Heavy trucks & equipment is used on many different kinds of work sites all around the world. This equipment is very effective for the job it was designed to do, but it can also be very hazardous. Proper work planning as well as operating equipment within its designed limits are important basic steps for safe operation.
Struck-by hazards – Heavy equipment is responsible for many injuries and fatalities in the workplace. Ground personnel are far too often struck by equipment when they are in the line of fire.
Property damage – When operators do not see vehicles, materials, objects, tools, buildings, etc. in their area of operation property damage occurs. This costs employers millions of dollars a year in losses.
Collisions – when vehicles and equipment get close the risk of an accidental collision increases exponentially. The closer the riskier. Blind spots, complacency, and congested work areas are the leading causes of jobsite collisions.
Miscommunication – not having a well-defined and well understood plan is by far the most common hazard resulting in accidents. Take the time to walk down the job, route, and directions to get everyone on the same page BEFORE starting.
- All vehicles & equipment should be inspected and readied prior to use. Adjust the seats, mirrors, clean windows and check radios as part of the daily inspection process. Any problems found with equipment should be corrected before it is used. Document all defects on the daily inspection log.
- A defined route and clear visual path for the operator when moving equipment from the point of origin to the work site. Stop look and listen before you take off or make a move. Take that extra second to look to your left, right and rear before moving that equipment or truck.
- Operators should complete a walk around of their equipment every time before getting back into the cab to be sure no objects, people, or vehicles are in a blind spot. Someone might have just moved an item into the area a few minutes ago.
- Establish a danger zone, that is; the working area where contact could result in personal injury or damage during operations.
- Maintain a clear line of site between the operator and workers. Blind spots are common. If you can’t see the operator, they can’t see you. Always try to walk on the driver side of equipment as the passenger side has a larger blind spot.
- Workers should keep a safe distance from all sides of the heavy equipment while it is in use. Be aware of the swing radius on certain equipment and, if possible, cordon off the area with barriers or caution tape.
- Work areas should be properly delineated and enough space given to heavy equipment to operate properly. Clear out all unnecessary personnel, objects, and vehicles from where the equipment is operating. Keep light trucks back from the active work scene.
- Operators should complete a walk around of their equipment every time before getting back into the cab to be sure no objects, people, or vehicles are in a blind spot.
- Pull over to the side out of the way if you get confused, need directions or have to make or take a phone call. Loss of attention while you get things sorted puts you and others at risk as they maneuver around you.
20 Feet or 2 Eyes:
Fiore & Sons practice calls for us to keep 20 feet between all heavy equipment and trucks while on site or use 2 eyes of a spotter to help get in close to execute the work. Never drive up under the blind spot and turning radius of a pieces of heavy equipment like a scraper, excavator or crane. Use the “20 feet or 2 eyes” rule every day.