For some industries, there is no avoiding heavy machinery. Staying safe around them is imperative since jobs involving their use such as construction and agriculture have the highest work fatality rate.
In any workplace, employers have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their employees and could be liable to pay compensation if the appropriate safety measures are not implemented. Luckily, learning how to handle heavy equipment in the workplace efficiently and safely is straightforward. Here is everything you need to know to prioritise safety for employees and your business.
The first step to ensuring safety while manual handling is to conduct a thorough risk assessment that identifies any potential risks in the workspace. Employers must identify any health and safety risks and are responsible for minimising exposure to a hazard. This is essential when working with dangerous machinery.
Whether your projects involve the operation of woodworking machines or mobile working tools, each one needs a hazard assessment to evaluate the risk they pose to workers. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties and even criminal prosecution.
Before using any machinery, employees and new hires should have received the proper certifications and training to use heavy equipment. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of an accident due to mishandling occurring. Operators should be shown which precautions to take while using machinery, as well as the proper way in which it should be operated.
Common heavy machinery injuries include broken bones, electrocution, brain injury, and crushing. With the right training, these traumatic incidents can hopefully be avoided altogether. Workers should always be trained on how to respond to an injury situation.
The right tools
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an absolute must when working with heavy equipment and is essential to controlling risks in the workplace. When handling machinery, heavy-duty work gloves will protect extremities from worksite dangers and a pair of steel-toed boots will prevent toes from getting crushed.
Using the right tools alongside PPE can reduce the likelihood of an accident taking place. Eye bolts can aid in lifting heavy loads so workers can avoid damaging the equipment or injuring themselves. The same goes for chains and buckle straps to properly secure any loads being transported.
Heavy machinery should only be used by those qualified to do so. Limiting who can access heavy equipment is a good way to deter misuse and prevent accidents due to mishandling. Keys to equipment should be kept in a secure location and a logbook used to track who is using it at all times. You could ensure further security by only allowing access with keycards or passcodes.