Construction equipment safety

All equipment used on a Habitat for Humanity build site should be respected. Handled properly, and with trained supervision, risks are minimal. But all of that equipment can pose a danger if proper attention is not paid to safety.

When working around equipment such as skip loaders, backhoes or other heavy equipment, you need to be on high alert. Don’t assume the operator sees you. Always approach from the side and make certain the operator sees you. Don’t depend on a horn or backup alarm to warn you that moving equipment is near. You may not be able to hear over other construction noise.

When you notice that equipment is moving backwards, keep out of the way and stand clear until the operator has completed his or her maneuver. Never walk behind or cut across any unit while it is moving backwards. You could trip and fall under the equipment. Never ride on the running boards, steps or other parts of equipment, even for a short distance.

When backing up, a competent person should ensure the area behind the piece of equipment is cleared. No operator should back a piece of equipment into an area without the area being cleared and the competent person giving signals to the operator.

Never ride on or near materials that are being transported by equipment. Loads can shift and fall or cause the equipment to turn over or become uncontrollable, which could result in serious injury. Never ride on any equipment as a passenger if that equipment is designated for only one person, the operator. If it is designated for more than one person and is equipped with seat belts, always buckle the seat belts. Always keep all parts of your body inside to include your arms and legs.

When you are working near equipment operating in the vicinity of power lines, don’t come into contact with the frame of the unit or the load cables. There is always the chance that the unit or the boom could come into contact with the power lines. Warn the operator or the signal person if you should see this possibility.

Never clean or service equipment while it is in operation. It should be stopped and the ignition off before performing any services.

The safest thing to do around construction equipment is to keep a safe distance while the equipment is in operation. If you must be in close proximity of the equipment, make sure the operator knows you are working nearby and stay alert. In doing so you may prevent injuries.

This safety article was brought to you by:

Lisa Crawford
Master Safety Training program coordinator