August 03, 2021

Clark Drives Industry Standard for Heavy Machinery Safety

When using heavy equipment, operators often skip the simple step of buckling up – usually, this is a result of forgetfulness, being hurried, or a preference for comfort. This creates an unnecessary, industry-wide safety risk.

In 2019, Clark Construction’s National Equipment Group took action, researching possible solutions with equipment manufacturers and trade contractors. Clark worked with United Rentals to champion a simple, but effective retrofit – the Keytroller Slingbelt. The hollow urethane design makes it uncomfortable for the driver to sit on the belt instead of properly buckling it into place. Failing to fasten the seatbelt with the equipment in operation results in the emission of a blaring audible signal and visual warnings. There have already been documented instances where proper use of this seatbelt technology has prevented serious injury. Clark's National Equipment Group partnered with three of the largest equipment rental companies in the country – United Rentals, Ahern Rentals, and Sunbelt Rentals to retrofit 65 pieces of heavy machinery with the Keytroller technology for use on Clark projects.

Still, Clark knew more could be done. Implementing similar technology as the standard in design and manufacturing for all new construction equipment was the next step. Clark worked with United, Sunbelt, Ahern Rentals, and the Association of Construction Equipment Managers to promote the standard use of active seatbelt systems in heavy equipment.

Two years later, the initiative’s impact on the entire construction industry is tangible. In addition to widespread retrofitting, active use seatbelt technology is now available on new heavy machinery models coming off the line. Equipment manufacturers have implemented designs that offer their own high-visibility electronic seatbelts with auditory and visual warnings.

A relentless focus on safety has remained one of Clark's core values since its founding 115 years ago. Promoting the industry-wide adoption of technology that encourages seatbelt usage is just one tool in the company’s arsenal as it pushes for a safer industry.