Accidents involving heavy machinery, especially cranes and forklifts, account for too many injuries and fatalities in the workplace. The manufacturing and construction industries each account for 42 percent of heavy machinery accidents and deaths, with the construction industry responsible for 24 percent of forklift accidents.
Accidents involving forklifts include rollovers, often due to poor weight distribution, as well as workers hit, pinned, or trapped by forklifts. Some workers are hit by the cargo transported by the forklift, and other workers are injured or killed after falling off the forklift. The latter is usually preventable by wearing a seat belt. Many of these accidents are also preventable with good safety training and machinery maintenance.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidelines for safety checks prior to and during crane operation, which include:
- Inspecting before operating
- Fixing defects found during the inspection
- Make sure all guards are in place
- Posting recommended speed and load capacity
- Ensuring the crane is on a firm, flat surface
- Avoid power lines by at least 10 feet
- Checking the load for security
- Ensuring rotating parts do not come into contact with workers
- Turning off the machine when not in use
OSHA also stresses that no changes or modifications should be made to any components without the manufacturer’s written approval.
How Workers Protect Themselves
Those working around heavy machinery must protect themselves from accidents. That means always wearing the required equipment when in the vicinity of the machinery, as well as staying out of loading zones when machines are unloading. Personal protective equipment includes helmets, boots, gloves, and safety glasses. Heavy machinery operators must stay focused, so it is critical not to distract them in any way. All workers should stay clear of the machinery’s moving parts. Keep pathways around the equipment operations clear. Machinery is designed to perform a certain task. Do not use machinery designed for one purpose for another. For example, do not use a wheel loader to carry a worker in lieu of an aerial lift.
Perhaps the number one rule when it comes to heavy equipment safety is that no one should operate a machine unless they are thoroughly trained. Every employee who operates a machine must go through a complete tutorial and a dry run before using the machine on the job site.
Pittsburgh Industrial Accident Lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. Represent Workers Injured on the Job
If you or a loved one was seriously injured while on the job, you need the services of the experienced Pittsburgh industrial accident lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. We work hard to obtain compensation for your injuries. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 412-765-1888 today. Located in Pittsburgh, we proudly represent clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.