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Safety Toolbox Talks

Heavy Equipment

Heavy equipment is both powerful and dangerous, both for the operator and for those who work around it. It’s important that you know the safety precautions to take when working with and around heavy equipment such as dump trucks, front-end loaders, cranes, tractors and cement trucks.

Safety Rules for Heavy Equipment Operators

  • When you operate heavy equipment, always check the brakes, steering and other controls before starting the engine
  • Before you start up. make sure no one is near your equipment. The safest way to do this is to walk around your vehicle
  • Always wear the right personal protective equipment such as safety glasses and a hardhat when operating heavy equipment
  • Always wear your safety belt
  • When you park your machine, lower buckets, shovels or dippers, set the parking brake and shut off the engine
  • Resist the temptation to jump off of your machine; instead, use the handholds, rails and steps. Be sure to keep these areas clean and free from grease
  • Always stop the engine before lubricating or working on a machine. And make sure all safety guards are in place
  • Avoid backing up heavy equipment unless it’s absolutely necessary
  • Check the surrounding area for obstacles before beginning an operation
  • Keep other vehicles, materials, equipment and people out of areas where heavy equipment is operating
  • Make sure your mirrors are angled to reduce blind spots
  • Check your reverse alarm before operation
  • If you’re unable to see behind your machine, use a person on the ground as a spotter to help direct you and look for obstacles
  • Only use equipment you’re trained to use
  • Be familiar with the limitations of your equipment
  • Never assume your path is clear if you can’t see it

Safety Rules for Working Around Heavy Equipment

  • Keep clear of moving equipment
  • Never assume the operator knows where you are or where you’re going
  • Keep an eye out for moving equipment at all times
  • Watch out for and stay clear of pinch points, earth-moving equipment and cranes
  • If you must walk around a piece of heavy equipment, alert the operator to stop the machine before going by
  • Always stay out from under loads on cranes or hoists-even if it means taking the long way around
  • Avoid walking behind a piece of equipment that’s backing up. You could trip and fall
  • Never walk beside moving equipment or ride on its running board or drawbar in case it slides or turns or the load shifts
  • Never ride on top of a truck loaded with masonry blocks or other materials that could shift and injure you
  • If you’re working on portable staging, scaffolds or platforms, get off while the machine is being moved