Heavy machinery safety is a key part of keeping you and your co-workers protected on the job site. It’s important to know how to operate equipment correctly to minimize the risks you face when working with construction or agricultural machinery.
Make sure you fully understand how any piece of equipment functions before attempting to use it. To get started, follow these six heavy machinery safety tips to ensure the work site stays secure for everyone.
1. Get the Necessary Training
Depending on the work, you may be required to complete special training before operating certain heavy machinery. This should go without saying, but only operate such machinery if you’ve undergone the necessary training. It might seem easy and you might think you can figure it out, but a mistake could hurt you or a co-worker.
If you have received training, don’t be afraid to ask questions if something isn’t familiar. Take the time to fully understand new equipment, making use of reference sheets and looking for help if you’re unsure of how any piece of heavy machinery operates.
2. Follow All OSHA Regulations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the federal organization responsible for workplace safety. This includes making sure staff at all job sites — from a downtown office to the local farm to the garage — follow safe practices.
Much of the training, safety equipment and safety procedures followed by employers are demanded by OSHA, and violations can incur penalties. If you have questions about the requirements for operating any heavy machinery, reference the OSHA website for more information.
3. Wear Protective Equipment
This is a simple thing you can do to keep yourself safe from the moment you set foot on a site. The exact equipment you need will vary depending on the job and may include hard hats, eye and ear protection or gloves. Certain tasks may require additional equipment like respirators, specific footwear and safety vests. Make sure you know what safety equipment you need to operate any heavy machinery before you get to work.
4. Inspect Machinery Carefully
Heavy machinery is often operated in tough conditions where it can easily become damaged. Walk around the equipment before you start working to make sure there’s nothing visibly wrong before you start the engine. If you do see something that doesn’t look right, then report it and get it fixed.
5. Communicate With Your Co-Workers
There’s often a two-way radio available for communicating with those around you. Use it. Heavy machinery is loud and large with plenty of blind spots. Communicating with your co-workers is the best way to make sure you know what everyone is doing, which prevents accidents.
6. Know Your Limits
Operating heavy machinery is a tough job that demands your full attention. If you’re tired, then stay out of the driver’s seat. Likewise, if you’ve been working awhile and need a break, then take one. A few minutes to stretch and refresh yourself helps keep you alert and ready to finish your workday.
Following good heavy machinery safety practices helps ensure the safety of not only you, but also everyone else on the job site.
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Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.