Whether you are operating a front-end loader, haul truck, mobile crane or a pick-up truck, your vision is generally impaired when you sit in the operator’s seat. When you are working in a new area in the mine or if the conditions have changed in a familiar area, it’s a good idea to get out of your equipment and inspect the work area before performing your job.
Larger front-end loaders are often equipped with large decks above the engine compartment, which allow you to scan the work area for hazards, smaller pieces of mobile equipment, and other workers.
A serious accident was recently avoided when a loader operator noticed that a pickup truck that had been near his work area wasn’t visible. At some point, the operator lost track of the truck. Getting no response on his radio, the operator stopped his machine for a moment, climbed onto the engine deck and found the truck had stalled behind the loader and its radio was not operative due to the electrical failure. If he had continued backing up, he would have run over the truck. Fortunately, the loader operator had been trained to “Get out and look” for hazards that may not have been present at the beginning of his shift.
This loader operator also makes it a habit to “Get out and look” anytime he arrives at a work area.
To prevent injury or death from being STRUCK BY A VEHICLE:
- Wear a seat belt! Seat belts save lives, both on the roadways and on construction sites.
- Make sure that all vehicles are inspected before each shift – everything must be in good working condition, including the brakes, before you begin work. Use your parking brake when the vehicle is not in use, and chock the wheels if you are parked on an incline. And never lift or load more than the vehicle can hold.
- If you are driving a vehicle in reverse and you can’t see behind you, be sure to have a reverse alarm that people can hear, AND have another worker signal to you that all is safe. Ensure that no one is in the way when you are using lifting and dumping devices. Get out and look for people and hazards.
- Don’t drive vehicles in areas that are not safely constructed or maintained. When using lifting or dumping devices, make sure to clear all personnel and lower or block all blades.
- All forklift operators must be trained and certified. Equipment must be inspected, and all safe operating procedures must be followed. Drive slowly, and don’t travel with elevated loads. Make sure all signal alarms work, and watch for hazardous conditions (involving both workers and objects).
- If you are working in traffic, use traffic signs and barricades. Use flaggers if needed. Be sure to stay out of blind spots. Workers must wear warning clothing, like orange vests. If they are working at night, these must be of a reflective material. Use proper lighting when working at night. Use traffic barricades whenever possible. If you can’t barricade the traffic, use heavy equipment with impact attenuators (crash cushions) within the work zone, to protect you from moving traffic. Be alert for pedestrians in urban areas.
- Inspect tools, cranes, hoists to see that all are in good condition.
- Use toe-boards, screens, debris nets, and guardrails on scaffolds to prevent tools/other items from falling from overhead work areas.
To prevent injury or death from FALLING or FLYING OBJECTS:
- If you are working underneath cranes, hoists or scaffolds, never work under a suspended load. Barricade hazard areas and post warning signs. Don’t exceed capacity, and don’t assume the operator has seen you. Watch out for power lines, unstable soil, and high winds.
- Materials stored shall not be placed within 6 feet of hoist way/floor openings, nor within 10 feet of an exterior wall which doesn’t extend above material.
- Don’t use hand tools with loose, cracked or splintered handles, or use impact tools with mushroomed heads; the head could fly off, striking you or others. Operators of powder-actuated tools (gunpowder) must be trained and licensed. Train all workers on safe operation of tools and inspect all tools before use.
- Train workers on safe operation of power tools, such as saws, drills, and grinders. Inspect all tools before use, and wear protective gear. Guard rotating and moving parts – all guards must be in place when tools are in use.
- Secure tools and other items to prevent them from falling on the people below; stack and secure materials (even from wind gusts) to prevent sliding, falling or collapse. And always keep areas clear of clutter.
- Use personal protective equipment to prevent being hit by falling or flying objects. Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, goggles, and face shields. Wear hearing protection when needed.
- Reduce compressed air used for cleaning to 30 psi, and only use it with the proper guards and other protective equipment. And never clean your clothing with compressed air: you could be injured by a particle driven into your eyes or skin by the force.
Berkley Industrial Comp is pleased to share this material with its customers. Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.