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Workplace Safety

Back up alarms and Safety Belts On All Equipment

By July 1, 2015No Comments
Back-Up Alarms and Seat belts, two safety features on mobile equipment that are too often disabled.

Seat belts serve many purposes, not just keeping the operator in the seat or in the machine during an overturn event.

Especially rubber tire equipment, the operator bounces in their seat when moving between locations. Many operators suffer head injuries by bouncing into the structure of the cage when not wearing belts properly.

Usually the belt has a built in security feature whereby the ignition will not work unless the belt is properly snapped into position. Some operators choose to buckle the belt, and then get in the seat. This override leads to injuries.

The equipment manufacturers installed automatic neutral control settings when hands were not contacting the joy sticks. So when the operator pops out of the seat, the tracks stop rolling and the bucket stops moving.

Unfortunately, the neutral controls are not fail-safe either.

The best option requires the operator to stay in his seat while operating the machine. That requires a seat belt. Insist they be worn at all times while operating any ride-on equipment.

Back-up Alarms

Jobsites are inherently loud places. They can be a bit chaotic when several crews work in close quarters. Vehicle traffic insensitive to large equipment operations with limited visual fields can create bedlam for the operator.

Check back-up alarms daily. It is one warning system that may not save property losses when people park their vehicles ten feet away from a back-dragging dozer; but it may save the driver when it warns them to get clear.

Excavators track systems have forwards and backwards orientation; but the cabs can turn the full 360 degrees. So the cab can face forward and from the operators perspective move backward, but the tracks believe they’re moving forward and not warn people behind the machine.

Excavators should be equipped with a motion alarm that warns whenever the machine is moved. Visibility is not great from those cabs.

Consider using lighted warnings as well. The yellow warning beacons are noticeable on busy construction sites where sound may not be the best warning system. And, sound pollution is diminished while the beacon serves as a motion detector rather than purely a back-up indicator.

Safety devices keep everyone safer; use them properly and enforce their use on operators. Then try to improve them using beacons or other add-ons.