if their truck has a tailgate. This is a myth. Tailgates should only be used with fine dust material that’s dry. If you start to haul wet material or large rocks, you run the risk of it getting stuck at the gate and making the truck unstable and prone to tipping over.

REASON 5: Not paying enough attention to the tyres

Due to their large size, it can be very difficult for operators to see poorly maintained or flat tyres in their mirrors on a dry, bright day, let alone when it’s raining at night. This means it can be tricky to spot a flat tyre until it’s too late - usually when all of the weight goes to the back of the truck, making it unstable and causing it to fall over. What’s more, articulated dump trucks are fitted with different tyres for different applications. Not using the right tyres in the right environment, can cause dump trucks to quickly become unsteady. For instance, not using narrow rock tyres in quarries or flotation tyres in deep, wet mud.

Want to take more of a proactive approach to your articulated dump truck safety management? Find out more about our articulated dump truck safety awareness programme, which is specifically designed to provide all site workers with on-site practical help and advice on reducing risk.

Call us on 020 8900 0000 or email us at to book your on-site induction.