Everybody wants to stay safe on the job, but knowing proper vehicle safety best practices is especially critical in the construction and demolition industries. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), approximately 75 percent of on-the-job struck-by fatalities involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes.
To mitigate the dangers of on-site heavy-equipment use, operators should observe some easy-to-follow vehicle safety precautions.
Here are the top 3 vehicle tips for staying safe on-site:
- Check the vehicle: Observing a vehicle safety checklist can help prevent accidents before operation. Always examine the vehicle before each shift to verify that all parts and accessories are intact and work as intended. If applicable, check to see that the operating vehicle is outfitted with a seatbelt that meets OSHA standards. When operating hauling vehicles that are loaded by cranes, power shovels, loaders, etc., ensure there is a cab shield or canopy in place to protect against falling materials. When not in use, set the vehicle’s parking brake and chock the wheels if necessary to prevent any unintended movement.
- Observe the surrounding conditions: Equipment should only be driven on roadways or grades that are safely constructed and maintained. Obstructions, excavations and other hazards should be properly marked and enforced with a barricade as needed to prevent accidents and rollovers. When operating a vehicle near public roadways, the use of traffic signs, barricades or flaggers are a must for helping navigate more heavily tracked areas.
- Never work blind: Job sites are busy places where workers are likely to be tackling multiple jobs at once. Never drive a vehicle in reverse with an obstructed rear view if it can be avoided; however, if this is necessary, make sure the vehicle has an audible reverse alarm or a flagger is in place to help direct the vehicle. If dumping or lifting devices are being utilized, verify that all personnel are out of harm’s way before implementation. Finally, ensure that all workers wear brightly colored and reflective gear throughout the day to maintain adequate visibility.