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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

A "dirty dozen" reminders for excavator operators

Maralyn Kastel - Friday, September 06, 2013

On every construction site safety must always be a top priority.  Remember that work health & safety is everyone’s responsibility.

A dozen safety reminders for excavator operators:

Always wear your safety belt: In the event of a roll over, you can be thrown from the cab and crushed beneath the machine.

Daily maintenance checks: Always do a daily maintenance check to identify potential risks before they become dangerous.

Emergency procedures: Make sure you are aware of the emergency procedures in the event of injury, fire, chemical exposure, landslip or other potentially dangerous incidents.  This includes warning communication systems, rapid evacuation and trained rescue persons.

Know the hazards at the work site: A daily risk assessment for the potential hazards association with falling earth or rock; instability of excavation or adjoining structures; falls into excavation; ground vibration; vehicle movement and other hazards common to excavation.

Safe work methods: Understand the safe work methods and make sure that site specific risk controls are put in place.

Use a spotter: Have a trained spotter in a safe position to direct pedestrian traffic and guide excavator operation, especially where the operator is not able to see the bottom of very deep trenches.

Don't undercut your tracks: Always leave an appropriate distance between the excavation machine and the trench you're digging to prevent cave in and roll over.

Watch for signs of fatigue: Fatigue can be caused by working too many hours, hunger, or monotonous jobs. When you feel fatigued take a rest period or get some exercise to improve concentration.

Bucket attachments: Quick hitches save time and effort, but make you are trained in their use including how to make sure all connections are secure. In recent years, several deaths have occurred from attachments falling off excavator arms.

Clearance: When slewing in a confined space check the amount of clearance, especially for the ballast weight. Clearance needs to be at least 0.5 meters all around.

Distractions: Concentrate on the job.  Distractions lead to accidents.  Accidents lead to …..dying on the job.

Barriers: Check there are sufficient and appropriate barriers to prevent accidental unauthorised entry to the work site.

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