5 steps to safety excellence

By |  December 8, 2017

Photos courtesy of Two Rivers Marketing

Equipment safety and the reduction of accidents, injuries and fatalities is one of the top priorities on any jobsite.

According to the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, the injury rate in the industry continues to decline. In 2015, for example, there were only two injuries per 200,000 hours worked.

Remember, overall safety is a coordinated approach involving machine design, people and worksites. To keep the number of injuries moving downward, here are five safety tips to consider related to mobile equipment.

1. Conduct daily walk-arounds. Operators should check for damage, leaks and make sure pins and bushings are kept in place. They should also ensure machines and pins are greased correctly.

All steps on the machine should be undamaged and clean. The cab must be kept clean and free of debris to avoid risk of injury due to loose material. An operator’s manual should be present, and the operator should be familiar with its content.

Make sure all warning decals and safety items are in place and operational. Check lights, windshield wipers and visibility aids, and ensure they are still in proper working order and adjusted correctly. Making machines easy to maintain can help make sure things get checked.

2. Avoid slip and fall risks. As many construction equipment accidents are attributed to “slip and fall” incidents (i.e., people falling from equipment), sturdy anti-slip steps and rails that guide operators into a wide aperture cab are a must. But operators need to make sure these steps aren’t covered in mud, ice or oil, as well.

Photo courtesy of Two Rivers Marketing

Cabs should be clean and free of debris to avoid risk of injury.

Also, adopting a three-point stance (e.g., two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot) when entering and exiting the cab provides additional stability.

3. Use onboard weighing to increase jobsite safety. Onboard weighing is not only an effective productivity feature, but it’s a safety feature as well. Onboard weighing systems can alert operators if they are overloading the machine, which can cause machine instability, reduce safety, or even damage.

4. Familiarize yourself with how telematics can increase safety. As adoption of telematics use increases, it is important to reap all of the benefits – including the use of telematics to increase safety on the jobsite.

As an example, some telematics reports include how many occurrences there are at high speed. This may indicate erratic operation that could cause safety issues and indicate that operator training is needed.

5. Know what safety features are available on equipment. Most machines are required to have ROPS (rollover protection structure) cabs. If an operator is not wearing the seatbelt, the advantage of the ROPS is greatly diminished.

Worksite management should emphasize and enforce seatbelt usage. Safety features differ between each type of machine and even machine size within the same category. Get to know the equipment you are operating, read the operator’s manual and seek training as necessary.

Eric Yeomans is the product manager of GPPE products at Volvo Construction Equipment.

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