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Much has been said and written about heavy equipment safety, however, it not a new subject. Safety has always been at the core of any heavy equipment training – there’s just hasn’t been the focus that we now see. In the past, it was considered a part of your training, not as a separate subject.
As an example, an excavator operator has always been taught to check their environs before operating their equipment. Looking up, looking around, and even looking down is not new – it’s always been there. The difference now is that operators are assessed on their specific knowledge of heavy equipment safety and because of that, it has become a separate subject area.
When you compare accidents and serious injury/death rates between now and twenty years ago, there’s no argument that specialized safety training has helped to decrease these numbers. Employers have been given the responsibility (some would say burden) of ensuring that all workers are trained to a minimum OSHA standard. When looking for heavy equipment training, it makes sense to check that OSHA training is included in your training program. Without this training, your employment prospects may be limited – you will need to find an employer who is willing to take your through an equivalent safety training program.
Safety in the workplace is an important issue nationwide, not just in the heavy equipment field. Pen pushers in their glass towers are required to have some form of safety training, even if it only involves fire drills. When it comes to heavy equipment operations, it’s important to remember that your equipment is large, it’s heavy, and it’s deadly if not used safely – deadly to both those around the equipment, and in many cases, to those operating the equipment.
Heavy equipment safety has always been an important component of training – today, safety issues are clearly documented and you are expected to have a sound knowledge of these issues.