Whether you work at a warehouse, a factory, a construction site or elsewhere, you might either work near or operate heavy machinery. You likely understand that these machines can pose a threat to your safety, but you might not know all the ways to protect yourself.
With improper use or maintenance, heavy equipment can cause serious injuries, such as amputation, broken bones, severe burns, head injuries and death.
You spend a significant portion of your life at work. Make sure you can enjoy the rest of your life without pain and limitations by staying safe while on the clock.
Stay aware of your surroundings
Anyone who operates heavy machinery should follow basic safety guidelines, including:
- Wear proper personal protective equipment at all times.
- Inspect the machinery for any potential defects, obstacles or maintenance needs.
- Maintain the equipment according to manufacturer guidelines.
- Keep a safe distance from dangerous elements of the machine, using guards as appropriate.
- If you operate a forklift, backhoe or similar machinery, be aware of their potential blind spots.
- Do not assume that machinery is completely off without double-checking the safety switches or power supply.
Even if you do not operate heavy machinery yourself, it is critical to remain aware of the heavy machinery in your work environment. Do not assume that the operator will see you at all times. Furthermore, do not attempt to operate the machine unless you have complete training and permission from your supervisor.
Is your employer following work safety laws?
The Occupational Health and Safety Association (OSHA) regulates safety-related issues. Depending on the type and function of the machine, you will need to follow unique regulations. For example, OSHA requires workers to cover certain training topics before they can use a power press.
If you have concerns about the safety of your tools or the level of your training, do not hesitate to talk to your supervisor. If an employer fails to comply with regulations, workers can file a complaint to OSHA to encourage better work safety.
When heavy machinery causes an injury – regardless of fault – workers should report the incident to their supervisor immediately. Injured workers can seek compensation for damages from the employer’s insurance company.