Life-Saving Safety Tips for Operating Heavy Equipment

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Go to any busy construction site and you will likely see equipment ranging from bulldozers and excavators to cranes and trenchers. Without these machines, it would be virtually impossible to complete large projects that involve heavy lifting, removal of large amounts of soil and rock, and excavating hard soil layers to build trenches. However, if workers do not make safety a priority when operating these heavy machines, they can be seriously injured in a tragic accident. By keeping safety tips in mind, workers can avoid these injuries.

According to the United States Department of Labor, 21 percent of the 5,250 workers who suffered fatal work-related injuries in 2018 were in the construction industry. Many of the fatalities were caused by falling objects and electrocutions, as well as caught in-between accidents, which involved getting stuck, struck, or crushed by a piece of heavy equipment or another object. The following are the top safety recommendations for construction workers who operate or work in the vicinity of heavy equipment:

  • Create an incident management plan. The most effective plan will identify, analyze, and correct specific workplace hazards so that future accidents can be avoided. Incident management software can also help avoid distractions, enabling employers to focus on fixing the problem.
  • Provide the right training. Ensure that employees receive the appropriate training based on the piece of equipment being used. Workers who are operating equipment should identify basic mechanical issues.
  • Stay alert when operating heavy machinery. Workers should always be aware of their surroundings, particularly if there are any obstacles or dangerous spots nearby. To avoid unnecessary crowing, do not allow workers in the field of operation. This gives the machine operator more space to safely do the job.
  • Be careful when mounting or dismounting. To avoid falling, workers should make sure that they have a safe grip on the machine when getting on or off the machine. Never dismount the machine when it is moving.
  • Inspect the machine before use. Check the tires, fluid levels, and engine oil, and make sure that all moving parts are functioning properly.
  • Provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Depending on the equipment being used, provide workers with goggles, hard hats, gloves, boots, and any other PPE necessary to complete the job safely.
  • Avoid blind spots. Some larger pieces of equipment may have blind spots. Workers must keep this in mind when operating a large machine.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Walkie-talkies, two-way radios, and other communication systems can be very effective and valuable at a busy construction site.
  • Only use the machine for its intended use. Using a machine for something other than what the manufacturer intended can damage the machine, or cause it to break down, which can lead to injuries or fatalities at the worksite.
  • Always wear a seat belt. If a piece of heavy equipment tips over, a seat belt can be a lifesaver. If a piece of equipment comes with a seat belt, it is there for a reason.

Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims of Heavy Equipment Injuries

If you suffered a serious workplace injury involving a piece of heavy equipment or machinery, contact the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will secure the maximum benefits you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online. Located in Baltimore, we serve clients throughout Maryland.