Work Safe

Heavy Machinery

Once you’ve committed to making machine safety a part of your injury prevention program, there are several best practices you should adopt to help ensure your success. Review these practices with your workforce to help greatly reduce exposure to risks and prevent the devastating impact of injury on your workforce and your business.

Train your employees on proper and safe machine operation
When it comes to operating and maintaining heavy machinery, training is critical to reduce exposure to hazards, prevent injury and ensure proper and effective use. Here are just some of the questions you should address when training your employees:

  • Do operators understand how to use the machine and the safety precautions they should take to protect themselves and others on the job site?
  • Do operators and maintenance workers know how to use machine safeguards and why they exist?
  • Are operators aware of safe driving practices necessary to avoid collision and run-over accidents?
  • Is there a strong emphasis on proper load-securing techniques?
  • Are your employees aware of your safety policy and repercussions they will face if it is broken?

For more information, download these helpful resources:

Crane Safety
OSHA Cranes and Derricks Regulations
Trenching Safety Poster
Excavation Safety Poster
Safety Guide: Farm Dump Trucks and Trailers

Wear appropriate personal protective equipment
Provide your workforce with the necessary protective gear and appropriate dress code for operating tools and equipment. Discuss the risks of loose fitting clothing, long hair, jewelry and other hazards that could easily result in injury. Examples of personal protective equipment (PPE) may include:

  • Safety goggles
  • Gloves
  • Hearing protection
  • Steel toed footwear
  • Hard hats
  • Dust masks

Make sure machines are properly fitted with working safety devices
Safety devices exist for a reason. When used, they can help prevent many easily avoidable accidents and lessen the impact when incidents do occur. Start by making sure your machines are properly fitted with the latest safety devices. Then, educate your workforce on how to use and maintain those safety mechanisms to prevent injuries. Examples include:

  • Seatbelts
  • Safeguards
  • Rollover Protection Structures (ROPS)
  • Backup Alarms
  • Flood Lights
  • Warning Lights

For more information, download this helpful resource:

Safety Guide: Rollover Protection for Farm Tractor Operators

Establish a routine inspection, maintenance, and repair procedure
Keeping machines in good working order is an easy way to prevent unnecessary and dangerous malfunctions. Set up a formal and regular inspection schedule and encourage operators to report any problems or repairs they notice in day-to-day use. Make sure your maintenance crew is prompt and thorough in making any necessary repairs—all in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines. Here are some of the questions you should consider when establishing your own maintenance program:

  • Have maintenance workers received up-to-date instruction on the machines they service?
  • Do maintenance workers lock out the machine from its power sources before beginning repairs?
  • Where several maintenance persons work on the same machine, are multiple lockout devices used?
  • Do maintenance persons use appropriate and safe equipment in their repair work?
  • Is the maintenance equipment itself properly guarded?
  • Are maintenance and servicing workers trained in the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.147, lockout/tagout hazard, and do the procedures for lockout/tagout exist before they attempt their tasks?

Create a hazard-free worksite
One often-overlooked aspect of heavy machinery safety is the importance of creating a hazard-free worksite. Teaching your ground personnel and equipment operators some basic tips for keeping a safe distance from hazards can help everyone steer clear of life-threatening accidents. Here are a few rules of thumb to help you get started:

  • Never work beneath elevated backhoe, loader buckets or armatures without using approved safety props
  • Never raise anyone in the backhoe or loader bucket
  • Always look behind before backing
  • Never allow others to stand directly in front of or behind the machine
  • Survey the area for power lines or overhead entrances before beginning work
  • Before excavating, verify that utilities have been located

For more information, download these helpful resources:

WorkSAFE Excavation Safety Guide
OSHA Work Zone Safety
Safety Guide: Missouri Work Zones

Do you have questions about how Missouri Employers Mutual or the WorkSAFE Center can help your workplace? Contact us today to learn more about our resources and custom safety training.

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