“There are a lot of risks in what we do. Whether it’s us being ground personnel or us overseeing what’s going on, there are a lot of inherent hazards. So, before any equipment can move on a job site, hazards need to be mitigated. Our communications with (equipment) operators and contractors needs to include the site hazards. “It is our responsibility to remain visible and aware while around heavy equipment as operators can become complacent.” Josh Belnap. Project Engineer and Field Technician.
In today’s world heavy equipment is all around us. Drilling rigs, cranes/cherry pickers, rail cars and engines, scrapers, graders, bulldozers, loaders, cement/concrete trucks, track hoes/excavators, backhoes, bobcats, manlifts, forklifts, water trucks or many agriculture tractors are all considered heavy equipment. With so many heavy machines moving around us, it is extremely important to keep a watchful eye out for our own safety. Machine-related injuries were ranked second after motor vehicle-related injuries among the leading causes of occupational injury fatalities, accounting for approximately 14% of total deaths. (1)
Keys to being safe while operation or working around heavy machinery are:
1) Maintain your equipment. Proper maintenance can help protect both the operator and anyone around from injury due to mechanical failure.
2) Be competent as an operator. If you are not qualified and experienced operating a piece of heavy equipment do not use it. Operator error is the leading cause for injuries while using machinery.
3) Be observant. As an operator it’s imperative that you first familiarize yourself for possible risks around you. These can included, but not limited to, overhead power lines, steep slopes or drop offs, and other ground obstructions. As a bystander of heavy equipment, you must understand your safety is in your own hands. Heavy machinery is big, bulky, and loud which makes it difficult for operators to see or hear others around them.
(1) NIOSH NTOF Data, 1980-1989. Retrieved from http://www.worksafecenter.com