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Seven safety tips when operating heavy machinery

August 09, 2021

(MAKRO Group Press) – For a large number of industries the use of heavy equipment is essential for its proper functioning as they make complex tasks are performed in a simple way.

But this does not cease to have a high risk at the time of its operation, which is why, to make use of these large machines must know the appropriate safety measures for both the operator and the rest of the staff that is in the work area.

In Grupo MAKRO we want to share with you seven basic safety measures that either as a company or as an operator you should know, in addition to this, you should carefully read the Operator’s Manual before performing any work on the machinery.

1.- Check blind spots

Generally the vision from these large machines is quite limited, for this reason, it is really essential that the operators of heavy equipment are 100% sure that there is no other person in a blind spot.

There should always be a member of the work crew to check the area and indicate when the way is clear to back up. This designated person should prevent pedestrians or other crew members from crossing the road while the equipment is backing out of its parking area.

If there are no personnel to perform this task, the operator must check all blind spots before starting up the equipment. This is where the reflective vests come into play, a fundamental piece of equipment that every heavy equipment operator must use on the job site to avoid any type of accident.

2.- Importance of support points

Extreme care must be taken when getting on and off the machinery.

That is why there is a rule of three points of contact to avoid falls and trips when entering or leaving the cabin.

Never get on or off the equipment by jumping, the three-point contact rule indicates that you need both hands to firmly hold on to the handles of the vehicle or the ladder to access the cab. Remember to always face the machine.

Ladders should always be kept clean, free of grease and oil. If any of these points is damaged, it is necessary to replace it.

3.- The use of seat belts is not optional.

When it comes to safety in heavy machinery, the use of seat belts is essential, there should be no excuses, so we avoid possible injuries.

The seat belt can save your life in the event of the equipment overturning, and it also keeps you firmly attached to the seat when driving on uneven terrain, thus maintaining a preventive measure against the constant abrupt jumps of the machinery.

It is essential to always check the belt fabric, if it has tears or some of its parts do not work properly, it should be changed, but regardless of its appearance, it is advisable to change the complete set every 3 years.

4.- Loading and unloading the equipment

You should always be on level ground when loading or unloading the equipment. In this way, you greatly reduce the risk of possible rollovers and other costly accidents with the vehicle.

On the other hand, loading and unloading material can be dangerous for other people on the job site. Therefore, as with the first point, you need to have a member of staff to help ensure that the area is clear.

Also, when it is necessary to lift objects with the machine, check that the loads are secured with the appropriate attachments and rigging and verify that the load is within the lifting capacity range of the equipment in the Operator’s Manual. Check on a daily basis that these are in good condition.

5.- Load limit

It is not uncommon for a heavy equipment driver to drive different types of vehicles in the course of the same day. Therefore, it is necessary that you check the different load limits that each piece of equipment has, as these can change drastically.

Your vehicle may be able to withstand a slight excess in volume, but that could have negative consequences on its regular performance. These effects will be more noticeable in the long term, with an inevitable reduction in the useful life of the equipment.

6.- Regular inspections

As a non-negotiable rule of thumb, equipment should be inspected before use. This involves walking around the vehicle with a list of the most important components for efficient and safe operation.

The exact list of parts to check will vary by model. However, some of the components you need to check daily are: hydraulic pipes and hoses, the chassis, oil and coolant levels, and the condition of the tires or chains. Currently there are several applications for mobile devices that can help you with this task.

7.- Constant communication

Work sites where heavy machinery is used are usually full of people performing multiple tasks. That is why it is advisable to have a two-way radio or some other type of communicator that allows you to keep abreast of what is happening in the area.

Communication between operators and the rest of the team should be a recurring theme in every safety meeting. It is necessary to reinforce this aspect and establish driving patterns at the work site and signaling communication for when the situation requires it.

Whether it is construction, agricultural, mining or road works equipment, working with heavy machinery can be risky if the necessary measures are not taken. Follow these safety measures, check your vehicles and their surroundings in order to keep your tasks accident-free.

With information from www.constructionequipment.com

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