In the south west of England, Devon Contract Waste (DCW), has recently taken steps to improve the safety of its drivers and the communities it serves by installing heat monitoring technology into its refuse collection vehicles (RCVs).
The business waste specialist explained that it has been working together with consulting firm, Packaged Group Limited, to develop the new PackTEL product which is intended to help to drive up health and safety standards in the waste management industry.
DCW fitted the fire detection device onto four of its refuse collection vehicles and over the space of six months the device, capable of measuring heat to 1/100th of a degree, monitored in real time the temperature of the payloads during collection rounds.
“One of the biggest risks our drivers face is LGV fires, caused by combustion of the waste load,” commented DCW managing director, Simon Almond. “We can’t control the contents of bins, and items such as batteries pose a significant fire risk. Previously, we wouldn’t know that the temperature had reached a critical level until smoke was visible from the back of the truck.”
“A fire taking hold of a burning LGV can be a terrifying experience for even an experienced driver, and this technology enables us to identify a fire before it takes hold, enabling the driver to act and abort the load in a safe place, minimising risks to the public and the loss of an expensive truck,” he continued.
The PackTEL sensor kit is installed on the body of the refuse collection vehicle. If there is a change in temperature It sends an email alert to nominated individuals, allowing the control team to alert the driver in time to avoid a potential disaster. The control team, which could include traffic managers and maintenance crews, also has access to an online portal that displays and tracks the temperature readings in real time.
“The threat of payload fires for waste collection vehicles is very real,” said Packaged Group Limited managing director, Robin Chambers. “Within the UK alone last year, over 5000 commercial LGV fires on the highway were attended by the fire service, resulting in 84 casualties. Costs can also be significant, developing into thousands of pounds for the operator as well as the emergency services attending the scene.”
Almond concluded: “The PackTEL sensors have been a brilliant innovation for our fleet, providing our drivers and the rest of the team with greater peace of mind whilst carrying out their work.”