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Heavy Equipment Operation Toolbox Talk

Learn the basic safety principles of how to operate heavy equipment on the jobsite.

Heavy Equipment Operation Safety Talk

There are risks and hazards involved when using heavy equipment of any sort. It’s important to educate yourself on what these risks are to be as safe as possible. As an operator of these types of machinery, you should always follow protocol and only use them as intended.

Using these machines irresponsibly can lead to injuries or fatalities. It is important that the person who is operating heavy equipment has the proper certifications and training to do so.

In this article, we will discuss safety protocol, the hazards that apply, and what you can do to avoid accidents when operating heavy equipment.

Heavy equipment hazards

There are many heavy equipment hazards to look out for. That’s why proper training and caution should be taken when you are using the equipment or are around it. Some hazards that you should be aware of are explained below.

1. Leaks

Leaks of any sort can happen with heavy equipment. Leaking fluid can create a slipping hazard, or even a fire hazard. When leaks happen, it is important to always clean up the mess and not leave it. You should also find the source of the leak to ensure equipment is functioning properly.

2. Contact with power lines

To be as safe as possible, heavy machinery should be kept at least 10 feet away from any overhead power lines and poles. This decreases the chances of hitting one. You should also be aware of voltages as well. The higher they are, the further away from them you should stay.

3. Struck-by hazards

Struck-by instances are very common with heavy machinery. They can cause anything from minor injuries to fatalities. This is referred to as being in the “line of fire.” The people who are spotting or standing by are at the highest risk for being struck by heavy equipment.

4. Equipment failure

Proper inspection of the machine before usage is important to keep malfunctions from happening while running the machine. Equipment that fails during use can pose a risk for injuries. Hydraulic or mechanical failures are not uncommon scenarios for the jobsite.

5. Property damage

Property damage while using heavy equipment can happen very easily, which is why you should always perform proper walk around inspections. These accidents can be avoided so employers don’t have to pay out extra money. Cars and buildings that are out of the operator’s line of sight can be hit.

How to safely operate heavy equipment

When you are operating a piece of heavy equipment, it is important to do so responsibly. It’s a machine that can harm people and damage objects if not used correctly. Always follow the safety practices that have been provided.

1. Inspection

It’s important to perform thorough inspections of your heavy equipment before use. Make sure that all components are working correctly and don’t have any obvious problems. Construction equipment management software can help by providing workers with a specific inspection checklist to follow on their mobile device. You should never run equipment if you find a problem, as doing so can damage something or even hurt someone.

2. Inspect surroundings

Before you begin running one of these pieces of equipment, you should do a full walk-around of your machine. This will ensure that everything is intact and there aren’t any debris or objects in your way. Never skip this process.

3. Training and certification

Improper use of heavy machinery is dangerous. You shouldn’t just assume that you can operate something without training. Certain certifications and training are required. In the training, you will learn the safety protocols and become familiar with the equipment that you are running.

4. Protection

Operating heavy machinery is just like driving a motor vehicle — you should always wear your seatbelt. It can help you if an accident occurs. There should be seatbelts inside the vehicle and a rollover protection system as well. Rolling over in one of these machines can be dangerous, so you need to make sure you have the needed protection in case it happens.

5. Clean work area

When you are operating your heavy equipment, it is important to make sure that the area you are working in is tidy and clean. Good housekeeping can prevent accidents from happening. When you are trying to work in a cluttered work area, you are more likely to have trouble.

Safety tips on a construction site

Safety and caution on a construction site are important. There are several potential hazards that can happen, so you should know how to avoid them. By doing this, you are doing your part to keep yourself and those around you safe. Some helpful tips to remember are:

  • Always wear proper PPE when you are performing jobs that require it. There are specific items that are required for different jobs. Some common ones are gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats.

  • Be careful when getting in and out of heavy equipment. Check for slippery surfaces, use the step ladder provided, and ask for help when needed.

  • When using a ladder, be sure to follow protocol. Inspect the ladder before use to make sure there aren't any defects or problems with it.

  • When you are loading or unloading equipment, make sure that you are doing it as safely as possible. A spotter should always be there, and you should follow proper loading techniques.

  • A clean work area is a good way to avoid accidents. Anything from damage to objects, injuries to bystanders, or injury to the operator can happen in a cluttered or messy work site.

By following the safety regulations, you can reduce the chances of injury or death. However, there is always a chance of accidents happening, even when using safety precautions.

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