According to a report by the United States Department of Labor, 5,250 employees died on the job due to work-related injuries in 2018. Over 20% of these fatal- ities were in the construction industry. ;e deaths were attributable to falling objects, electrocution, and caught in-between (getting stuck, struck, or crushed
by equipment or objects). Here are 10 of the best ways to prevent accidents while working
with heavy equipment.
1. HAVE AN INCIDENT MANAGEMENT PLAN IN PLACE
You can never quite predict when an accident will occur. An incident management plan
allows companies to identify, analyze, and correct any hazards to avoid future recurrence.
;is type of plan allows you to curb distractions when an incident occurs so the problem
can be dealt with immediately.
2. ENSURE ADEQUATE TRAINING FOR OPERATORS
Anyone who is operating heavy equipment must have the relevant training. It is not the
best kind of equipment for trial and error because it can be dangerous for both the operator
and other workers. Ensuring operators have knowledge on essential mechanical aspects
allows them to easily identify any issues. If you are working with contractors, ensure you
see their certi;cation.
3. ALWAYS REMAIN VIGILANT
You must always remain vigilant while operating heavy machinery. Have a good feel for
your surroundings and take into consideration any obstacles or dangerous spots. Be exceptionally watchful for power lines, barriers, sewer, gas, and electrical lines, among others.
It helps to demarcate such areas to avoid any accidents or incidents. Only allow workers
who are actively engaged to be within the ;eld of operation so crowding can be avoided at
construction site. It also allows the operator more space to do their job.
4. MOUNTING AND DISMOUNTING HEAVY MACHINES
A common cause of injury on construction sites is falling from heavy machines. Falling
objects are also a signi;cant cause of concern. When mounting or dismounting heavy machines, you must be careful. Ensure you have a good grip and use hand holds, as well as
steps at all times. Do not carry unnecessary equipment into the cab and do not dismount
while the machine is moving.
5. INSPECT THE HEAVY EQUIPMENT BEFORE YOU USE IT
Let professionals service your equipment regularly. If you do it for your car, why would you
not do it for heavy machinery? Heavy equipment training 101 will tell you that you need
to inspect all equipment before operations. If you see there is a problem and it is outside
your area of expertise, let the professionals take care of any serious issues before you use
the equipment. Remember—put the machine in a parking position when performing any
6. HAVE THE RIGHT GEAR
When you are at a site with heavy machinery, you must have the right protective gear. Goggles, hard hats, gloves, and boots are a requirement. Other protective gear includes high
visibility clothing, fall protection equipment, etc. Do not compromise your safety because
you think the protective gear is cumbersome.
It doesn’t matter what level of training operators or site workers have, following these safety tips can help them
avoid injury while working with heavy equipment.
7. AVOID BLIND SPOTS ONSITE
Anyone who is operating heavy machinery must ensure that they have a clear vision on
all sides. If you have a blind spot, get the help of a colleague to spot for you. He or she will
direct you to a safe position.
8. COMMUNICATION IS CRITICAL
You must ensure that you keep the channels of communication open for everyone who
is on the construction site. It pays to invest in walkie talkies, two-way radios, or any
other system that works well for you. When you give your team the relevant information, they can avoid dangerous areas and inform the others as well.
9. EACH MACHINE HAS ITS USE
Every piece of heavy machinery has its use. You may, however, find that you are using a piece of equipment for something outside of what the manufacturer intended.
While it is entirely within reason to try and find multiple functionalities for the
equipment you have, it may not be a very good idea when it comes to heavy machinery. Overloading or overworking can lead to damage or even a breakdown. A piece
may break off, leading to injuries or death at the site. Trust the manufacturers and
stick to their recommendations.
10. DO NOT IGNORE YOUR SEATBELT
You may convince yourself that since you’re not driving down the highway, you do not
need to have a seatbelt on. However, you need to ask yourself why manufacturers put
it in the first place. You never know when the seatbelt could save your life. There have
been cases where the heavy equipment tips over and the saving grace for the operator is
the seatbelt. Even if it does not tip over, you could avoid some severe bangs and jostles
by having your belt on.