Using such heavy machinery as excavators can be dangerous. The bucket could fall off injuring someone. The excavator could trip over and crash. Or even the swinging arm of the machine could hit somebody.
This raises the safety concern. How safe is it to work with excavators? Well, while excavators cannot be done away with, safety measures can put in place to reduce the chances of accidents occurring. And should an accident happen then there should be appropriate safety procedure to contain it and prevent further damage.
We will highlight potential hazards, the possible triggers of accidents and explore measures to mitigate them. Then we shall see how to respond when an accident does happen.
Potential Hazards and Mitigation Measures.
- Hazards related to Personnel operating the excavator.
Excavators are very technical machines requiring specialized knowledge and expertise to operate. In the hands of an incompetent person things could easily go out of hand. The solution is simply letting the experts do the work.
The operators should periodically undergo refresher safety training so that they are prepared for any eventuality. Failure to do so is hazardous.
The operators must strictly follow the manufacturer’s instruction and don’t override any without consulting the supervisor. Only recommended components like buckets should be used. Weight must be taken into account. Overloading could make it topple.
- Hazards related to the working area.
Scope the surrounding for any potential hazards. Are there any overhead or underground water or power lines in the area? If there are, how far from the site are they? Get this clear to avoid damages and prevent hazards.
How is the terrain vis-a-vis the manufacturer’s recommendation?
The importance of factoring in these issues well before beginning the work is that you preempt any dangerous situations and come up with measures that will enable you go about the work safely.
The working site must also have appropriate warning signage and barricades to keep off unauthorized persons.
- Hazards that relate to other people in the site.
There is a grave danger in people approaching the excavator while in operation. The operator incognizant of the person may unintentionally injure them.
Should there be need to approach the working radius of the machine, communication should be made to the operator. And only advance when the operator grants such permission.
Let other site workers be made aware of the excavator’s mode of operation so that they keep out of harm’s way. They will get to avoid blind spots and the swing arears of the excavator.
At no time should anyone be beneath the excavator with loads hanging over them.
- Hazards related to the excavator.
You will agree with me other safety measures would be useless if the machine itself is not in good condition. This calls for frequent servicing maintenance to ensure it is good, working-worthy condition.
Its controls should be checked against a checklist and only allowed to begin work when confirmed to be in good condition. The safety measures also must confirmed to be in place.
For excavators that use tyres, the tyres must be in good condition and properly inflated for this has an impact in the overall stability of the excavator.
Responding To An Accident.
While measures are put in place to prevent accidents, from time to time accidents do occur. When an accident happens, first raise an alarm and call for help. Then assess the safety of the accident scene. If it is safe proceed and administer first aid as wait for professional help.