When increased safety matches a boost of productivity

Worcester City Council has fitted new safety features to three new Schmidt sweepers that it has added to its municipal fleet to increase driver safety and boost productivity. Learn here how Environmental Operations Manager Kevin McFeeley explains the thinking behind the new initiative.

The new features comprise stand-out and highly visible arrow light boards with up to 14 bright LED lights which are fixed permanently to the rear of the sweepers, two Street King 660s and a Cleango 500, and which are controlled by a button in the cab. These clearly signal to following drivers which way to drive around the sweeper – and with official British winter time featuring darker mornings and earlier nights already upon us, they look set to be a major safety aid.

Environmental Operations Manager (Waste & Fleet) Kevin McFeeley explained the thinking behind the new initiative: “Previously, if a sweeper driver needed to change direction or switch to the opposite side of the road to carry out a sweeping operation, he had to stop the vehicle and manually change a directional board on the back of the sweeper. This was not only time-consuming but presented a safety hazard as he had to leave the cab and walk to the rear of the vehicle. The new arrow light boards which have been wired to a control box in the cab, mean that the drivers can clearly signal any manoeuvres without leaving their seat. This not only increases safety both for the driver and any following traffic, but it boosts productivity and driver effectiveness substantially.”

Worcester City Council last year added three new Euro 6-compliant Swingo 200+ compact sweepers to its fleet. They have proved to be a success with a very high rating from Worcester driver operators. Hence, driver evaluations over several days identified the SK 660 as the clear winner. The role of the truck mounted «sister» to the Swingo 200+ is to sweep the arterial roads around the city area, up to within a mile of the city centre, where the Swingos can then take over. In order to tackle intermediate areas, such as the roads around housing estates, Worcester City Council operates a mid-size Cleango 500. Drivers rated its manoeuvrability, especially in tight spaces around parked cars, its 360-degree camera angles and the highly flexible front-mounted third brush very well.

All three sweeper types have been fitted with the new arrow light board safety feature in time for the start of the winter season. Despite the restrictions on social distancing during the current pandemic, Aebi Schmidt was able to effectively train Worcester’s drivers in the use of the new vehicles, thanks to the latest hands-free and two-way radio communication technology. “This has worked very well and all our drivers have been effectively trained, with one, Glen James, being trained to trainer level so that he can instruct and train our other drivers when required,” added Kevin McFeeley.