Among the most fatal of workplace hazards, caught-in/between hazards were responsible for 50 deaths in the construction industry in 2017. The sheer size and difficulty of operating heavy equipment makes them a major cause of caught-in/between fatalities. Below, we discuss how contractors can remain safe around and while operating heavy equipment. For any questions regarding how to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) heavy equipment regulations, consult a Texas OSHA defense lawyer.
Heavy equipment consists of heavy-duty vehicles that are specifically designed to assist with construction tasks. Examples include cranes, forklifts, bulldozers, and backhoes, among many others. Heavy equipment presents a significant danger to on-foot workers in their vicinity. These dangers include:
- Electrical Shock (Another of the “Fatal Four”)
- Exceeding Speed Limits
- Obstructed Driver View
- Ignored Max Capacity
How to Protect Your Workers
Protecting those that work around and operate heavy equipment requires constant diligence and care. To begin, only workers who are trained and licensed to use heavy equipment should be permitted to operate them. Second, heavy equipment must be regularly inspected and repaired. No vehicle should see use until it is checked to ensure that it is fully operational. Third, vehicles must never be overloaded, and all loads should be balanced. Contact one of our Texas OSHA defense attorneys for assistance complying with OSHA regulations.
Remember, your heavy equipment operator will have an obstructed view of the construction site. They’ll likely need a second pair of eyes out there. Having a signal spotter wearing high-visibility clothing direct your operator is an excellent way to ensure that heavy equipment is operated safely, regardless of blind spots.
All of your on-foot workers should be trained on how to recognize hazards and work safely around heavy equipment. It is imperative that your heavy equipment operators are aware of all on-foot workers. In addition, all workers must wear the required personal protective equipment (PPE) when working around heavy equipment, including high visibility clothing.
Consult an Attorney
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, it is your responsibility as an employer to provide your workers with a work environment free of hazards that could cause death or serious injury. Failure to do so could result in your jobsite being visited by an OSHA compliance officer. Contact a Texas OSHA defense lawyer for a comprehensive rundown on your OSHA requirements with regards to vehicle and heavy equipment safety.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.