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Working Safely with Mobile Equipment/ Machines

Updated: Jan 10

Working Safely with Mobile Equipment/ Machines

This safety toolbox talk meeting topic on safe working with mobile heavy equipment/ machines helps to communicate the hazard and risk associated with heavy equipment such as blind spots, danger zone, congested work areas, multiple trades working in a single work space, malfunctioning or disconnected back-up alarms, pinch-points between machinery/vehicles and fixed objects, condition of work area, weather condition, vehicular traffic in and around work zones, etc.

Mobile heavy equipment/ machines are responsible for many injuries and fatalities in the construction workplace even when operators cannot see vehicles, materials, objects, tools, buildings, etc. material damage may occur thus costs property damage.

Several times it has been observed that the equipment comes in contact with a power line and causes fire and electrocution. Therefore, it is generally suggested to keep equipment at least 10 feet away of power lines and poles. Of course, the safety distance depends on the rated voltage of the power supply and when it increases, the distance to stay away from the lines must also increase.

Mobile heavy equipment / vehicles / machinery should be visually inspected before each use. Any problem encountered with the equipment should be corrected before use.

👉 All mobile equipment / heavy vehicles and mobile machinery must be certified by a competent person to ensure reliability and safety fitness.

👉 Only a competent operator should use the mobile equipment / machine. The crane operator must have a special crane operator certificate with a training record and relevant work experience certificate.

👉 Equipment should be fitted with seat belts and a rollover / tip over protection system to protect the operator in the event of a rollover or collision.

👉 The work areas must be well demarcated and sufficient space must be provided for the proper functioning of heavy equipment. Barricade the area covered under the swing radius as a danger zone.

👉 Remove all unnecessary personnel, objects and vehicles from the area where the equipment is operating.

👉 A banksman or flag man should be available at the work site to control traffic and for safe signaling, guiding the operator.

👉 Do not allow the dump truck operator to climb on top of the truck to monitor the level of loaded material.

👉 Refueling of vehicles must not be carried out in the work area. Do not smoke while the refueling operation is in progress.

👉 Operators should walk around their equipment each time before returning to the cab to ensure that there are no objects, people or vehicles in a blind spot.

👉 Do not use the equipment if the operator is excessively tired or ill. A medical fitness certificate is required for the crane operator.

👉 Immediately deal with any leaking hydraulic lines as this can cause serious problems in the equipment as well as damage to the environment. Use a drip tray to contain the leaking oil. Hydraulic or other faulty systems can cause a major incident.

👉 Respond to emergency alarms and ensure their proper functioning.

👉 Use observers to warn operators / drivers and of nearby workers.

👉 The excavator operator must not eat without washing his hands. Take care not to smoke in the work area.

👉 Do not allow anyone to stand on the track of the excavator / loader or crane.

👉 The operator must not leave the machine / equipment in working order.

👉 The crane operator must not leave the crane with a suspended load during a work break.

👉 Do not allow anyone to pass / walk / work under a suspended load or a load at height.

👉 For safe mounting of the crane, a survey of the surface must be carried out to determine the strength of the ground.

👉 The operator and other colleagues should wear reflective / high visibility clothing. High visible vest must be worn by all peoples working around the equipment. In case of night work, reflective vest must be worn.

👉 Obey all traffic rules, including speed limits, when approaching the work area.

👉 Ensure the availability and functioning of the reverse horn on the equipment or machine, do not drive a vehicle in reverse with an obstructed rear view unless it is equipped with an audible reverse alarm or banksman confirmation that they are safe.

👉 All mobile equipment and machinery must have warning systems, main horn, reverse horn, spotter, flashlights, etc.

👉 Make sure you and all other personnel are clear before operating any heavy equipment / vehicle such as excavator, dump truck / trailer, crane or hydra.

👉 Lower or block dozer, scraper blades, loader buckets, dumpers, excavator bucket, suspended load on crane, etc. when not in use, and leave all controls in neutral.

👉 Engage / apply the parking brakes when vehicles / equipment is parked and chock the wheels if they are on a slope / incline.

👉 Use road signs, barricades and flaggers when construction takes place near public roads.

👉 Maintain a safe distance between two excavators when simultaneously working side by side in the same area.

👉 Use appropriate safety gears including Ear muff while performing breaking, drilling or excavation work.

👉 Control the movement of the dump truck while multiple excavators are working in the same area.

Only competent operators with special training should use mobile equipment / machines.


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