Although you might feel like an expert at operating the equipment you use each day at work, do you know the proper way to handle the equipment according to OSHA requirements? Do you know how to keep yourself, your coworkers and the heavy equipment you operate safe? By gaining a clear understanding of where you should and shouldn’t drive, as well as what kind of equipment modification you can and cannot make, you will go far in helping to maintain a safe environment on the jobsite.
Equipment Safety Rules
Many of the rules and regulations regarding the safe use of heavy equipment are based on common sense. Get familiar with the rules, and follow them for utmost jobsite safety.
- Do not drive construction vehicles on access roadways and grades unless the roadway is made for these types of vehicles.
- Seatbelts must be used in every vehicle that offers sit down operation.
- Do not give rides to anyone on the jobsite unless they are authorized to be on the equipment.
- Lifting and hauling equipment need to have their work capacity written clearly in a place where the operator can easily view it. Operators must never exceed the intended capacity.
- Brakes need to be in excellent condition, and must be able to actually stop the vehicle with a full load not just the empty vehicle weight.
- Machines that can travel in two directions must have alarms that are audible and functioning while the machine is moving in either direction.
- Make sure scissor points are always guarded.
- Emergency access ramps should be built so that they control and stop vehicles that move on their own, without an operator, when they are not supposed to.
Equipment Modification Rules
At times, construction equipment is modified to make operating it easier. Modifications are allowable unless:
- The modification changes the capacity of the equipment. If you wish to modify something to enable it to haul or move more weight, you must first get the manufacturer’s permission.
- The modification changes the safety of the vehicle. If you realize that a vehicle is easier to operate without the safety controls in effect, you cannot alter the vehicle to remove them. No matter how experienced you and your coworkers are, those safety devices are there for a reason, and are required at all times.
- The steering knobs do not prevent spinning due to road reaction. Steering knobs might make your job easier, but if they allow the hand wheel to spin as a reaction to the road, then they are dangerous.
Most jobsite accidents are preventable. When an accident does occur, it not only reduces productivity, but it also hurts employees and their families. By following the above guidelines for a safe jobsite, you can help ensure that fewer accidents happen and more employees remain safe and healthy.