5 Safety Tips for Using Heavy Equipment on the Job Site

safety tips

The use of heavy equipment can be quite dangerous when not used properly. This factor coupled with their operation on a job site which also has its own hazards, and makes for the purpose of ensuring ultimate safety on site. The construction job site generally is busy, and there is the need to minimize accidents as much as possible to reduce inordinate delays overall. The Occupational Safety and Health Admin (OSHA) indicates that being struck by an accident or being caught in or between an accident are two of the four main causes of fatalities on job sites. It is imperative that safety practices are involved in order to reduce the risk of accidents.

There are a few operational safety tips that mitigate potential accidents, and here are some of those top priority tips to assist those using heavy equipment on the job site.

Be Mindful – Avoid Blind Spots

forklift for a warehouseAs simple as this may sound, it is crucial that there is no one or nothing behind them, as they are about to back-up. Sometimes this may be taken for granted as there may be the presumption that with such a heavy piece of equipment in use, that the mistake may not occur of someone standing or placing something in back of the equipment. To reduce the blind spot error, the operator should consult the mirrors. 

As a contingency plan, the operator of the heavy equipment must sometimes physically disembark the machine, and  walk around the heavy machine to ensure that no one or nothing is present, which would cause issues. The brief time taken to do so may save the life of someone inadvertently standing in the blind spot or the operator.

Load Limit

wheeled skid steer with bucketIn order for the optimal operation of the heavy equipment while in use, it is important to follow the guide for load limits. These load limits include knowing the size as well as the weight maximum for the equipment. Naturally if the load is more than that recommended for the heavy equipment, it may cause serious malfunction and strain on the operation. This can cause safety issues, and at times unpredictable damages to person and nearby equipment. 

While knowing and observing the load limits is critical, so too is ensuring that the load under negotiation is secured correctly. This may include visual checks as well to inspect for loose nuts and bolts as well as for any fraying or breakage. 

Physical And Emotional Capacity

We are all unique in our capabilities, whether physical, mental and emotional. On any particular day, this could all be quite varied, and this also changes with our age and experience on the job. It is important that as the operator on the job site, and for your own safety as well, that you do not operate heavy equipment when you are feeling mentally, physically or even emotionally incapacitated. Doing so can also impact colleagues and co-workers. If for whatever reason, the physical or emotional capacity has been compromised, it is best to request that a more experienced operator complete the job.

Operating heavy equipment on the job site, needs an alert, non-distracted, calm and focused operator. This will also mean enhanced productivity, as the chances of making poor judgment calls, and errors are minimized. 

Seat Belts Are Important

Wearing your seatbelt is just as important in heavy equipment as it is in regular cars. Should the excavator, skid steer, forklift or backhoe loader roll or topple unexpectedly, the seat belt can help keep the operator from being thrown from it. Wearing the seatbelt may be coupled with ensuring that personal protective equipment is also worn by the operator, while on the job site.

Communicate Effectively

This is key to any successful operation being undertaken on the job. For example the communication between the operator of the boom lift and the ground crew is important as they navigate movement around the job site. Proper communication will assist in ensuring that safety on site is maintained and can alert all parties should anything arise.

Effective communication while operating the heavy equipment on the job site leads to the avoidance or the minimalism of error and delay. Additionally, the constant communication between the operator and the team also means that should an emergency arise for whatever reason, that it can be managed quickly. 

Making Safety A Priority 

At times it may be taken for granted that these tips and several others are top of mind of persons, while operating heavy equipment on the job site. The reality is that more than 20,000 workers are injured in work zones with heavy equipment. Injury and sometimes death arises as a result of rollovers, blindspots, backovers, collision, and even improper communication strategy.

Using heavy equipment can be dangerous when not operated as per guidelines or should the operator not be in the best frame of mind. All steps should be taken to mitigate any potential accidents from heavy equipment on the site.