Heavy commercial equipment and construction machinery are made to be strong and durable to withstand extreme work pressures. On working sites they are usually hauling or lifting huge amounts of load, rubble and material. Such places are prone to accidents due to negligence of workers and machine operators. Many accidents are also reported because of overloading the machines. Here are some safety tips for operators of heavy equipment and workers standing or working nearby:
1. Always wear safety helmets and very high visibility clothing during work hours. Safety gear can consist of gloves, steel-toed boots, glasses, hats, and masks. The work may sometimes be seemingly minor, but the use of heavy equipment on construction sites generates a lot of pollutants, some of them can cause skin and eye irritation and respiratory diseases. They also prevents are threats like having something heavy fall over them or a sharp tool causing cuts and worse.
2. Ensure that all the plugs, switches are working perfectly before starting any machine especially if you are working with electrical machines. For construction machines and heavy equipment, the machine should regularly be check for faulty parts.
3. Always make sure that the machines which are being used have alarms and emergency shut off systems at the ready. Some machines like dozers, excavators, and front end loaders are very big and the operator has a panoramic view or his surroundings. But during work time so much is going on at working time that he might not be able to keep his attention on all sides and an unsuspecting worker standing nearby can be in danger. This is why these machines should always have backing up alarms to notify those nearby that the machine is working.
4. Don't operate heavy equipments while under the influence of alcohol or any drug. Some medications may also cause drowsiness. Working late and extensive shifts without enough rests can also cause workers to be less alert.
5. Always ensure that communications between workers is in order. Crew members should be notified if large machines are working and moving about. Operators should also be careful and should notify the workers around them if they are moving the machine to another location. This is also important as it allows them to pave way for their smooth movement.
6. As powerful as heavy machineries are, they're designed to bear certain weights that must not be exceeded under any circumstance even if working under pressure to meet set targets. Likewise, these machines are designed for certain tasks and should not be used to perform other work even if superiors give the go-ahead. The instructions are there for a reason and serve as a warning and a guide to operator safety.
7. A visual inspection followed by a physical inspection before and after use of heavy equipment should be done at all times even if it's to be used only for a few minutes or seconds and for minor tasks. Any damage has to be repaired and any changes to the equipment before and after use logged and presented to facilitate repair work. This simple step can greatly minimize risks and if a habit can be cultivated, workers, the management and the credibility of the company will witness a better safety record.
8. Heavy equipment needs a wide berth for operation. Ground workers who don't need to be present should be made to leave. Every year, workers are crushed by heavy equipment, pinned between them or struck by components like backhoes. More often, it's people who are in the way who suffer the most. So unless they need to be present at the time of operating heavy equipment, operators and their machines should always be given a wide berth.
9. Finally, Construction sites generate high decibels of noise and when machinery is running it's impossible to hear what others are saying. But since communication is necessary, there should be a set way to convey instructions and warnings without speaking. Hand signals are the next best thing if two-way radios are not being used. As such, management should make efforts to train workers in signaling. Similarly, warning signs must be placed where necessary to alert workers to steer clear of danger zones. They must be well-installed not only where heavy machinery is being operated but where changing conditions are observed in certain zones.