On just about any construction site, you'll find a variety of heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, cranes and others. These machines pose special hazards to those who operate them and to those who work near or around them. Accidents involving heavy equipment are responsible for thousands of workplace injuries and even fatalities each year.
If you work with this type of machinery on a daily basis, you may become complacent and forget about safety. However, it's critical to always remember the potential hazards of working with heavy equipment and how to mitigate them.
There are two common types of accidents caused by heavy equipment: Stricken and Trapped.
- Stricken: One of the biggest risks around heavy equipment is the risk of being struck by it. To minimize this hazard, areas where heavy equipment is used should be clearly marked. No one should be in these areas unless absolutely necessary.
- Trapped: As the name implies, these are incidents or injuries where a worker is caught between multiple objects, such as two machines. Such an incident can crush a worker and cause serious harm. An important tip to avoid being pinned between heavy machinery is to stay away from it.
Here is a list of tips you can follow to reduce the risk of injury associated with heavy machinery.
- Wear protective equipment.Always wear safety glasses, hearing protection and protective footwear when working with heavy equipment.
- Check equipment. Make sure equipment is properly grounded before use; check and adjust all other safety devices.
- Stay in line of sight. Always stay in the line of sight of the driver or operator of the heavy equipment.
- Avoid foot traffic. Keep heavy equipment areas clear of unnecessary foot traffic.