Equipment used in construction, mining, farming, drilling, forestry and other industries are large in size and powerful. Hence it is imperative that we use them diligently. They can be inherently dangerous. Even though we are aware of the hazards involved while operating or maneuvering these large equipments, every year thousands of accidents related to these equipments are reported. Multiple reasons are attributed to these incidents, often leading to loss or damage of property, injuries and unfortunately in some cases, fatalities too.
Usage of heavy equipment helps us in multiple fields which have helped us improving quality of work, reducing labor costs and accelerating deadlines. Every machine and every situation is different and comes with its own set of hazards. Sometimes even seasoned operators are also not spared from these incidents. However, it is always advisable to follow some general safety rules while on you are on the job to keep injuries or damages at bay. Here are few tips that can help with reduction of injuries, improve heavy equipment safety and promote safe working spaces for all people handling heavy equipment.
Proper Training: Heavy equipments are usually run by humans and humans are prone to errors. Hence to ensure that errors are minimized the operator has been properly and sufficiently trained on the equipment under an experienced trainer. Constant and repeat practices with the machine can also help a operator to mitigate risks.
Machine Inspection: While minor repairs are obvious, equipment should always be in top most condition before put in use. Checking up on the breaks, hydraulics, engines etc are very critical to the equipment. Oil changes and overall lubrication can also help to ensure everything is running properly and perfectly. Check if tires are in shape, tracks are proper, components and other mechanisms are free from cracks, damaged or anything stuck in them.
Warning Signs and Symbols: Plenty of signs and symbols should be used while working in and around heavy equipment. This would help people to always be aware, stay alert and know the equipment’s blind spots. Whether you are a operator or working around it, following signages helps to larger extent to prevent any untoward incident.
Proper Communication: Proper communication is pretty much required with people working around you. A two way radio or a spotter can be used. Standard hand signals can be used however, proper training is required is use and understand it. Never assume that people know either about machine movement or what is going on.
Safety Equipment and Procedure: Always wear safety equipment like, high-visibility clothing, steel-toed boots and helmets. Wear your seat belt always. While it is obvious easily forgotten at times. Don't climb on or get off the machine while it's moving. Do not exceed the load bearing capacity of the machine.
Work Zone Safety Procedure: Before using the machine do walk around and inspect the equipment. Stay safe while dealing with machinery like a powerful bulldozer or excavator. It is better to avoid such areas especially if it is not your work place. Try to stay away from areas where a lot of machinery is being used. Always keep the area clear.
These are few ways in which operators and workers can stay safe while operating or functioning around heavy equipment. Employers, supervisors and trainers should encourage workers to communicate any concerns or questions they might have related to equipment hazards. Supervisors and others involved in training should be familiar with health and safety concerns affecting the workers. While accidents are bound to happen, these are few safety guidelines that can help to ensure that people working in and around heavy equipment are safe.
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