As part of a move to increase the safety of its customers, SUEZ has applied an integrated system of on-board mass and surveillance systems to its operations in WA.
Following its successes with Brisbane City Council, SUEZ has applied many of its safety learnings across its collections in Western Australia.
To improve the safety and security of its fleet, SUEZ earlier this year installed eight cameras on 148 of its vehicles operating in Brisbane, which enabled front forward, side and rear-facing lines of sight. The cameras offered recording and images and aimed to support driver safety by providing evidence for council should any incidents occur.
In Western Australia, SUEZ has looked to a best practice CORE System that incorporates a package of Hi Tech Rear Vision cameras and on-board mass systems in response to feedback from its customers.
Ken Cowl, State Collections Manager, WA at SUEZ Recycling & Recovery Australia, says that with urban encroachment and high-density living taking hold in cities like Perth, a best practice approach was required to increase safety around trucks during bin collection.
“Increased density through housing infill means trucks will be parked stationary for slightly longer periods of time. Instead of emptying one bin, drivers could be emptying three or four,” Ken explains.
“In our local government collections, there are up to 1200 lifts being performed a day, which can mean interaction with the public and increase the potential risk of hazards.”
Ken says that the Hi Tech Rear Vision cameras were chosen due to their reputation for quality in previous SUEZ operations. Hi Tech Rear Vision Founder Fong Tio tailor-made the cameras for the Brisbane operations and Ken says the same systems were ideal for WA.
“We thought the camera system specified for Brisbane City Council was great to include in our new purchase because it met the needs of our drivers and took the blind spots out of the corners of trucks,” he says.
Ken says that the cameras were recently installed in SUEZ’s fleet, servicing a number of Perth councils this year transitioning to the CORE system, following a successful trial last year. SUEZ has installed eight cameras on its 16 vehicles as at July 2018, including on the dash, front grill, left-hand and right-hand front mirror, lifting arm, reverse, hopper and top-left body kerbside facing. He says the front grill camera offers 180-degree vision. The combination of all eight cameras ensures a 360-degree vision, ensuring the driver is across all lines of sight of the vehicle.
By July next year, more than 40 trucks will be installed with Hi Tech Rear Vision cameras.
Ken says the strong points of the technology are that the camera set-up identifies blind spots. He says the system provides high-quality images and DVR records that are able to hold about 22 days of data. Still images can be transmitted instantaneously to CORE for customers to look at. The systems also offer the ability to search for minute-by-minute footage and swap disks easily.
He says the information is great at providing security against potential incidents.
“We will only take the hard drive out of the truck and plug it into the computer if there’s an incident that needs us to send video footage over the internet,” Ken says.
“Customers want accountability. They are able log in and look at the exceptions online. For example, if a driver sees a damaged car parked near a bin, they can take a picture of it as they’re approaching it to prove that it was already damaged beforehand.”
He says that another example could be if bins have been vandalised. Ken says that a driver can take images of the bins and report them directly to council, which can log on online to view the exception.
Ken says the cameras provide a high quality and reliable image.
“The images are better quality than anything we’ve worked with before. While this is the first system that takes photos, if you’re in a truck and looking at the camera system through a monitor, the pictures seem clearer.
“I think it takes pressure off drivers so they can focus more on their run, especially with relief drivers filling in for those on leave. It makes it a lot easier if they need to use a GPS.”
Ken adds that a time stamp is provided on the footage adding an extra layer of accountability to the set-up. He says that Fong provided a smooth service. While it is still very much early days in the rollout, Ken says there haven’t been any issues, which is a positive sign of the camera’s reliability.