Lifting equipment has a variety of uses, whether on construction sites or warehouses. However, even when most construction and manufacturing industries use them, improper handling is still usual. Inappropriate use of this equipment has been linked to accidents and even fatalities. According to The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and National Traumatic and Occupational Fatalities (NTOF), between 1980 and 1989, machine-related injuries were second after motor vehicle-related injuries. Machine-related injuries constituted 14% of all deaths.
When using lifting equipment, it’s essential to follow the necessary precautions to avoid any form of accident. These accidents can cause injuries, costly damage, and even death in severe cases. That’s why it’s essential to follow guidelines, such as the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER). Workers should practice the rules, procedures, and requirements implemented while using the equipment for protection.
If you’re wondering how you can safely use lifting equipment, this post is for you. We’ve outlined safety tips to look out for when operating lifting equipment. Read on to find out more.
- Ensure To Have Proper Training
You must ensure that the operators operating lifting equipment have proper up-to-date training. They should receive extra training once new equipment is introduced and have continuous training on safety precautions. Training at the start of their careers isn’t enough; it should be an ongoing process to ensure your staff work safely, effectively, and efficiently.
According to stenhouse lifting, proper training helps employers and lifting equipment operators prevent safety failures of lifting equipment. Many businesses and lifting equipment operators usually ignore this aspect, not knowing it’s the most crucial aspect to avoid unnecessary risks that can cause accidents. Hence, you should ensure that all the staff has proper training when operating lifting equipment.
If you’re one of the staff members and it has been some time since your last training, don’t hesitate to go to your employer and request for a refresher. Thankfully, there are many training courses that you can take to ensure your safety at work.
For example, if you’re working on a construction site, you must also be well-trained in operating heavy equipment, including those used for carrying and lifting loads. In that case, getting a builder’s license may be an excellent way to equip yourself with the proper knowledge and skills about heavy equipment operation and other related tasks. If you’re from Australia or wherever you may be, get certified with a builders licence with Skills Certified or other reliable providers in the area. This way, you can get the training you need to keep yourself safe while handling equipment.
- Always Check The Equipment Before Using It
It’s vital to check your equipment before using it. You can use the operating and maintenance manual of the lifting equipment to conduct the necessary checks. Performing these checks ensures your equipment is ready for use and will work efficiently. It’s also crucial to ensure that the equipment’s certificate of thorough examination is up to date, meaning that the equipment is examined in line with the manual. This inspection needs to be done every year.
The inspection ensures that the lifting equipment is free from mechanical issues. Once any problem is detected, you can promptly have it fixed before it causes trouble for your company, such as accidents and downtime.
Also, aside from proper inspection, you should ensure that the lifting equipment undergoes regular maintenance. Always check the maintenance record of the equipment to know if all essential components are working correctly and reliably. Consequently, you can rest knowing you’re safe when using the equipment at work.
- Check The Lifting Loads
The lifted load shouldn’t exceed the working load limit (WLL). It’s essential to follow the weight that the lifting equipment can safely lift. The working load limit is usually indicated in the operating manual. Remember that the equipment is as strong as its weakest parts. Therefore, lifting heavy weights that exceed the WLL increases the risk of accidents.
Also, ensure the load’s weight is evenly distributed and that the equipment can accommodate its weight and shape. It can guarantee the stability of the load, thus reducing the risk of accidents. If the load being lifted has loose parts, secure them before lifting.
To check for any misuse of the equipment, you can use high-quality monitoring and overload protection systems. These can help monitor operations, prevent unnecessary accidents and extend the life of your equipment. However, you should ensure that these monitoring and overload protection systems align with your tasks and equipment.
- Never Stand Under The Load
Although the risks are apparent, it’s common to find workers standing underneath a load when operating the lifting equipment. It’s essential to avoid this at all costs because you will be at risk of being struck by the load if anything goes wrong. When this happens, the accident may render you unable to work because of your injuries.
To avoid this unfortunate situation, try putting a safe distance between you and the lifting equipment. By doing so, you can be safe even if a malfunction of the equipment happens.
Moreover, you should protect other workers around the area to avoid the risk of injuries. Prohibit them from walking or standing under the load. You can do this by marking loading and unloading zones as dangerous or by using durable physical barriers. Lastly, inform other workers about any lifts that should be done throughout the day. This way, other workers can avoid passing by the area to ensure their safety.
- Use Safety Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital when operating lifting equipment. It can help minimize exposure to accidents that cause severe injuries in workplaces. Personal protective equipment can include gloves, safety boots, hard hats, goggles, full-body suits, etc. With the proper personal protective equipment, you can rest assured you’re protected somehow against falling items, scratches, and cuts. Remember, the equipment you choose should comply with the current regulations – and it includes using PPE.
The Bottom Line
When operating lifting equipment, there are many risks involved, like equipment malfunction, and human failures, among other issues that can increase the risk of accidents. As a lifting equipment operator or any other staff working with such equipment, it’s vital to ensure you’re always safe when operating or near such enormous equipment. Having adequate training and wearing proper attire can protect you against most lifting equipment-related accidents.