Heavy Equipment - Four Other Hazards to Consider

Heavy Equipment - Four Other Hazards to Consider 

As an inspector you already know there is an endless list of possible hazards that result from the operation of heavy equipment. A few incident types in particular cause many serious injuries and fatalities each year. Three types of incidents that result in these serious injuries and fatalities are struck-by incidents, caught-in or between incidents, and tip overs. While these incident types deserve a lot of attention because of the harm they can cause, there are also many other hazards relating to heavy equipment operation that can result in frequent injury.

Four Other Hazards to Consider Relating to the Use of Heavy Equipment

Slips, trips, and falls are some of most common types of incidents that result in injuries to workers. Operators of heavy equipment are not exempt from these incidents occurring to them. Climbing into the cab of equipment or walking on the slick surfaces of a machine are two common occurrences that can result in a slip, trip, or fall injury for an operator.

Pinch points are located in many different places on a piece of heavy equipment. Did you ever think about the door jams or equipment hoods? These are two common pinch point locations where operators and mechanics injure their fingers, hands and arms.

Loose cargo can also lead to injury due to an operator losing control of their equipment. A loss in control results from an operator being distracted from their work due to objects moving around in their cab. Another way loose cargo can lead to an incident is when an object that is not secured gets stuck in a control or under a pedal of the equipment.

Leaks on equipment can lead to multiple different types of injuries or property loss. A leak in a pressurized line is especially hazardous. Hydraulic lines that are leaking can inject fluid underneath the skin of a worker. This kills tissue which often results in amputation of the affected body part if not treated quickly. Leaking equipment can also lead to a slip incident for those workers who happen to step on the fluid.

As an inspector, we are always looking for ways to implement best practices to help mitigate these hazards. In the JSA meeting remind your co-workers to:

Always use three points of contact when climbing into the cab of heavy equipment.

Clear boots and steps of any mud to avoid slick conditions.

Watch hand placement and avoid pinch point areas. Ensure equipment guards are in place and functioning to avoid hands or body parts from being caught-in or between them.

Maintain a clean cab. Ensure any items within the cab are tied down or secured properly.

Always check to make sure the operator is completing a daily inspection prior to using heavy equipment. Have them tag out equipment that has leaks until it is properly repaired.

Never check for leaks on pressurized lines with your hands, even while wearing gloves.

It is important to remember that there are many hazards present while operating heavy equipment. While it is critical to eliminate the chance for struck-by incidents, caught-in or between incidents, and tip overs occurring, it is equally important to protect yourself and your co-workers from these other hazards mentioned in this newsletter.

June Near Misses

While conducting a hydro test, I observed that a laborer who found a leak and instead of communicating and following procedure of bleeding it down, he grabbed a wrench and headed over to the connection. I stopped the laborer and pulled him to the side with his foreman and explained again why we bleed down to 0. The line had 250 pounds of pressure in which the laborer did not think it was too much. A stand down was held with the entire Hydro test crew to reestablish protocol while finding leaks and ensuring that we do not touch the pipe while under pressure. No further issues.

On arrival to the job site, I noticed an open trench approximately 5ft deep and about 50ft long without any barricade tape or fencing. There were vehicles driving in the area and workers near the edge of the trench. Once I began taking pictures, some of the workers left the area and immediately returned with some fencing and put it up.

There wasn’t a near miss involved but had the potential for possibly having one, especially with other contractors in the same vicinity. I witnessed a contractor arrive at the job site and immediately get out, start unloading materials and tools and begin working. I approached the supervisor and asked for his JSA. He replied that he did not have one and that he had to get going and get his work done in a playful manner. I told him that he needed to make sure that he has one filled and out and everyone working has signed it prior to returning to work.

An employee decided to blast a small area of touch up spots without a helmet. Work was stopped and a quick safety meeting was held to remind this person of the importance of the helmet, not only to protect him from the blast media but also to provide clean air while blasting.

Welder used a cutting wheel on a grinder without a guard. Work was stopped and the welder was reminded that the guard must stay on when using a cutting wheel. If the cutting wheel is too big for the grinder, then it must be put on an appropriately sized grinder within the rated RPM range. Or use a cutting wheel designed for the size of the grinder.

One near miss that was addressed to the contractor was that a CO2 monitor was not going to be used while using a compressor to sandblast items on site. Crew was told of the issue and no sandblasting was allowed until a calibrated CO2 monitor was brought in for the worker performing the jobs safety.

An individual backing a truck in a facility where a spotter was required. He ran over some dunnage and got out of his truck to see what he hit. The truck began rolling forward because he had accidentally put it in neutral instead of park. I yelled out to let him know that his truck was moving. He ran and jumped in to stop the truck. Always have a spotter in place when operating a piece of equipment or vehicle inside a facility. Also, do not leave equipment/vehicles running while unattended.

A large structural piece (catwalk and steps on one end) were set on their foundations. The end on the catwalk away from the stairs was open. In addition, the whole structural piece was only held in place with ratchet straps. The entire structure and the stairs should have been barricaded off before the workers setting the structure left the area. It was not. The contractor was notified, and barricades were installed.

While bolting up, a nut was dropped by personnel in a man lift basket. There was no barricade tape placed around and under the work being performed. Work was stopped and barricade tape was installed around the work area.

A contractor was unloading 12” pipe while using a track hoe with a Vacuworx attachment. As the operator was lifting the 12” pipe, suction on the attachment was lost, the pipe was elevated approximately 6” when the suction failed, and the pipe being elevated landed back on the already off-loaded bore pipe. A brief stop work was initiated immediately. No injuries or property damage occurred. The contractor is doing further investigation to determine the root cause of the near miss and to cover preventive actions from this occurring again.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered up with Boot Barn to offer all Applied Consultants inspectors a 15% discount on all purchases “work related” from the Boot Barn, Nation Wide. Be sure to tell them you work for Applied Consultants and use the key word: “Safety First” to receive the discount. 

API1169 Test Dates:

NOTICE:  Prometric has closed most testing sites until April 17th.  Due to these closures, API has extended this testing window until May 17th.  Please check their websites for further instructions.

August 14 - 28, 2020
Registration Deadline: July 12th, 2020

December 4 - 18, 2020
Registration Deadline: October 2nd, 2020

June Winners

Les Strickland-Platinum

Jason Beckner-Bronze

Sonney Robinson-Gold

Kris Haraldson-Bronze

Jay Don Howe-Bronze

Chris Courtney-Bronze


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