Heavy equipment is needed on almost every construction project and workers often become complacent to the potential dangers that come with working with and around this machinery. Keeping heavy equipment in good working condition can often prevent serious or even fatal incidents.
OSHA Standard 1926.602 covers the requirements for earthmoving equipment such as scrapers, loaders, crawler or wheel tractors, bulldozers, off-highway trucks, graders, agricultural and industrial tractors, and similar equipment.
Construction workers should remember that working near heavy equipment puts them at risk for struck-by, caught-in and other hazards. Workers should always ensure that they only operate equipment they have been trained and authorized to use. In addition, keeping heavy equipment in good working condition is good business and can often prevent serious or even fatal incidents.
OSHA Standard 1926.602(b)(4) says that The employer shall permit only those employees qualified by training or experience to operate equipment and machinery.
- Horns and back-up alarms must be installed and working!
- Operators need to inspect their equipment to ensure all safety devices and alarms are functional.
OSHA Standard 1926.602(a)(9)(i) All bidirectional machines, such as rollers, compacters, front-end loaders, bulldozers, and similar equipment, shall be equipped with a horn, distinguishable from the surrounding noise level, which shall be operated as needed when the machine is moving in either direction. The horn shall be maintained in an operative condition.
Seat belts must be provided and used by all workers using earthmoving equipment such as loaders and excavators.
OSHA Standard 1926.602(a)(2)(i) Seat belts shall be provided on all equipment covered by this section…
Never move or operate earthmoving or compacting equipment which has an obstructed view to the rear unless the equipment has a back-up alarm or another worker is used as a spotter!
Even though the heavy equipment operators on your crews will be trained, it's important that everyone at the job site participate in safety meetings about how to recognize the unique hazards of working around heavy equipment.