A Guide on Safely Operating Heavy Equipment: What to Know
Staying safe on the worksite is important for any line of work being carried out with heavy machinery-- from construction to demolition. Otherwise, we all know that heavy machines can lead to casualties and damages if not handled properly. It is estimated that nearly 1, 50,000 injuries happen on the job site each year.
Here we have rounded up some tips to minimize the potential risks and educate your team on how to stay safe while operating heavy machinery.
1. Check the Blind Spots
Heavy equipment operators absolutely must be 100% sure that no one else is in a blind spot. Generally, the view from a large vehicle is somewhat limited.
For this reason, it is always necessary to have a staff member indicate when the path behind the equipment is clear to reverse. Also, that designated person has to prevent other people from crossing while the moving vehicle backs out of the parking space.
Now, if this watchdog is not available, the operator must personally verify each of the equipment's blind spots. It is for this reason that the use of safety vests that have reflective tapes should be mandatory in this type of area.
2. The Way to Go Up And Down
One of the most common causes of accidents when using heavy equipment falls and trips when getting on or off the machine. For this, there is a general rule of safety in heavy equipment that consists in always maintaining three points of contact when entering or leaving the cabin.
When going up or down, never jump. The three-point-of-contact rule requires both of your hands to be firmly supported by the handles of the vehicle or the cab access ladder. Remember to always face the machine.
In the same way, the stands are not a decorative detail, for this reason, you must always keep them clean, without grease or oil. If any of these points are damaged, they need to be replaced.
3. Always Wear Seat Belts
When it comes to heavy machinery safety, wearing a seat belt is not optional. Not using them is really without excuse and passes more for an act of laziness that could cause possible injury.
A seat belt can save your life in the event of a vehicle rollover. In addition, it also keeps you firmly attached to the seat when you have to drive on very uneven terrain. This is how you maintain an additional preventive measure against the constant jumps of the machinery.
Always remember to inspect the fabric of the belt, in case it is torn or any of its parts does not work, you must replace it. In addition, regardless of its appearance, the complete belt assembly must be changed every 3 years.
4. Load and Unload The Equipment
If you want to be safe with heavy machinery, you should always be on level ground when loading or unloading the equipment. In this way, you greatly reduce the risk of potential rollovers and other costly vehicle accidents.
On the other hand, loading and unloading material can be dangerous to other people on the job site. Therefore, as in the first point, you need to have a member of staff to help you ensure that the area is free.
In addition, when it is necessary to lift objects with the machine, check that the loads are secured with their corresponding accessories and rigging and verify that the load is within the lifting capacity range of the equipment in the Operator's Manual. Check daily that they are in good condition.
5. Mind Your Load limit
It is not uncommon for a heavy machinery driver to operate different types of vehicles in the course of the same day. Therefore, you must check the different load limits that each piece of equipment has since these can change drastically.
Your vehicle may withstand a slight excess in volume, but that could have negative consequences on its regular performance. These effects will be more noticeable in the long term, with an inevitable reduction in the useful life of the equipment.
6. Regular Inspections are Important
As a general non-negotiable rule, the equipment must be inspected before use. This involves walking around the vehicle with a list of the most important components for efficient and safe operation.
The exact list of parts to check will vary by model. However, some of the components that you need to check daily are hydraulic pipes and hoses, chassis, oil and coolant levels, and the condition of the tires or chains.
Currently, there are various applications for mobile devices that can help you with this task.
7. Constant Communication
Job sites where heavy machinery is used are often crowded with people multitasking. That is why it is advisable to have a two-way radio or some other type of communicator that allows you to keep abreast of what is happening in the area.
Communication between the operators and the rest of the team should be important. It is necessary to reinforce this aspect and establish driving patterns in the workplace and communication by signs for when the situation requires it.
Whether it is a piece of construction equipment, agriculture, mining, or road works; working with heavy machinery can be risky if the necessary measures are not taken. Follow these safety measures, check your vehicles and their surroundings to ensure an accident-free environment.
Should you decide to leave the relocation of your prized heavy equipment leave it to the professionals. Even if you didn’t purchase your equipment at Permian Machinery Movers, Inc.
We will still gladly provide you with a quote to relocate your equipment whether it be a single unit or an entire fleet. While you’re at it why not sign up to have one of our techs go over the machine and take care of any service issues that it may have. We are a one-stop shop for all of your material handling needs. Please give us a call at one of our three locations across Texas and we will get you taken care of!