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Equipment Spotlight: Dump trucks and tippers

When it comes to clearing job sites or assisting earth moving operations, tippers, otherwise known as dump trucks, are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment you can have. But just like any vehicle they require routine maintenance, cleaning, and correct operation to prevent unnecessary downtime. 

Whether you’ve got an articulated or rigid dump truck or tipper, our Mobile Plant and Equipment Risk Engineer, Hayden Reed, shares his tips on keeping your tipper functioning. 

“A typical dump truck is equipped with an open-box bed which is hinged at the rear and equipped with hydraulic pistons to lift the front, allowing the material in the bed to be dumped on site,” describes Hayden. 

Maintenance

“Before you start work and you clock off, you want to make sure there is not hydraulic leaks, broken safety lights, or fractures in the body structure.

“Always check for loose bolts and be sure they are correct grade and undamaged, it is also important to do a visual check every day for any cracking in welds and support rails as these can cause the tray to collapse if left unchecked.

“Give the tyres a quick pressure check regularly, particularly if you are going to be hauling heavy loads. While you’re there inspect the wheel nuts and brake components to make sure everything is in order,” says Hayden.

Be sure to change the oil on a regular basis and service your truck to the manufacturer’s standards and make note of any strange noises that you might hear when operating. Never attempt to fix any problems on your own if you do not have mechanical aptitude.

Finally, check the bed lift cylinder is lubricated and is not bent, and investigate the tailgate to check if it is rusted or stuck, if it is it will be difficult for the load to be emptied. 

Operation

Some of the most common risks involved with operating tippers include:

  • Collision 
  • Tipping 
  • Back-up Accidents

Because of this only experienced and qualified operators should be in control of a tipper and when materials are being loaded or unloaded there shouldn’t be anyone close to the vehicle due to the risks of spilling, tipping or crushing.

“Items like crusher dust move around very easily and can cause you to tip over during transport or on site if unbalanced, so be sure the material is balanced correctly during loading.  Material can also stick to the tray and can cause the truck to slew to one side, so be sure to take it slow.

“The best way to prevent sticking is by applying a liner or slip agent to the tipper tray prior to loading. 

 “Another point to be mindful of is the weather, as strong winds can cause hazards when moving the tray up and down.

“Keep the vehicle operating manual on hand to see how to perform any basic maintenance, as well as how to perform minor repairs of parts that might need to occur while on the job. 

“Always follow this carefully as you might void your warranty if you fail to do so,” notes Hayden. 

Cleaning

Not cleaning prior to loading may mean that remnants of previous material are stuck on the tray, so hose it down when you change materials. This prevents any dust build up from the hydraulic lines, which can compromise the connection.

“Keep the engine bay clean and free of grease, and excess oil which can cause certain components to clog and pose a significant fire risk.

“Give the truck a pressure wash regularly and use a rust treatment on any spots or a wax to ensure that the body stays weatherproof,” says Hayden.

Protect your dump truck by taking out Yellow Cover insurance policy today or contact our experts on 1800 684 669.