Heavy Machinery Safety
July 23, 2018
Heavy machinery poses a safety risk for equipment operators and other workers, especially in the construction industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that approximately 150,000 construction workers are injured each year. Thirty-five percent of workplace injuries and 14 percent of work-related deaths are caused by machine accidents. It is important for both workers and employers to understand the hazards of working with heavy machinery and the appropriate precautionary measures to take.
Causes of Construction Site Accidents
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there are four leading causes of construction industry fatalities referred to as “the fatal four”. The fatal four are: falls, struck by object, electrocutions and caught in/between accidents. Seventy-five percent of these fatal work accidents involve heavy machinery. However, workers on construction sites are at risk of sustaining injury from many different causes, including the following hazards.
First, workers may be struck by falling materials or other objects such as heavy machinery or vehicles. Second, workers may also be injured when they are out of an equipment operator’s line of vision or when an equipment operator fails to set the brakes or chock the wheels. Third, heavy machinery may not be properly locked/tagged out during maintenance, causing serious injury to unaware workers. Finally, workers may get caught in/between equipment with unguarded or rotating parts; this type of accident accounts for seven percent of construction worker deaths.
Safety Tips for Working with Heavy Machinery
Employers have a duty to provide their employees with a safe and healthful work environment. Workers should also take an active role in workplace safety in order to reduce workplace accidents. The following are some safety tips for working with heavy machinery:
- Train workers: Operating heavy machinery is highly technical; to do so safely requires training and experience. Ensuring that workers are properly trained can help prevent accidents.
- Maintain machinery: Heavy machinery requires regular inspection and maintenance. These procedures should be done after performing lockout/tagout procedures to prevent workers from being exposed to hazardous energy.
- Communicate with workers: It is important to communicate safe work practices to employees. Inform workers about the safety procedures for handling heavy equipment and put administrative controls in place to minimize the risk of injury.
- Provide protection: Provide workers with personal protective equipment and equip heavy machinery with rollover protective structure (ROPS). Designate a limited access zone or swing radius around heavy machinery so workers do not get inadvertently injured.
- Slow down: When workers are under pressure to meet deadlines, they are more likely to get in accidents. Encourage workers to take the time to complete all tasks safely. Extra attention is required when working with heavy machinery due to their potential to cause work-related deaths.
- Create a safe environment: Visibility and communication are key to a safe work environment. Lights for night workers and spotters for drivers/equipment operators can help create a more safe work environment for everyone.
Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. Represent Workers Injured by Heavy Machinery
If you were injured in a heavy machinery accident at work, contact the Philadelphia workers’ compensation lawyers at Larry Pitt & Associates, P.C. You may be eligible for various forms of workers’ compensation benefits. Our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys can help you recover the compensation to which you are entitled. We represent injured workers in Berks County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County and throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, call us at 888-PITT-LAW or complete our online contact form.