Heavy equipment safety is no longer a matter to be dealt with trivially. It is now mandatory for all heavy equipment operators to have OSHA-approved training prior to commencing work as an operator. We certainly don’t make light of this area of training, ensuring that all graduates who leave our heavy equipment operator school have met those minimum safety standards.
Safety is all about getting the basics right. You’ll often hear two phrases repeated time and again, both in training and in the workplace. These are – “three points of contact” and “look UP.”
Three points of contact refers to movement on heavy equipment (and rigging). The three points of contact are your limbs – either two hands and a foot, or both feet and a hand. Those three points of contact reduce any risk of falling.
Looking UP is important for any equipment that uses height as part of its operations. Excavators, backhoes, loaders and cranes are examples of this type of equipment. It’s natural to look ahead, around you, and down, however, it’s not natural to look for danger from above. There have been a lot of accidents over the years caused by heavy equipment coming into contact with overhead power lines. In many cases, the outcome was deadly for the operator and some of those working around them.
These are just two of the basics that heavy equipment operators need to get right, from day one. Whilst it’s important to think safety, it’s also important to do some things automatically, and looking up and maintaining three points of contact fit into that category. When undertaking heavy equipment operator training, don’t pay lip service to the safety aspects – your life could depend on it.