Tag Archive for: heavy equipment safety

Construction Site Safety – Staying Safe Around Heavy Equipment

Every construction site includes at least a few pieces of heavy equipment. Of course, this machinery is vital to the productivity of a project. But it can also be a primary source of serious injuries to workers on a construction site. Specifically, heavy equipment is a main contributor to struck-by hazards and caught-between/caught-in hazards. Therefore, it’s essential that everyone on a construction site is familiar with ways to stay safe when working with or around heavy equipment.

The Importance of Heavy Equipment Safety

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the construction industry is one of this country’s most dangerous industries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s latest figures, the rate of private construction industry job site deaths reached its highest rate in over a decade.  The leading cause of death was transportation-related, followed by accidents involving contact with objects or equipment.

Past OSHA investigations have determined that most heavy equipment accidents were preventable. To that end, the agency strongly emphasizes safety programs that can increase awareness of hazards on the job site and help reduce the chances of these dangerous and deadly accidents.

Hazards When Working Around Heavy Equipment

While electrocutions and falls are leading causes of construction site accidents, being caught between materials or mechanical components or struck by objects are more likely causes of heavy equipment accidents in these environments. The key to reducing or preventing these types of accidents is to reduce dangerous conditions and increase awareness among workers.

Specifically, there are three types of hazards that must be addressed concerning heavy equipment on a construction site:

  1. Mechanical Hazards

All heavy equipment has moving parts, and these parts present a danger to workers. When working around machinery, it’s important to consider how those moving parts could trap, crush, cut, puncture, or strike someone, or launch materials at them.

  1. Non-Mechanical Hazards

In addition to parts in motion, machinery can cause injury in other ways. There might be burns due to a release of fluids or gasses under pressure, burns from contact with hot surfaces, inhalation of dangerous chemicals or dust, exposure to cancer-causing radiation, or electrocution due to faulty wiring.

  1. Access Hazards

A lot of construction site injuries and deaths happen because workers don’t have safe access around heavy equipment. Without safe access to and from different parts of the job site, workers are unnecessarily exposed to mechanical and non-mechanical hazards. An employer can mitigate these hazards by planning the site better, making proper signage, including the right safeguards, and training workers on situational awareness.

Construction Heavy Equipment Safety Tips

It may not be possible to completely mitigate heavy equipment hazards on a construction site. When hazards still exist, risk control measures must be put in place to reduce the chance of harm.

Workplace safety and health regulations make it mandatory to communicate risk controls and workplace hazards. These should include signage, training, and personal protective equipment (PPE) that can keep workers safe. If you’re using heavy equipment on your construction site, here are some of the top safety tips to reduce the chances of injury:

  • Familiarize workers with equipment– Make sure workers read owners and safety manuals for proper usage and safety tips.
  • Avoid line-of-fire– Have workers stay out of the circumference that a piece of machinery can reach.
  • Stay conscious of blind spots– Operators and workers must understand that large machinery has blind spots – Using a spotter is vital to maintaining a safe work site.
  • Be aware of overhead and underground hazards– Identify and flag any hazards such as power and gas lines that are present in the area.
  • Encourage communication – Train workers on hand signals and other ways to communicate while around or using heavy equipment.
  • Use safe loading and unloading methods– Always be on level ground, use a spotter, and have the area clear of people when loading and unloading heavy machinery.
  • Perform regular maintenance– Walk around the machinery before and after use. And have a consistent schedule for preventative maintenance.

When Construction Accidents Happen Involving Heavy Equipment

The good news is that most construction site accidents involving heavy equipment can be prevented. But when they do happen, someone should be held accountable.

If you work on a construction site and have been injured by a piece of heavy equipment, you have the right to seek full and fair compensation. Figuring out who to hold accountable after a serious accident can be challenging. While workers’ compensation benefits might be available, there could also be the potential for a third-party liability case.

At OSHA Injury Attorney, we specialize in construction site accidents and injuries. Our law firm partners will thoroughly review the circumstances of your accident to ensure we pursue the responsible parties for maximum compensation.