Unfortunately, incidents involving heavy mobile equipment in the construction industry can result in serious injuries for operators and ground workers. Rollovers and individuals being struck or crushed by equipment are among the common causes of such incidents. These accidents contribute to the “Fatal Four” leading causes of death in the construction industry. In addition, these struck-by incidents involve 75% heavy equipment. Learning about the heavy equipment hazards and risks can help to lessen the possible injuries in construction industry.
The construction industry has recognized the significance of these hazards and has been working on implementing measures to improve safety. Moreover, various organizations have developed guidelines, regulations, and best practices to minimize the risk of accidents involving heavy equipment.
Several Conditions that can Contribute to Heavy Equipment Hazards and Risks
Let’s discuss each of them in more detail:
- Falling materials and loads: Construction sites often involve the use of cranes, hoists, or other lifting equipment to move heavy materials and loads. If the workers don’t properly secure the materials, they can fall and strike workers or pedestrians nearby. It is crucial to ensure proper rigging, secure loads, and maintain clear exclusion zones to prevent such incidents.
- Equipment operator blind spots: Heavy equipment, such as excavators, bulldozers, or dump trucks, typically have blind spots or limited visibility for operators. These blind spots can make it difficult for operators to see workers or pedestrians in their vicinity. Utilizing mirrors, cameras, proximity sensors, or other visibility-enhancing technologies can help reduce the risk of accidents caused by blind spots.
- Operator dismounting and leaving equipment in gear or not setting the brakes or wheel chocks: When operators dismount from heavy equipment, they need to ensure that the equipment is properly secured. Failing to set the brakes, engage wheel chocks, or leaving the equipment in gear can lead to unintended movement and potential accidents. Operators should follow proper shutdown procedures and secure the equipment before leaving it unattended.
- Equipment tip-over or rollover: Some heavy equipment, such as cranes, aerial lifts, or forklifts, can be susceptible to tipping over or rolling over if operated improperly or on uneven terrain. Moreover, this can result in serious injuries or fatalities for operators and nearby workers. Adhering to safe operating practices, ensuring proper equipment setup, and avoiding unstable ground conditions can help prevent tip-over incidents.
Addressing these conditions requires a combination of training, strict adherence to safety protocols, and the implementation of safety measures. Construction companies can minimize the risk of struck-by incidents and create a safer working environment for everyone involved. Finally, they can do it by promoting a safety culture, providing comprehensive training, and regularly reviewing and updating safety procedures.