Construction projects require large, heavy equipment to do most of the job. From residential home building to large roadbuilding projects, heavy construction equipment is critical to building and maintaining infrastructure.
That said, staying safe when monitoring and working around heavy construction equipment is critical.
While modern heavy machines include various safety features like emergency brake systems, warning devices, and headlights, they can still become a workplace safety liability and risk to both the operator and nearby workers without proper monitoring and safety measures practices.
Hence, in this article, we will share some tips to help any construction site supervisor and manager properly monitor heavy equipment and ensure the safety of everyone on site. Read on to know them.
- Always Require A Walk-around Inspection
An outside check or walk-around inspection should be a routine task for operators. This procedure allows them to visually inspect the machine before starting it up and using it. They will need to look at potential issues or damages like damaged tires or loose handholds and fix them if necessary. The procedure may also include mirrors and seat adjustments for maximum visibility.
A machine operator should also understand the common issues with the machine they’re inspecting. They can check the machine’s safety manual, which usually includes specific steps for walk-around inspections. Familiarity with these manuals can ensure a more effective assessment.
A walk-around inspection ensures that machines are maintained and function well in operation. While regular maintenance schedules may not always catch every problem, a walk-around can help workers spot potential issues and minimize significant safety concerns.
- Consider An Onsite Inspection
Aside from regular workaround inspection before using a piece of equipment, as a construction manager, you should also consider an onsite inspection of your heavy construction equipment by a professional.
Expert onsite assessors can help inspect all your heavy construction equipment and machinery. Businesses like Stenhouse Lifting & Safety Solutions can keep your construction site safe and compliant through periodic, software-enabled assessments and supporting services.
If you want to know and learn more about onsite inspections, explore and browse around here.
- Ensure Basic Safety Practices
Construction managers and supervisors should ensure that every worker on site follows basic safety practices. Here are some points to consider:
- Wear a seatbelt or other safety harnesses whenever riding or operating a piece of heavy equipment.
- Equipment operators need to be aware of blind spots. In this case, it’s always essential to have spotters who can provide them with information from the ground and prevent operators from accidentally moving a piece of equipment or material into dangerous positions.
- Use effective communication signals via radio communication. However, radios can also fail, or site noise levels can make them useless. In this case, hand signals can also communicate safety information.
- Don’t rely too much on the equipment’s safety features, such as collision detection sensors and backup signals. Instead, always communicate with your spotter and stay alert to the machine’s blind spots.
- When mounting and dismounting, workers should always maintain at least three points of contact with the machine – either both feet and one hand or two hands and one foot.
- Damaged steps and handholds should be replaced immediately to prevent falls from the machine.
- Encourage workers always to make eye contact with a heavy equipment operator to ensure safety. Direct eye contact ensures that both operator and other workers on the ground are aware of each other. It prevents an operator from accidentally swinging a machine towards a stationary worker approaching the line of movement.
- Enforce Load Limits
Every piece of construction equipment has a limit on how much weight it can accommodate. Exceeding these load limits can stress the machine and cause failure.
In a good case scenario, it can only cause operational downtime. However, failure can cause safety issues for operators in the worst-case scenario, such as a machine breaking apart and crushing workers.
So, make sure that operators know these load limits and strictly follow them when using the machine.
- Ensure Proper Storage And Maintenance
The proper storage and maintenance practice can extend the lifespan of your heavy construction equipment and ensure that it is safe to operate.
Improperly stored equipment can cause damage and cause it to break down sooner, particularly when exposed to harsh elements and environmental conditions such as humidity, cold, and heat. So, make sure that your equipment is properly stored in an uncompromising position or location.
Meanwhile, preventive maintenance can help ensure that your machines are in good working condition. Regular maintenance can help catch potential malfunctions and issues before they cause equipment failure.
Working around or with heavy construction equipment, whether a skid steer or a large excavator, you need to be aware of what these powerful machines are capable of. That includes what they can do to you and others if someone’s not careful.
Heavy construction equipment can be a major safety hazard when not used properly. However, strict precautions and proper monitoring practices can do a lot to keep your workers safe. Ensure to follow the above tips to minimize potential safety risks on a construction site.