Construction is recognized as one of largest and most active industries in the US. However, various threats associated with heavy machinery, towering structures, cave-in hazards, and loud worksites makes construction sites one of the dangerous fields to work in, even for experienced workers.
For its part, heavy equipment’s been involved in 7,681 construction fatalities from 1992 to 2010 (404 deaths, annually). This is alarming, especially if you pull up the number of casualties from 2006 when it rose to 470, before finally dropping to 271 in 2010. Despite technological advancements from manufacturers, heavy machinery remains a hazard on many construction sites because of other factors such as human error, erratic behavior, and other interferences.
To help operators address such issues, here’s five tips to improve your heavy machinery safety guidelines at work:
- Check and report – for starters, ensure that all equipment are in good working order on a regular basis or before every single operation. Often times, a lot of hazards are prevented thanks to periodical or constant updates on equipment and procedures.
- Clear space – thoroughly check that premise to make sure all individuals and co-workers are clear out of the area before dumping a load of materials or other machinery off of a heavy equipment. Use signals and warnings promptly, especially when multiple machines are active on the field.
- Do not overload – regardless of pressure from schedules and deadlines, never exceed what a machine can carry according to the manual. If you haven’t read the safety manual, you definitely should catch up and read it through. For all you know, you might have overlooked a trick or two that can serve as alternate solutions on some of your existing problems.
- Practice the buddy system – since large machinery usually has one or two blind spots to look out for, it’s recommended for equipment operators to work with one or more buddies so that they’ll have a better scope of their surroundings. Ultimately, employers must also add a loud reverse alarm system to double down on operational safety.
- Wear appropriate gears at work – this practice should apply to all on-site employees. Workers should wear bright protective clothing and signs that are highly visible under various working conditions. A policy should be set up in a way to discourage non-workers from entering a site without proper protection.
In addition to these pointers, safety managers should take note that workers have different physical, mental, and emotional capabilities which are usually associated with age and experience. Therefore, certain employees must never be put in situations that won’t help them address or overcome their shortcomings. Meanwhile, employees must express their concerns, observe the right behavior on the job, and ask for clearer instructions whenever necessary. After all, a lot of construction hazards, like those related to the operation of heavy equipment can be traced back to factors that are directly affected by human behavior and actions.