Heavy Equipment & Their Safety Factors

One of the biggest concerns in the operations within a construction site is safety. This is because of the presence of huge heavy equipments and giant machines that cannot be stopped by ordinary means if they are mishandled.

In hiring would-be operators of these heavy equipments, companies put premium on the candidate’s expertise by way of his training, experience and probably commendations from previous employers. Expertise would imply precision and care in doing his job.

Some notes on safety

As with all machinery, accidents can be avoided if safety procedures and correct operating procedures are followed at all times (wearing of helmets, goggles or gloves, etc). This is to help prevent any accidents caused by the human factor.

Heavy equipment operators have to be in tip-top physical condition before operating the machines. As with their initial pre-conditions to employment, they must possess a good sense of balance, the acute ability of judging distances, and their eye-hand-and-foot coordination must be excellent.

Some operators have irregular working hours and this can influence their ability to function properly. Some construction projects are done round the clock and some jobs have to be done late at night or very early in the morning. Unless these physical deprivations are properly compensated (proper sleep and rest), there is potential danger.

Some operators have to do their job in high places. All of these are open situations ideal for accidents and other mishaps. In case these workers are remiss in their physical preparation for work (lack of sleep, physical exhaustion, alcohol and drugs ingestions, etc), the results can be disastrous.

From the perspective on the machine’s side, correct maintenance is one key to lesser accidents and machine malfunctions. The maintenance should be periodic and regular enough to preclude any mishap caused by omission (missed schedules on greasing and oiling, unfixed electrical wirings, etc.)

Regular maintenance can determine some potential dangers in the equipments and prevent future operational mishaps. Are screws and bolts tight enough as recommended? Is the air pressure in the tires correct as prescribed?

All heavy equipment machines have operational manuals, and these manuals have complete checklists of safety measures that must be followed. Proper maintenance and proper handling ensures safety for both the operator and the construction site surroundings.

Some risks

Cranes are equipped with cables and pulleys used in up and down transport of materials. Regular checkups on these moving parts will go a long way in ensuring safe operations. Some symptoms of metal fatigue can be seen and diagnosed beforehand.

Bulldozers are powerful tractor machines fitted with blades. Checkups on the motor and the control levers before every job can be beneficial against engine or brake malfunctions that are hard to control once they are in motion.

Backhoes are favorite workhorses in construction sites. They have frame lock and attaching levers that fastens the backhoe to the loader during operation and transport. Some models even have safety chains that prevent rotation of the mounting frame that can trap the operator which can result in serious injuries or worse, death.

Finally, work areas with potential danger should be off-limits to bystanders in the construction site. The safety measures on every piece of heavy equipment should not be taken lightly. Instead, they should be emphasized and followed to the letter. Prevention is the best defense against accidents and mishaps.