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Reducing risks when operating heavy machinery

Most Pennsylvania construction workers know that working around and operating heavy machinery is inherently dangerous. With more than 150,000 reported injuries and 800 deaths nationwide in 2013 alone, it is important that both employers and employees take safety precautions seriously.

One of the easiest ways to reduce construction work injuries or deaths involving heavy machinery include inspecting the machines. Ensuring that the machines are properly maintained can reduce the risk of the machine malfunctioning while an employee is using it, thereby reducing the risk of injury and death. Second, employers should ensure that any employee who may be required to use a certain piece of machinery is properly trained to use it. Employees who are asked to use machines they may not be trained to use should request proper training.

Other ways to reduce the risk of injuries or deaths involving heavy machinery involve ensuring communication while any of the machinery is being used and being vigilant while on the job site. All employees who are at the site while machinery is being used should know the plan regarding what, when and where the machinery is planned to be used. Finally, while there are always deadlines that must be made, slowing down the tempo of any work involving heavy machinery could save lives. When machine operators are rushed, they could make mistakes could cause an injury to a nearby worker or even themselves.

Even though there are many safety precautions that can be taken to make construction work safer, sometimes accidents can not be prevented. A construction worker who suffers a work-related injury involving heavy machinery may be able to recover the immediate and future costs of their injuries through the filing of a workers' compensation claim.

Source: EHS Today, "5 Tips to Safely Operate Heavy Machinery", James White, December 02, 2014

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