Workplace accidents and fatalities happen due to improper operation of heavy equipment or earth moving machines. As a heavy equipment operator, you need to undergo training on how to use the equipment safely and effectively before operating. Keep in mind that even seasoned heavy equipment operators are at risk of injuries. Fortunately, accidents can be prevented with proper attention to safety on the site.
Make your workplace a safer environment with these safety operating tips:
- Pay Attention to Blind Spots – Heavy equipment operators need to be attentive to their surroundings, especially in their blind spots when moving, even if it means getting out of the machine to make sure no one is behind them. Keep everyone informed, especially those in the blind spots and make them wear high visibility vests on all sites as possible.
- Keep Communication Lines Open – Communication is important in workplaces, especially if you are operating heavy equipment like AMT Machine Bar Feeders. Inform everyone of the location and time you will be working. Use a two-way radio or hand signals to communicate with your team. Your lines of communication should be discussed at every safety meeting and must be reinforced on-site.
- Wear a Seatbelt – While it is imperative to wear a seatbelt when driving a car, the same rules apply to heavy machine operators. Accidents can happen unexpectedly and wearing a seatbelt prevents you from being thrown off or falling off the equipment.
- Exercise Care When Mounting and Dismounting – Mounting and dismounting equipment could lead to a fatal fall, which could result in a potentially serious injury. To exercise care when getting in and out of heavy equipment, make sure to maintain a three-point contact (using two hands and one foot or both feet and one hand) and never jump. Also, never force yourself to climb higher. Always check the condition of the handholds and steps and make sure they are properly secured to the equipment. Repair or replace defective components immediately.
- Load and Unload Safely – Heavy equipment operators working in relocation companies must be alert when loading and unloading. The heavy equipment should be on level ground when loading and unloading. This prevents the risk of vehicles rolling or sliding off the low-bed ramps. Ask someone to be your spotter when unloading on a busy or high traffic area to ensure that no one is near the area.
- Perform a Pre-Work Hazard Check – Before you start working on a site, make sure to check for overhead and underground hazards, such as gas lines, cables, and hydro wires. Flagging helps you easily see and identify hazards. Make sure to place barriers around the dug up holes to prevent workers from inadvertently falling into them.
- Watch Load Limit – Be aware that heavy equipment has load limits. Make sure to know the load limit of the machine you are operating and carry below its limit. While there is a need to move faster, never push your equipment to carry more than its capacity. When operating forklifts and other lifting machines, always secure the load with the proper rigging attachments and make sure they are in good working condition.