Heavy Equipment Safety
Important Heavy Equipment Safety Rules
If you intend to work with large tools and equipment, it is important that you arm yourself with the knowledge of heavy equipment safety rules. The best way to ensure that you do not end up harming yourself or others while you work is to practice good safety techniques and know exactly what you are doing at all times. It can be tempting to want to throw yourself into a project through excitement or in an attempt to meet a deadline, but there is no excuse for being unsafe. Let’s take a look at a few of the basic heavy equipment safety rules.
Practice Good Communication Skills
Communication is important on any project site, whether you are at home or on a work site. Good communication involves letting others around you know what you intend to do before you do it. This not only increases productivity but it also allows the people around you to keep clear while you work. Communication not only involves verbal conveyance of your intentions, but with large machinery it can also include using blinkers, reverse lights, and hazard signals. If others are aware of your actions then they can be better prepared to exercise caution.
Use a Buddy
Part of heavy equipment safety is recognizing a weakness and asking for help. Say you are operating a large forklift machine and cannot visually tell whether a particular area is clear—also known as a blind spot. This would be a great time to utilize the buddy system. During this situation you should have a friend stand a safe distance away where they can be seen by you as you operate the machine. Have them use hand signals to indicate whether you are clear, how much room you have to maneuver, and when to stop. A buddy can also help to redirect others around you while you operate the machinery. The buddy system is really like having a second set of eyes to keep your work as safe as possible.
Survey the Equipment and the Environment
It is extremely important that you give your equipment a thorough inspection each day before you use it. Be sure to give the machine a test run to ensure that it is in proper working order before you set out on your project. If you are not sure whether the machine is operating properly, then you may want to consult the manual. It is never a good idea to use heavy machinery without having the proper training and knowledge about it. You should also take care to inspect the environment in which you will be working. The safety of your equipment largely relies upon your operation skills as well as how safe the surrounding environment is. If your work area is not safe, then the chances are pretty high that any machinery used there will not operate at its usual level of safety. Simply take the time to have a good look around to ensure that the area is safe. Items like broken glass, nails, or similar objects could be propelled and cause harm to a nearby worker. Potholes, uneven terrain, and dust or soft gravel can also be potential hazards.
Never Exceed the Limitations of the Machine
Again, it is important that you read the user manual so that you know not only what your machinery is capable of but also to understand its weaknesses and limitations. Very few machines can handle “anything and everything,” therefore it is realistic to assume that your machinery has some kind of limitation, be it weight, terrain, etc. Know these limitations well and never exceed them!