Understanding Land Survey Risks: AHBL’s Commitment to Safety

Quality Assurance Lead Dean Robinson discusses safety when it comes to surveyors in the field.

Land surveyors face a variety of risks when on the job. From wildlife and terrain to vehicles and construction hazards, survey teams are confronted with tricky conditions where communication, awareness, and safety practices are essential.

AHBL’s Quality Assurance Lead Dean Robinson oversees compliance with company policies and procedures related to safety and operations. Robinson puts safety in the field as a top priority, so he holds quarterly safety meetings and communicates with survey staff daily to check in about gear condition and to remind them to use safety cones and signs. Additionally, he encourages staff to let him know immediately when gear needs to be repaired or replaced. This holistic review of staff and equipment safety helps to create a working environment that prioritizes the well-being of crew members.

Many technical colleges offer a two-year degree in land surveying, but most newly hired surveyors learn through on-the-job training. This is why Robinson ensures that new surveyors are sent out with an experienced team. The pairing of experienced surveyors with inexperienced staff helps prevent common safety mistakes including turning backs to traffic for extended periods of time, forgetting water or lunch while working in a remote location, and not wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task at hand. Predicting what mistakes beginners can make and preventing them with preemptive action is just one of the ways AHBL and Robinson keep employees safe. This also contributes to their growth and development as professional surveyors.Suvrye image for article body

Land surveyors are often on construction sites, and they must follow the same orientation regimen as other site workers. This also means donning the same equipment which includes hard hats, goggles, gloves, vests, and steel-toed boots. This PPE is essential since surveyors often work around heavy equipment and under or near scaffolding and cranes.

When working along roadsides, AHBL’s surveyors are diligent in their use of signs and cones to alert motorists of their presence. Work zones near roadways can be dangerous, and its important to take every precaution to prevent work zone collisions.

According to Robinson, surveyors also need to become familiar with the weight and balance of their equipment. Terrain can be uneven and difficult to traverse, and the additional weight can lead to injury for those unaccustomed to the load. Learning the ins and outs of how weight and equipment shifts with the land is an important part of staying safe and injury-free on the job.

The hazards of the job also include people. Robinson says, “People’s [reactions] tend to range from suspicion to outright hostility when they unexpectedly encounter surveyors near their home, whether they own or rent. Surveyors can sometimes diffuse the situation by informing the individual about the purpose of their work, however, best practice is to have the individual call the office so that the attention is taken away from the surveyor so that they can continue their work.”

Surveying risks can also venture into the unusual. Robinson recalls encountering Brahman Bulls while on a job site. Thankfully, the 2,000 lb animals were unbothered and let the team continue their work.

The risks of being a surveyor are plentiful and varied, but taking the proper precautions and communicating effectively helps prevent injuries and dangerous conditions on job sites. With Dean Robinson’s help, AHBL is committed to the safety, wellbeing, and growth and development of our survey teams.

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