Safety in the workplace is everybody’s responsibility—the employers, supervisors, and workers alike. Safety measures must be observed when dealing with heavy equipment to avoid accidents like cuts, crushed toes, or back injuries. Companies should adhere to safety and health administration (OSHA) guidelines at all times.
Heavy equipment is usually found in warehouses, construction sites, and manufacturing industries, among other work areas. Warehouses store many things, including heavy equipment like generators and freezers that must be moved using carts to specific places or loaded onto trucks for transportation. Heavy equipment has to be moved for various reasons: transporting to specific destinations, making room for other things, and making work easier.
This article will highlight some safety measures to take to keep employees safe while moving heavy equipment.
1. Keep Off Blind Spots
Heavy equipment operators should always make sure that there’s nobody or nothing around them before moving. It’s not too much of a task to get out of a machine to check around before moving. You can’t rely too much on mirrors as they may not be 100% appropriate. It’s also essential to get insights on specific heavy equipment like cranes.
2. Put On Safety Gear
When working onsite, employees should always wear protective gear like gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and safety glasses. This protects them from rough or sharp edges of the materials they carry or lift. They should also put on steel-toed boots to protect their feet and toes from accidents.
3. Provide Full Training To Operators
Training the operators is essential because all equipment comes with guidelines on using it and has risks. To avoid any accidents, don’t allow untrained operators to man any equipment or vehicle. Training should always be done whenever you have new workers on board or have purchased new equipment.
4. Maintain Communication Throughout
It’s crucial for workers operating heavy equipment to communicate with each other and their supervisors. Invest in two-way radios for all workers to communicate using heavy equipment. For instance, if a crane operator notices that the machine is not moving as required or has challenges controlling it, they should be able to inform the supervisor on a radio call immediately. As soon as the supervisor is notified, the operator has to stop working for the crane to be fixed.
5. Seek Assistance
It should be known to all workers that whenever they cannot see over or around a load, they should seek assistance to move the cargo or equipment to its designated destination. Seeking help will minimize accidents and take care of the equipment because trying to push it may damage it.
6. Uphold Safe Work Practices
Always check equipment before working to ensure that every part is functioning. A vehicle, for instance, should have headlights, brake system, taillights, and brake lights, among other items, in a functional state. Remember to turn off the engine and engage the brakes before leaving. Wear seat belts at all times, and don’t overload vehicles.
7. Take Care Of Ground Workers
Designate an area with enough space for equipment and instruct ground workers to keep out of that place so that they don’t obstruct heavy equipment operators. Ensure that ground workers observe all safety precautions while undertaking their duties onsite to avoid accidents. They should be aware of overhead obstacles, rough terrain, and other impediments.
8. Be On The Lookout
Heavy equipment can cause many hazards; thus, it’s always good to be on the lookout. Be careful with the equipment used for excavation or any heavy-duty tasks on construction sites. Designate specific entry and exit points for all equipment. Ensure that the work area is clean and free of obstacles for different equipment to move comfortably.
9. Ensure Equipment Is Inspected And Maintained
All operators of heavy equipment should always check their machines regularly. Check for areas that could have any issues and address them before they develop into serious problems. Ensure that equipment is maintained as per schedule. Preventive maintenance is also crucial for overall safety. Most heavy machinery eventually breaks down for various reasons: overworking the machinery resulting in quick wear and tear, irregular servicing, and improper storage.
10. Be Conscious Of The Limits
Operating heavy equipment requires that the workers are alert and sober because it can be stressful sometimes. Despite the instructions they may have been given, they should let go if a worker is unsure about managing their task because it may be hazardous. Performing tasks when sober makes the worker more comfortable and productive.
Safety around heavy equipment is crucial and should be taken seriously. It only takes the management and workers to be aware of the hazards related to operating equipment and understand the safety procedures to follow. Companies should prioritize safety by ensuring that all workers are updated with the latest safety protocols and undertake courses to review safety knowledge.