Heavy Equipment and the Need for Safety Training
There is a great deal of responsibility attached to using heavy equipment. According to NIOSH the machinery that are classified as heavy equipment include: excavators, backhoes, cranes and draglines, dozers, graders, compactors and rollers, scrapers, loaders, mixers, heavy hauler trucks, cable plows, augers, forklifts, and manlifts.
Safety Training for Heavy Equipment OperatorsA study course in safety training for operators of heavy equipment also includes identifying potential hazards. For example, materials that fall from these vehicles, proper inspection, fueling and equipment maintenance, traffic control in areas where heavy equipment is used and reduction of noise where applicable. Operators are trained in rollover protection structures. Additional training is given in inspection procedures for vehicle steps, grab irons, pedals, handrails, cab floors to detect defects or debris that may be hazardous. The U.S. Center for Disease Control also provides documentation on heavy equipment safety and hazards for construction in the "Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health (eLCOSH)."
Procedures for Operating Heavy Equipment SafelyHeavy equipment safety training offers all operators a comprehensive study course that aids in daily use of specific types of equipment before, during and after operation. After the initial pre-use inspection procedure, the operator should also check equipment controls to ensure they are working according to manufacturer's specifications. Employers and operators should determine the location of utility lines above and below ground. This can be done with the help of the utility provider. The U.S. Pipeline Division requires under state laws that all excavations and digging with the use of heavy equipment by operators and owners must call authorities to alert them. Call before You Dig has become law across the states and if ignored, a fine is attached. Post contact names and numbers to call in a visible place at the worksite. Heavy equipment operators are trained in the 3-Point Contact Rule regarding safe mount and dismount and entrance and exit this equipment as follows: "Two hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand. Both feet planted firmly on equipment or vehicle steps, with one hand grabbing a solid object, such as the steering wheel or the grab handle. The other option is to have both hands on the grab handles or steering wheel and one foot on the step. These techniques provide maximum stability and support while reducing the likelihood of slipping and falling." After using heavy equipment, the following procedures should be followed:
- Safe parking on level ground
- Ensure pressure relief from all hydraulic controls
- Dismount after all motion from the equipment stops
- Use the 3 Point Contact rule to dismount
- Remove keys from all unattended heavy equipment vehicles