Heavy Equipment Safety

Heavy Equipment Safety Guide in Spanish
Safety Posters Library

Earthmoving Equipment
Working with earthmoving equipment requires your employees to be attentive to their actions and the task at hand. There are numerous safety rules and regulations employees should follow that will help them stay alert and operate equipment safely. The following rules apply to scrapers, loaders, crawler or wheel tractors, bulldozers, off-highway trucks, graders, agricultural and industrial tractors, and similar equipment.

The following rules are generally accepted. Be sure to add rules that are specific to your operations and rules you have created from your experience to this list.

General Requirements:

  • All equipment left unattended, adjacent to a highway at night, in normal use, or adjacent to construction areas where work is in-progress, shall have appropriate lights, reflectors, or barricades equipped with appropriate lights or reflectors, to identify the location of the equipment.
  • A safety tire rack, cage, or comparable protection shall be provided and used when inflating, mounting, or dismounting tires installed on split rims, rims equipped with locking rings, or similar devices.
  • The parking brake shall be set whenever the equipment is parked. Equipment parked on inclines shall have the wheels chocked and the parking brake set.
  • Equipment shall comply with the requirements of 1926.550(a)(15) when it’s used near or moved into the vicinity of power lines or energized transmitters. Please refer to 1926.550(a)(15).
  • All vehicles shall have a service brake system, an emergency brake system, and a parking brake system.
  • These systems can use common components or be separate, but they must be maintained in operable condition.
  • Whenever visibility conditions warrant additional light, all vehicles in use shall be equipped with at least two headlights and two taillights in good operating condition.
  • Brake lights should be in good working condition, no matter what the lighting condition.
  • Trucks with dump beds or bodies must have a positive means of support, which is permanently attached and capable of being locked into place so that when being worked on, a dump bed or body cannot come down and crush an employee.
  • All vehicles and equipment must be checked at the beginning of each shift to make sure components are in good working order. These components include, but are not limited to: service brakes, parking brakes, emergency brakes, tires, horn, steering mechanisms, coupling devices, seatbelts, operating controls, lights, reflectors, windshield wipers, defrosters, fire extinguishers, etc. All defects must be corrected prior to equipment being used.

Seatbelts
Seatbelts must be provided on all equipment covered by this section and must meet the requirements of the Society of Automotive Engineers, J386-1969, Seat Belts for Construction Equipment. Seatbelts for agricultural and light industrial tractors must meet the seatbelt requirements of Society of Automotive Engineers J333a-1970, Operation Protection for Agricultural and Light Industrial Tractors. Seatbelts do not need to be provided for equipment that is designed only for standup operation, or equipment that does not have rollover protective structure (ROPS) or adequate canopy protection.

Access Roadways and Grades
You must not move, or cause construction equipment or vehicles to be moved, on any access roadway or grade unless the roadway or grade is constructed and maintained to safely accommodate equipment and vehicle movement. Every emergency access ramp and berm you use must be constructed to restrain and control runaway vehicles.

Brakes
All earthmoving equipment must have a service braking system capable of stopping and holding the equipment fully-loaded as specified in:
• Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)J237, Loader Dozer-1971
• Graders SAEJ236 -1971
• Scrapers - SAEJ319b-1971

Brake systems for self-propelled, rubber-tired, off-highway equipment manufactured after Jan. 1, 1972, must meet the applicable minimum performance criteria set forth in the following Society of Automotive Engineers Recommended Practices:
• Self-Propelled Scrapers SAE J319b-1971
• Self-Propelled Graders SAE J236-1971
• Trucks and Wagons SAE J166-1971
• Front End Loaders and Dozers SAE J237-1971

Fenders
Pneumatic-tired, earthmoving haulage equipment (trucks, scrapers, tractors, and trailing units) whose maximum speed exceeds 15 miles per hour, must be equipped with fenders on all wheels to meet the requirements of Society of Automotive Engineers SAE J321a-1970, Fenders for Pneumatic-Tired Earthmoving Haulage Equipment. You can seek at any time to show that the uncovered wheels present no hazard to personnel from displaced road materials.

Audible Alarms
All bi-directional machines such as rollers, compactors, front-end loaders, bulldozers, and similar equipment must be equipped with a horn, distinguishable from the surrounding noise level. It must be operated as needed when the machine is moving in either direction. The horn must be maintained in operative condition. You cannot use earthmoving or compacting equipment, which has an obstructed view to the rear, in reverse gear unless the equipment has a reverse signal alarm in operation that is distinguishable from the surrounding noise level or an employee signals that it is safe to do so.

Scissor points on all front-end loaders that constitute a hazard to the operator during normal operation must be guarded.

Additional Resources
WCF Insurance Safety Department
385.351.8103

Ask a Safety Consultant

https://www.osha.gov
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/

NOTICE: This guide may make reference to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations; however the guide is not legal advice as to compliance with OSHA or other safety laws, codes, or regulations. Compliance with OSHA and other safety laws codes or regulations, and maintaining a safe work environment for your employees remains your responsibility. WCF Insurance does not undertake to perform the duty of any person to provide for the health or safety of your employees. WCF Insurance does not warrant that your workplace is safe or healthful, or that it complies with any laws, regulations, codes, or standards.

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