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Chapter 5: Materials Handling and Mechanized Equipment

Construction, by its nature, is an ever-changing environment and involves a constant movement of personnel and materials. The use of mechanized equipment in that process poses significant crushing and striking hazards, particularly in excavation work. Below are some examples of safe work practices when working around mechanized equipment:

  • Mark off areas around the swing radius of digging equipment and move the barriers with the progress of the work. This is particularly important when the back-hoe is operating in close proximity to trees and other solid objects such as sections of pre-cast. Most track-type back-hoes have a serious blind-spot that’s usually the rear of the machine on a diagonal to the operator’s position. 

  • Remember that loaders and backhoes are primarily earth-moving equipment. Traveling with material suspended from buckets poses a special hazard. Swinging loads may catch a worker between the suspended load and the machinery or the worker may trip on uneven grade and be run over by the equipment. 

  • Back-up alarms and other warning devices tend to be "tuned out" over time. In many pieces of equipment, the operators may only have a partially unobstructed vision to the rear. Still other types of equipment, such as track equipment and skid-steer loaders make it difficult for an operator to turn completely around when backing up. Don’t rely on back-up alarms as the sole warning of which direction a machine is going to move. Always make sure the operator is aware of your position. 

  • You may not be working next to an active motor way , but reflective vests or clothing are still a good idea. Neverassume an equipment operator can see you. 

  • When any load is brought under tension, regardless of the equipment being used to hoist it, stay away! The load should be controlled with a tag line while aloft and only after being positioned in the location of placement should workers be anywhere near it. 

  • No one should have any part of their body under any portion of a suspended load.