Safety first: best practices
We already dealt in the past with an issue that particularly concerns us: safety at the workplace, especially when we talk about hazardous jobs in adverse sites such as quarries, mines and construction sites.
As you well know, major risk factors are present in these environments for both ground operators and big machinery drivers on unsurfaced, muddy or sloping roads, where operations can become really tough and dangerous.
Size, weight and power of these vehicles represent a high risk for people and equipment within their operating area. One of the main causes is the operator’s restricted visibility compared to the vehicle dimensions. Many are the blind spots in the immediate proximity of the machinery. Therefore, it is crucial to pay utmost attention and adopt rules of conduct that ensure the safety of all staff members.
Since prevention is the first and best defense to avoid accidents, we’re leaving you today a list of best practices for your own safety and that of all the people working with you.
Before starting your vehicle
At the beginning of your shift, before starting your vehicle, make an inspection and check its general state:
- check the terrain underneath looking for any leakage;
- check tires: are there damages, cuts in the tread or clear signs of wear or deterioration?
- check the level of fuel, better not stop operations during the day for refueling. It would be a loss in terms of time and productivity.
Make sure with your supervisor that the vehicle you’re going to drive has been regularly inspected by the maintenance team so that all these items are checked:
- level of the engine oil;
- level of cooling liquids and lubricants;
- condition of the various filters: oil, air, etc.;
- radiators clean-up.
Access to the driver’s cabin
Now, it’s time to get into the cabin. First of all, check there’s no mud on the steps or under your shoes - you might slip. We suggest you to follow the so-called triple-support procedure when you climb on board: that is two hands on the side supports and one foot on the steps, or two feet on the steps and one hand on the support, and so on.
Once on board, check the visibility through the windshield and side windows. Adjust the seating position, the rear-view and wing mirrors and fasten the safety belts. Before starting the vehicle, make sure you have a good visibility, you must always be able to master any situation.
Each construction site or mine has its own safety rules, access roads, directions of travel and road signs. Anyway, there are some basic rules of conduct you should always adopt:
- before starting the vehicle, honk the horn; you’ll attract the attention of those around you and warn them that you’re about moving the vehicle;
- wait for the okay from the site supervisor, and check beforehand the route and your exact itinerary;
- always observe the indications from ground operators. Big construction sites have traffic controllers who supervise the transfer of large vehicles, especially on black spots such as access and exit points, crossroads or the starting point of sloping roads. These people are in charge of managing the transfer of all vehicles and equipment in the best possible way, avoiding blockages, delays and accidents;
- always pay attention to the instructions transmitted via radio;
- always give way to larger and full-load vehicles. A laden vehicle always has right of way before an empty one.
These are just a few guidelines to keep in mind when working in these environments. Nonetheless, always ask your supervisor for the safety procedure on site to safeguard your physical integrity and that of the people working with you. Remember…safety first!