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Construction Equipment Dangers

Construction Equipment Dangers

By: Ron Parker, STS,CHST

All equipment used on a construction job can pose a danger.  It could be the equipment itself, the person operating the equipment or personnel working in close proximity of the equipment.  Any equipment should be respected.

When working around equipment such as skip loaders, back hoes, trenchers, cranes, and etc, you need to be on high alert.  Don’t assume the operator sees you.  When possible always approach the equipment from the side of the equipment where the operator is visible.  Ensure the operator sees you prior to completely approaching the equipment.  Also, don’t depend on a horn or alarm to warn you that moving equipment is near.  You may not be able to hear the alarms over other construction noise.

When you notice that equipment is moving backwards, keep out of the way and stand clear until the operator has completed his/her maneuver.  Never walk behind or cut across any unit while it is moving backwards.  You could easily trip and fall under the equipment.  Never ride on the running boards, steps or other parts of equipment, even for a short distance.

When backing up, a competent person should ensure the area behind the piece of equipment is cleared.  No operator should back a piece of equipment into an area without the area being cleared and the competent person giving signals to the operator.

When a crane is in operation, special attention should be given to the counterweights when the crane is swinging as there could be pinch points between the counterweights and some obstruction.  Make sure there is enough room for workers to pass.  If there is not enough room for workers to pass safely, the area should be shut off for access.
Never ride on or near materials that are being transported by equipment.  Loads can shift and fall or cause the equipment to turn over or become uncontrollable.  You could be thrown to the ground and   crushed.   Never ride on any equipment as a passenger if that equipment is designated for only one person (the operator).  If it is designated for more than one person and is equipped with seat belts, always buckle the seat belts.  Always keep all parts of your body inside to include your arms and legs.

Dismount all portable scaffold or work platform while it is being moved.  The time it takes to dismount will be much less than the time lost from work if you fall or the unit tips over.

When you are working near equipment operating in the vicinity of power lines, don’t come into contact with the frame of the unit or the load cables.  There is always the chance that the unit or the boom could come into contact with the power lines.  Warn the operator or the signal person if you should see this possibility.

Never clean or service equipment while it is in operation.  It should be stopped and the ignition  off before performing any services.

The safest thing to do around construction equipment is to keep a safe distance while the equipment is in operation.  If you must be in close proximity of the equipment, make sure the operator knows you are working nearby and stay alert.  In doing so you will not only prevent injuries but possibly death that could be yours.


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