Even though being safe while using heavy equipment may seem obvious, it is still important to do due to the high number of fatalities and injuries that happen, even among highly experienced operators. It is essential that you regularly read through the standard operator rules and various guidelines to ensure that you and your crew remain safe.
We will now look at some of the main tips that will ensure you safely operate heavy machinery.
Before using any heavy equipment, always inspect it
You should always do daily inspections and make sure you’re diligent about it. Ensure that you do a walk around once every day, at a minimum. You should also have a checklist with all of the components that you need to check and make sure that you also check the hydraulic hoses as well as oil levels.
Find out where the underground utilities and power lines are located beforehand
Whenever you have to go on a new job site, you should make sure that you check where the power lines are located as well as low clearance obstructions. Make sure that you also check the location of all underground utilities which includes electric lines, water, sewer, gas and more. You should mark these facilities using flags and paint that is specifically color coded.
Practice a high degree of caution when dismounting or mounting heavy duty equipment
Unfortunately, one of the main reasons why people get injured on work sites is due to falls when mounting or dismounting industrial equipment. Keep this in mind and you should always have 3 points of contract while entering or exiting equipment. Make sure to avoid jumping.
Use the seat belt
Even though it may appear unnecessary to use a seat belt in a machine that moves so slow, however, it is an important safety measure that is easy to do. Remember, it takes less than a couple of seconds to put on a seat belt and it can save your life and protect you, especially in a rollover.
Pay attention to blind spots
Now, before you use any equipment, make sure that you are completely sure that there is no one behind your machine or in any of your blind spots. You can get a spotter who can help you or you can simply get out of the machine to check these areas on your own. You should never falsely believe that everywhere is clear. If there are other people working with you, make sure that they are aware of all the blind spots and they should always make eye contact before they approach you when you’re in a machine. If there are any guests on the site, then they should always wear reflective safety vest.
Utilize hand signals and radio for easy communication
A two way radio makes communication very easy. However, if this isn’t available, you should have a spotter that knows how to use hand signals.
Be careful when offloading or loading equipment
Whenever you need to offload or load, ensure that you’re on ground that is level. This will reduce the chances of equipment rolling or sliding. Also, make sure that the area doesn’t have people and that you have a spotter.
Remember load limits
Different machines have different load limits. So, make sure that you are aware of the load limit of every machine that you use and don’t exceed the upper limits.