Avoiding Accidents at Work: Operating Heavy Machinery

How to avoid an accident at work involving heavy machinery

If you work in the construction, manufacturing or agricultural industries, you will more than likely be working with large, heavy-duty machinery. Heavy machinery can include vehicles like tractors, forklifts, and cranes, and any other heavy-duty appliances used in the workplace. You may be the person whose job it is to operate the machinery, or simply work in close proximity to the moving vehicles. Whatever the case, both you and your employers must take steps to ensure that the machines are operated in a safe and secure manner, in order to reduce the chance of an accident happening. Accidents at work involving heavy machinery can cause serious injury, and even prove fatal. The Personal Injury team at Watermans have suggested the following safety measures be implemented to help to reduce the risk of an accident at work involving heavy machinery.

Ensure adequate training
As an employer, it is important to ensure that only those who are sufficiently trained and qualified in using certain machines are allowed to do so. Regular training and refresher courses can be provided for employees, to further reduce any chance of an accident at work occurring.

Conduct regular vehicle safety checks
In our homes, we regularly test our smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly. The same must be done with any heavy machinery in the workplace, making sure they are fit for purpose before use. Conducting regular vehicle checks can help to identify any potential machine faults before they cause injuries to employees. It is also important to ensure that safety guards for the machinery are secure and used correctly, to improve employee safety.

Ensure correct use of machinery
Accidents at work are more likely to happen if the machinery being used is not used for its intended purpose. Unsafe practices can put the person in charge of operating the vehicle in danger, as well as those working close by. For instance, forklift trucks should only be used to transport secure loads of a specific weight in a yard or warehouse. Vehicles used in construction should only be used to carry out the work they were manufactured to do. If any employees misuse these heavy-duty vehicles, the lives of the people in the workplace will be put at risk. Adequate training, as mentioned earlier, and effective workplace supervision will ensure employees correctly use the vehicles they are provided with for the job.

Keep workspaces clear
It is the duty of both the employer and employees in the workspace to keep all floor space and walkways clear of obstacles. In doing so, it reduces the chances of collisions and allows heavy machinery to move freely through the yard, site or warehouse. Employers should endeavour to have separate walkways for pedestrians, to reduce the chance of heavy machinery colliding with other employees.

Provide sufficient safety equipment
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) should be provided by employers for employees who are exposed to hazards in the workplace. Therefore, suitable protective equipment like hard hats, steel toe-capped boots, and glasses should be provided by the employer to help protect employees from injury when operating heavy machinery. All employees on the ground, not operating the heavy machinery, should also be wearing protective gear such as high-visibility clothing so they are more clearly noticeable to drivers.

Conduct regular risk assessments
Risk assessments play a vital part in maintaining a safe workspace for employees. When risk assessments are carried out, potential hazards in the workplace can be identified, and the necessary steps can be taken to address these hazards. By ensuring regular risk assessments are conducted, your employer is taking action to reduce the likelihood of an accident at work taking place.

Educate employees on safety procedures
Finally, there is no point in having health and safety procedures in place if no one knows about them! Make sure all employees are aware of rules and regulations for their specific workplace, in relation to the operation of and working alongside heavy machinery. The more preventative measures in place, the safer the workplace will be for all.

Been involved in an accident at work in Scotland?

Safety in the workplace is no joke, especially when heavy machinery is involved. By implementing the above suggestions, employers can reduce the chance of an accident happening. If you were unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident with heavy machinery that wasn’t your fault, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Speak to one of our accident at work experts today, by calling us on 0131 555 7055, or by filling out the form below. Our team offers straightforward legal advice, so that you know where you stand at every step in the process.

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