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PROPERTY & CASUALTY
OCT 04, 2019
What You Need to Know About Mobile Equipment Safety
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), almost one in four struck-by-vehicle deaths involve construction workers. Moreover, 75 percent of struck-by fatalities in general involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes.
Developing, implementing and enforcing safety programs focused on struck-by hazards can help prevent these claims. Operators should be trained and certified, not just to verify they can operate the vehicle safely, but to understand the limitations and inherent hazards of the equipment they will be operating around nearby workers. General awareness training for workers around mobile equipment is also needed. Focus should be on wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), situational awareness around vehicles and how the blind spots on equipment can impact worker safety. Check out the tips below to keep workers safe, regardless of their job.
Tips for workers on foot
Workers on the ground play as important a role as operators to ensure safety.
Always wear high-visibility apparel.
If the controller on a given project, consider during preconstruction planning and site-specific safety plans if designated mobile equipment and pedestrian paths can be separated to reduce exposures.
Be aware of the unique equipment and vehicle blind spots you are working close to and stay clear of those areas.
Stay clear of all suspended loads and attachments.
Ensure the operator can see you through windows, or position yourself as the worker on the ground so that you can see the operator through the side/rear-view mirrors on the equipment.
Through communication signals with an operator, verify that workers on the ground are seen and do not approach until the operator gives acknowledgement.
Be aware of equipment travel paths, stay clear when possible and use reserve signal alarms in these areas.
Tips for operators
Follow OSHA requirements to certify operators on all equipment, not just forklifts.
Inspect equipment before the start of each shift.
Adjust mirrors accordingly before operation begins.
Ensure workers are clear of equipment before operating and moving equipment after the initial startup.
Acknowledge and allow safe passage to workers who alert the operator.
Turn off the engine and brakes prior to exiting equipment.
Require spotters to clear paths and use radio communication during backing of equipment.
Loading and unloading of equipment
While ancillary to construction, the loading and unloading of equipment and materials can pose significant hazards. Operators are typically highly focused on the loading/unloading procedures so that the loads they are handling are not damaged. Formalized work processes for operators can help put the focus back on human hazards. Items to address include:
Require the operator to coordinate with delivery drivers. Ask delivery drivers to wait to pick up cargo securement devices until after material is unloaded.
Make sure the delivery worker and operator know exactly where the delivery driver and other ground workers will be standing and that they must stay in that area.
In high traffic areas, have a worker stand out of the way to monitor the work area and ensure other workers are clear of loading and unloading activity (which generally involves backing).
Get clearance when other loads are being handled. The greater the width, the more distance is needed in the event loads shift, whip around, fall or get snagged, which creates a struck-by exposure.
Do not allow delivery drivers to approach trailers until equipment or other loads are stable.
Mobile equipment should be turned off and brakes set before the delivery driver secures equipment to the trailer.
An Amerisure risk management consultant can provide the training and tools necessary for everyone on the jobsite to practice safety around mobile equipment. Contact us at 800-257-1900 or
to learn more.