3 Tips for Working Around Heavy Equipment Safely
There are numerous jobs where workers are required to work around heavy equipment. Whether you are a contractor, are employed by the forest service, or are a visitor on a construction site, there are some safety tips for those who will be around heavy equipment. West Coast Training offers courses specifically related to training to work and be around heavy equipment safely.
Here are our top three tips:
Communication is how two or more people pass on or share information, ask questions, and relate to one another. It allows the transfer of knowledge, know-how, or even simply a confirmation that a situation is alright. During the use and operation of heavy equipment, there are a lot of simultaneous factors and actions. Being able to read the site and communicate with the various operating entities can keep individuals alive and preserve the integrity of the workspace.
Communication can be verbal (e.g., radio or voice) or visual (e.g., flashing lights or hand signals). Staying safe means acknowledged permission and the patience to wait for a response to a request to approach. The operator must pause using the equipment (boom, grapple, blade, etc.) and clearly acknowledge that permission to enter the working circle is granted (e.g., by flashing lights, radio communication, or facing toward the coworker and making distinguishable eye contact).
2. Interaction with the Heavy Equipment
Even once you’re trained and skilled in heavy machine operation, you will still need to be able to pay attention to the worksite and the ways in which you interact with the machinery. For instance, based upon where the equipment is located, there is an imaginary line that draws a circle around its location. This is referred to as the “working circle” and moves along with the piece of heavy equipment. So it is vital to always be aware of who is working on what, where, and with what type of equipment.
When it comes to using communication to move around the “working circle,” it’s important to walk on the driver’s side so there’s better visibility. Additionally, when climbing into equipment, there is a three-point form for properly mounting and dismounting heavy equipment. Always remember, it is not safe to just jump down from heavy equipment.
3. Heavy Equipment
Learning standard safety protocols around heavy equipment is one of the most important components of getting involved in both causal and professional work with heavy equipment. Before operating any equipment, there should be a thorough inspection to make sure all alarms and lights are working properly.
The equipment operator should know where they’re going on the site and have a plan mapped out for how they will move around the site. A “danger zone” should also be set up so that there is a designated work area so that those around the site know if they enter, they might get injured. There needs to be a clear line of sight between the operator and the workers so communication remains efficient and effective.
Heavy machine and equipment operation can be a great career with the proper training and certification. Whichever job you aim to do, it’s always best to be safe, and these three tips about working around heavy equipment safely could be a lesson that helps save lives.