Safety tips that work around heavy equipment

There are hundreds of accidents in the construction industry every year. Heavy equipment operators, ground workers and pedestrians are injured or killed by heavy equipment. Many of these are the result of rollovers or individuals hit or crushed by equipment. Struck dead are one of the leading construction industries cause of death. 

  • The equipment is not blocked accordingly.
  • Falling objects and loads.
  • Heavy machinery overturned 
  • Operators fail to control their blind spots.
  • Collide with another piece of equipment or building
  • Use of warning signs when necessary.
  • Do not wear suitable clothes. 

Here are some ways to prevent an accident from occurring when working with heavy machinery:

Blind spots

Operators need to make sure to look around the car before going ahead and moving, even if that means getting out of the car and checking again. When your vision is limited, you can get a spotter to help you move the car by guiding you in the right direction knowing that there are no workers or buildings on the road. High visibility vests are mandatory on all sites so that the operator can see where the spotter is and who to look at the signs, but when it’s dark the lights can highlight the spots so they become visible. 


Spotting is an effective way to prevent accidents between pedestrians and equipment and to protect nearby properties. Visibility and visual communications are very important. Earthmoving operators, overhead elevators, and other heavy construction procedures should have one. They should always wear a Hi-Viz, helmet, glowing gloves, and proper footwear so that operators know who to get directions from. Before proceeding with anything, the spotter and operator must agree on the commands to be used so that there is no confusion, as well as carry out a risk assessment in order to avoid any danger.  

Operators work practice

Operators must have full training and have all the necessary certificates to operate that specific machine to help reduce all risks.

  • Familiarize yourself with the equipment they will use. Must provide an operator’s manual.
  • Observe machinery carefully before using such as brakes, headlights, wipers, horn to name a few.
  • Adjust the mirrors so you can see your blind spots.
  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Do not overload the equipment
  • Stop the engine when leaving the vehicle
  • There are additional risks that traders need to consider such as the weather and terrain they are working on. 


Make sure you have constant communication with the people who work around you. A two-way radio is the best form of communication. If a radio is not available, have a spotter direct you using hand signals instead. This should be discussed at every security meeting and reinforced by the foreman on site.

Daily inspection of the machine

All heavy equipment should be thoroughly inspected. This involves checking all parts of the machinery to check for damage and to make sure the machine is operating properly. Hydraulic hoses, oil level, brakes, fuel tanks and many other components need to be examined. Once the checklist is complete, operators should then report it to the mechanics and safety department. This is done on a cloud-based device to help improve communication between the operator and the mechanic. It is therefore stored in a safe place and can be reached anywhere when needed. 

Load limits

Operators should know the load limits for the heavy machinery they are using. Depending on the way the equipment has been installed and its size, the load limits can change dramatically. When lifting any type of object with a machine, make sure the cargo is safe with the appropriate rigging accessories and always inspect to make sure they are in good working condition. As with all equipment procedures, make sure all workers are at a safe distance when lifting and moving loads. 

Work limits

If you don’t feel comfortable in a given situation, even if you have been asked to do so, don’t move on. If it is safe to do so, go out and evaluate the area making sure everything is safe and there are no dangers around. Staying calm and being alert will allow you to be more comfortable and productive unless it’s dangerous.