Heavy Vehicle Hazards are a leading cause of injury or death in the construction industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 75% of “struck-by” fatalities involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes. Severe crushing injuries can occur due to the weight and force of being hit by this equipment. Protect employees on the ground by instructing equipment operators to be aware of employees working around the equipment. Workers on the ground should stay alert and be aware of equipment moving nearby.
How Do I Avoid Vehicle Hazards?
- Unless you are working in equipment designed for stand up operations,wear seat belts that meet OSHA standards.
- Workers should check vehicles before each shift to assure that all parts and accessories are in safe operating condition.
- Do not drive a vehicle in reverse gear with an obstructed rear view, unless it has an audible reverse alarm, or another worker signals that it is safe.
- Drive vehicles or equipment only on roadways or grades that are safely constructed and maintained.
- Make sure that you and all other personnel are in the clear before using dumping or lifting devices.
- Lower or block bulldozer and scraper blades, end-loader buckets, dump bodies, etc., when not in use, and leave all controls in neutral position.
- Set parking brakes when vehicles and equipment are parked, and check the wheels if they are on an incline.
- All vehicles must have adequate braking systems and other safety devices.
- Haulage vehicles that are loaded by cranes, power shovels, loaders etc., must have a cab shield or canopy that protects the driver from falling materials.
- Do not exceed a vehicle’s rated load or lift capacity.
- Do not carry personnel unless there is a safe place to ride.
- Use traffic signs, barricades or flaggers when construction takes place near public roadways.
- Workers must be highly visible in all levels of light. Warning clothing, such as red or orange vests, are required; and if worn for night work, must be of reflective material.
Unfortunately, sometimes no matter how knowledgeable the workers, or how experienced the safety supervisor, accidents will happens. All employees should understand the hazards associated with their work and how to mitigate these hazards. Only licensed professionals are allowed to operate heavy machinery. The risk of accidents increases exponentially when untrained personnel are allowed behind the wheel. That being said, here’s a video of an 11 year old boy driving a stolen cement dump truck 70 MPH down the street.