When working with heavy machinery such as cranes, forklifts, bulldozers, front-end loaders, and other such heavy-duty equipment, there is always the risk of bad equipment accidents. Failure to abide by common-sense safety practices can result in serious traumatic injury and death in the blink of an eye. In this article, we’ll look at just a few of the best steps you can take to make sure that you avoid bad equipment accidents at your workplace. Read on, and protect yourself, your workers, and your colleagues.
Always Check Your Blind Spots Before Moving Or Using Heavy Equipment
First and foremost, be responsible when you are operating heavy equipment. You must be absolutely, 100% certain that there is nobody behind you or in front of you. That includes in any blind spot where you may not be able to see when operating heavy equipment.
It’s best to use a spotter with a two-way radio in these cases. Have them stand in a safe, visible location and guide you, to help you avoid them. Ensure that those who enter the area in which you are working contact you, and make eye contact with you before they enter your work area.
In addition, make sure to wear high visibility vests, helmets, and other reflective materials to enhance visibility on the worksite.
Be In Constant Communication With Everyone Else On The Site
To add on to the above point, you must be in constant communication not just with a spotter, but with everyone on your job site. Make sure your colleagues know when you’ll be entering and operating a piece of heavy machinery. Communicate properly with your foreman, and follow all safety best practices and guidelines to make sure that everyone is aware of what you’re doing – and where you’re doing it.
Wear Your Seatbelt
A seatbelt may seem silly when you’re operating a bulldozer that weighs 50 tons, but it’s not. A seatbelt keeps you planted in your seat – preventing operator error – and it helps you operate more effectively on rough terrain. It can even save your life, should you somehow roll over while operating the equipment.
Be Careful When Mounting And Dismounting Your Vehicle
One of the most common bad equipment accidents is actually a simple slip and fall from a piece of heavy machinery. If you’re not careful when climbing up handholds or steps to get into a piece of heavy equipment, you could slip and fall, and be seriously injured.
When entering any piece of heavy equipment, follow the “3-points-of-contact” rule that’s used by rock climbers. Maintain at least 3 points of contact (2 hands, 1 foot, for example), whenever climbing onto a piece of machinery. Make sure to replace damaged handholds or steps if you notice any issues.
Check Your Loads (And Load Limits)
Exceeding the recommended load for your machinery can have catastrophic results. A front-end loader, for example, could become unbalanced and tip over. In addition, unsecured loads could slip and damage property and injure or kill other workers. Make sure your loads are always secure, and within the operating limits of your equipment.
Follow Best Loading/Unloading Best Practices
When you are loading or unloading, do your best to make sure you are on level, stable ground. Make sure to use a spotter, and to clear other workers away from the area before you begin loading or unloading.
Perform A Visual Inspection Before Equipment Operation
Your equipment should be inspected at least once daily, before use. A simple walk-around with a checklist for things like hoses, undercarriage, oil levels, potential leaks, and other such items will be a valuable guide.
Most serious issues with a piece of equipment can be recognized before it enters operation – making this a critical step for avoiding bad equipment accidents. Report any serious issues to the maintenance department. If something looks damaged or unsafe, don’t use it. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Follow These Tips – Be Safe At The Workplace!
Always follow all instructions from your supervisors, and familiarize yourself with OSHA best practices for operating heavy machinery. Safety starts with you – so follow these basic safety tips whenever you operate potentially dangerous heavy machinery.