Truck mounted attenuators are designed to keep your crew safe while they are working on the road, but as there are several different types of attenuators, you need to choose yours carefully to ensure you select the safest one for your needs.
Whether you are buying or hiring a truck mounted attenuator, here are several safety features you should insist upon having:
1. High speed impact rating
Truck mounted attenuators are set up to handle impact from cars going different speeds. If you are working on a neighbourhood road with relatively low speed limits, you can use a truck mounted attenuator that can only handle a relatively slow speed and a low impact.
However, if you are working on the motorway, you need a truck mounted attenuator that can handle the fastest impact speeds possible. As the speed on motorways can get up to 130 kph, you want a truck mounted attenuator that can at least handle that speed if not faster speeds.
2. Fifteen-tonne gross vehicle mass
One of the ways a truck mounted attenuator absorbs the impact of a speeding car is simply through its massive size. Essentially, the combined weight of your TMA and the truck to which it is attached affects how stable these mobile roadblocks are. Ideally, you want a truck mounted attenuator that with its host truck weighs a combined total of 15 tonnes.
In the states of Queensland and New South Wales, this weight is required by law, but regardless of where you live, it is the safest option. Always, use the heaviest equipment you can with an insistence on a minimum of 15 tonnes.
3. Safety latches, support chains and electric hoists
When you are driving the truck that has your TMAs attached to it, you need to ensure that they are secure so they don't accidentally fall off, causing an accident or injuring anyone near the rear of your truck. Safety latches that lock into place are critical for this task, and you should insist upon them. Ideally, they should lock automatically as soon as the vehicle starts moving – this feature eliminates the risk of human error.
Similarly, you need to keep the attenuators locked into place when the bump truck isn't moving, and support chains fill this role. They prevent the attenuator from sagging and ensure it stays in the safest spot to protect your workers.
Moving your TMAs from resting to driving position can be a dangerous and heavy job. Ideally, it's not something you want your crew handling in the middle of the road – if you have them lifting the attenuators into place, it potentially puts them into a dangerous part of the road, negating the very purpose of your TMAs.
Instead, look for truck mounted attenuators that come with electric hoists. Then, your crew simply need to push a few buttons and everything takes care of itself.
4. Customised Lighting
To ensure they are visible to drivers, most truck mounted attenuators have lights on them, and they are traditionally painted yellow, considered to be the most visible colour to humans. However, there is not one set of lights that is right for every road works situation.
In some cases, you need elevated lights that can be seen from a distance to encourage drivers to change lanes. In other cases, you want arrows to direct traffic in certain directions, and in still other cases, you may want a certain message displayed on an LED warning board.
If you opt for a truck mounted attenuator with customisable lighting, you can get the exact lighting you need for your safety needs.