Heavy machinery is a staple in manufacturing and construction workplaces. Operating it safely requires employers and workers take adequate precautions to prevent injuries. Common sense dictates that before anyone attempts to operate heavy machinery, they should be trained in its safe operation. Other necessary precautions include making sure the equipment is working properly through regular inspections and adequate maintenance.
Statistics show that each year, machine accidents cause 35 percent of workplace-related injuries and 14 percent of work-related fatalities. Below are some tips, that if followed consistently, will reduce the chance of injuries from operating heavy machinery.
What are Examples of Safety Equipment for Heavy Machinery?
Many pieces of heavy machinery have dangerous exposed moving parts such as sharp blades or gears. These can cut or ensnare the operator. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has workplace standards to reduce hazards from such equipment. For example, OSHA requires machine guards be placed around moving parts to reduce the risk of injury. These guards should remain intact and not removed from equipment to ensure employee protection.
Heavy machines that move such as forklift trucks and front end loaders are equipped with backup alarms. Operators have limited visibility of what is behind the equipment. The alarms warn those nearby that the equipment is reversing so that they can get out of harm’s way in time.
What Training is Needed to Operate Heavy Machinery?
Each piece of heavy machinery poses its own risks and challenges. The type of training required will depend on the machine. In general, operators must be trained to use the equipment properly. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide adequate training to its employees before assigning them work on heavy machinery.
The training should familiarize the employee with visual inspections to ensure the equipment is operable, the presence and use of any safety guards, and what to do in an emergency to stop the equipment. Some particularly complex machines require the operator to obtain a license or similar credential before they can legally operate them.
One of the most common pieces of heavy machinery used in the workplace is the powered industrial truck or forklift truck. OSHA has a specific standard for this equipment. The agency specifies training requirements for safe operation, including mandated formal instruction, practice to develop skills, and a skills test.
Safe Operation of Heavy Equipment Requires Vigilance
Tips for safe operation of forklift trucks and similar driven equipment include verifying that the equipment is in good working order; the ground under the equipment is stable; the line of sight is clear; the load does not exceed lifting capacity; the load is evenly distributed; and operators know and use proper skills for handling loads, including stacking and unstacking pallets of material.
Many workplace injuries can be traced back to inattention or miscommunication. Even a split-second distraction at the wrong time can risk serious injury from heavy equipment to the operator or those nearby. Excessive noise, poor lighting, working when tired or sick, and distractions such as listening to music in headphones or checking cell phones for texts can create inattention that results in accidents. Distractions or miscommunications when using heavy equipment can cause serious injury or death.
Chester County Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC Represent Injured Workers
If you have been injured at work using heavy equipment or suffered another type of work-related injury, you will likely require medical care and time away from work to recover. Filing a Workers’ Compensation claim must be done timely and be backed up by adequate evidence of the nature and extent of injury. The experienced Chester County Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC are ready to assist. We will focus all our efforts toward getting you the compensation for which you are entitled. We handle complex cases involving settlements and appeals as well. Contact us online or call us at 610-594-1600 for a free consultation today. We are located in Exton, Pennsylvania, and we serve residents of Downingtown, West Chester, Exton, Coatesville, Phoenixville, Malvern, Lyndell, Wagontown, Uwchlan Township, Parkesburg, Chester Springs, Lancaster County, Reading, and Morgantown.