Best practices for heavy machinery at construction sites

Construction is a dangerous job, and heavy machinery can lead to serious injuries if best practices aren’t followed. EHS Today recently released a set of tips for those who seek to smoothly integrate machines into their construction businesses. Remember that 150,000 people are injured on the job every year in construction, and 824 people were killed in building accidents in 2013. To close out this year safe and sound, it is more important than ever to follow safe practices and ensure workers know what to do in case of emergency.

People working near heavy machines
One of the biggest dangers on a construction site is the machinery used to dig or carry heavy objects. These are only to be used by licensed professionals, and even with that precaution in mind, it would be a good idea to invest in safety training for people who are around the machines. Remember that someone who is working inside of a crane needs spotters outside to watch for people who are doing something else, and also be sure that workers can adequately hear the sound of a machine backing up.

People who are new to construction are most at risk around machines because they won’t know the safe places to stand. They may accidentally put themselves out of the line of sight not only of the operator but also the spotters. With that in mind, training the new people and indoctrinating them to always stay on point is very important – especially during apparent lulls in the job when people become careless.

An additional precaution to take when there are many new people or when a job is proceeding slowly is to make sure to play it safe. It would be better to delay finishing than to work too quickly and possibly injure someone who lost his or her concentration because of trying to do something faster than possible. While some people naturally work quickly, other people naturally take their time. It might be a good idea to have fast workers be given the jobs they are best at and to keep them away from slower people. This way workers who are just being introduced to a procedure won’t feel that’s necessary to rush through something, thereby potentially risking his or her life.

People working inside machines
Those who are operating the equipment would do well to follow the same advice outlined above for people who are working outside. Taking time to do things the right way is always better than hurrying through something. An additional concern is when someone becomes lax at the controls because the job has reached a point of being simple an easy to do. According to OSHA, the major dangers having to do with machines are when people become careless and load a truck with too much material, for example, or pick up objects with a crane in a dangerous way.

Another area of concern is when the machines aren’t kept in top shape. It’s a good rule of thumb to inspect machinery every day, making sure the backing up sound of the machines is working, along with all the other safety devices. Additionally, a poorly run machine can have a damaged engine, which could be as dangerous to the person inside the vehicle as an overheated motor would be to someone on the road driving too quickly.

Be sure to remember also that it’s important to power down machines when they aren’t in use. Someone may accidentally climb on board and cause trouble without meaning to.

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