Everyone practiced the importance of wearing a belt on their head. What about construction equipment? Will seat belts help when traveling at high speed? Is it essential to wear seatbelts for heavy equipment?
While not wearing a belt when operating machines have proven to be a fatal mistake. They do not reach higher speeds; running heavy machines is not dangerous. One of the most striking is rollovers.
Most pieces of equipment have a Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS), a tall metal frame that sits behind the operator. They cannot prevent overturning on their own, but they protect the operator in the event of an accident. In addition, ROPS is practical when the operator puts on his seat belt when overturning.
The ROPS will protect safe operators from being crushed by the machine during a rollover.
However, if the operator is unsure of their seat belts, they are thrown into the engine and crushed, usually by the ROPS itself. In a study of pneumatic tire rollers, OSHA studied more than 50 rollover cases. The engine crushed the operator if the ROPS and seat belt were removed. In 6 cases, when the engine did not have ROPS installed, everything ended in death. Furthermore, 14 of 19 accidents resulted in death because the operators did not wear seatbelts for heavy equipment even though they installed ROPS in their equipment. In the 5 cases examined, when the engine had ROPS and the operators wore a belt, none led to the death of workers.
Just like in cars, wearing your seatbelt while operating a piece of heavy machinery is essential to your safety. Make sure you and others around you take this extra step and keep yourself from trouble and accidents. As always, good luck and stay safe.
For safety training, visit us at Interstate Heavy Equipment.