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Working in a heavy industry is far from simple. Heavy machinery is a necessity for nearly every project, and unfortunately, this comes with its risks, both in terms of safety and logistics.
Accidents can sometimes be prevented before they happen, so follow these five safety tips the next time you’re operating heavy machinery to ensure you and your employees stay safe and productive and maintain an accident-free workplace:
1. Invest in Training
Workers should never attempt to operate heavy machinery without being trained to. Each machine is highly technical and has its quirks and attributes. Therefore training must be provided to avoid any accidents.
Setting up a certification program will be very beneficial to ensure each worker is competent enough to operate and safely run different units. The ongoing training program should include instructional and hands-on learning to review equipment safety features, identify potential hazards, use safely and understand safety precautions.
Retraining and refresher courses are also advised, mainly if a worker is observed operating the heavy machinery unsafely other than its intended purpose.
2. Inspect Machinery Before Use
Proper maintenance is invaluable and must be undertaken to ensure your machinery is up to par. Many industrial appliances can suffer damage if they are not correctly maintained, and accidents and injuries can be avoided with regular inspections. When did you purchase the machinery you use, and when was the last time you inspected it?
3. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Operators must be mindful of the area they are working in and any obstacles they may encounter while using heavy machinery. There are many dangers that they may come across, such as passing workers and misplaced stock. These variables can make operating heavy machinery in any warehouse extremely difficult. Therefore operators must be aware of their swing radius, clearance, and other factors to keep the working spaces safe.
Safety signs & floor markers are a great way to warn workers of certain areas in the warehouse and avoid any accidents. They are visible and essential contributors to workplace health and safety culture. Another way to reduce and prevent accidents while using heavy machinery is installing barriers. As much as barriers are used to protect employees, they are also used to minimise damage to your heavy machinery. The last thing you would want is to pay for repairs of equipment which ultimately disrupts the workforce in the process.
4. Communicate Effectively
Communication is vital when working with heavy machinery. A two-way radio is a great way to communicate with your team and reduce the likelihood that someone will be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Warehouses can be loud, so heavy machinery operators must not assume that they’ll be able always to hear everyone. Use radios, wear appropriate PPE gear, such as bright safety vests and glasses, and always double-check your surroundings before operating heavy machinery.
5. Know Your Limits
You should always know the limits of your equipment and make sure you are aware of your own. Knowing your physical limits is another crucial aspect of worksite safety. Operating heavy machinery can be extremely dangerous at times. If you feel uncomfortable, hesitant, or even overworked and distracted, notify your supervisor to ensure you don’t cause a severe threat to yourself and your co-workers.
Everyone can do their part to reduce risks while operating heavy machinery by investing time in training, inspecting machinery, being alert, communicating effectively and being aware of their limits.