HVAC jobsites are frequently filled with many contractors – from electricians to plumbers to general contractors. As you can imagine, with all those people, it can get a bit dangerous.
Thousands of injuries and hundreds of fatal accidents related to equipment and machine operation occur every year. Over half of these accidents involve people on the site – laborers, co-workers, passers-by, etc, who get too close. However, practically all of these accidents can be prevented.
Below are 5 of the most common causes of job site accidents and tips on how to avoid them:
1. People Gathering Near The Machine Operating Area
For some reason, people enjoy standing right next to a machine that’s moving the dirt out of or into a hole. This is not a good idea, because all it does is create a scenario where they have the potential of getting seriously injured. It is extremely important for people on the ground to stay far away from the machine operating area. While foremen are the ones that must enforce this rule, operators (who must have a Certificate of Completion) can use the horn as a warning for people to stay back.
2. Machine Swing Radius & Operating Equipment on Slopes
Since swing radius accidents are very common (and fatal when involving people), you must rope off the swing radius around a machine. As we mentioned earlier, do not let any people stand near it. If necessary, you can use a spotter to keep everyone back. As far as slopes are concerned, operators must always run equipment with caution. Remember, just because you can make it up a slope, doesn’t mean you can do it as smoothly coming back down.
3. Use Caution When Backing Up The Machine
Operators cannot rely on backup alarms, alone, to make sure that no one is behind them. The best thing to do? Physically get out of the machine and look. It is imperative to check the perimeter of the machine before moving an inch. If, for some reason, the operator cannot get a perfect view, a spotter (wearing bright colors) can guide you. It is also important to use clean and adjusted wide-angle mirrors. It’s a great idea to have rear-mounted cameras and presence-sensing alarms. That way, technology can enhance the precautions you’re already taking.
4. Overhead/Buried Obstructions
Make sure that you know about and clearly mark overhead obstructions and/or underground utilities, such as water, gas, sewers, electrical lines, telecom, et cetera. You can mark them using barrier tape, signs, sawhorses, etc. If there are low clearance or overhead lines, mark them or warn everyone on the job site. If you’re going to dig, make sure you call an agency that has jurisdiction, such as Dig Safe. Often times mistakes are made when marking, so use caution everywhere and hand dig when you’re close.
5. Machine Upheaval
Operators must study the machine’s instructional manual or video to understand its stability features on all surface types and conditions. However, if you should find yourself in a situation where operation is not going as planned, read the next few lines very carefully. This simple rule can save your life. Just like in a car, a seatbelt must be worn at all times – no excuses. If a machine begins tipping, an operator is obviously in grave danger. Wearing a seatbelt will greatly decrease the risk of serious injury. In addition, it lessens the amount of bouncing around in the cab during standard operation, and can help you to control the machine in a possible undesirable situation.
I hope these tips have shed some light about the precautions that should be taken on construction job sites. Remember, sometimes a small act can prevent an unthinkable accident. Stay safe!
We are an air conditioning repair company in NYC and the purpose of our blog is to educate all our readers and customers.