Heavy Machinery: Safe Operating Practices

Heavy Machinery: Safe Operating Practices

If your company uses heavy machinery, then it is important that every staff member involved knows the safety rules and how to operate the machinery correctly.

Workplace accidents not only cause individual injuries and incur medical costs; they can also affect staff morale, cause a loss of productivity and create issues with staff levels or force you to hire temporary staff while the injured worker recovers. Therefore, workplace safety should be a priority and should be an intrinsic part of your company’s operations.

Safety begins with training so every member of staff who works with heavy machinery should undergo rigorous safety training that is relevant to the machinery that they are using. If you hire through a service, ask the hiring companies if they run training courses or give briefings before staff use the equipment. If you own the machinery then enroll staff on an appropriate training course and make sure they have passed any exams required.

Draw up comprehensive safety guidelines and policies, ensure that new employees are given a copy of the guidelines, and confirm that they have read them. Keep the rules handy by printing out copies to be kept anywhere where the machinery is used. If your company has an intranet, you could also consider putting the guidelines are kept online as well to make them accessible to all employees.

Your managers and supervisors should also know the safety rules and take the lead in making sure they are adhered to. Supervisors should set a good example by following safety rules themselves and ensuring that employees do the same. You can also encourage employees to stick to the safety rules by highlighting employees who do well in safety exams or show examples of good practice.

Show yourself to be a good employer by giving staff ample time to complete a job using heavy machinery without having to rush and take risks, and provide a confidential way for employees to draw attention to any colleagues or supervisors who are not abiding by the safety regulations.

Whether you own or are renting your machines, you should always ensure that proper safety equipment such as goggles, ear protectors, hard hats, and gloves are made available. Talk to staff about wearing appropriate clothing when they are using machinery and discuss the risks of inappropriate clothing such as loose fitting items, jewelry, and long hair.

Attention should also be paid to the workspace in which the machinery will be used. Remove any obstructions in the area and ensure operators are aware of any cables or power lines before starting work. Other employees working in the same space should also be made aware of safety procedures and make sure they do not get in the way of the machinery.

You should also make sure that the machines you use are working properly and are fitted with appropriate safety devices such as backup alarms, warning lights and automatic cut-offs. These will help reduce the likelihood of injury and increase safety. Equipment should be routinely checked and a log should be available for employees to note any defects noticed during day-to-day use.