Safety Talk: Risks and Hazards with Heavy Machinery
As the Gulf Cooperation Council peaks in its stage of infrastructural development, industry reports have indicated a rise in injuries and fatalities. Construction work requires treacherous labor under conditions that could potentially lead to injuries, machine or structural collapses. Despite training sessions, implementing crucial codes of practice and guidance by work site agents and foreman, many firms are struggling to secure occupational safety.
Although, hazardous situations cannot always be escaped, a good way to start is to familiarize with the use of machinery. Common injuries include broken bones, back or neck injuries, or even loss of life. Property damage is an added expense along with massive insurance charges.
5 Hazards to watch out for during any project:
1- Access Hazards: The lack of safe access is essential to prevent complications and timely performance of maintenance work. Providing employees with a safe access to conducting tasks water maintenance, chemical dosing or monitoring of automated equipment. With advanced planning, prediction and incorporation of sufficient connectors such as ladders, walkways could protect employees from risking a fall, injuries, as well as the use of barriers will prevent access to
2- Mechanical Failures: Most mechanical failures tend to occur in the presence of untrained operators, disregard to warning signals, a lack of regular checks and maintenance and overworking machinery. This can be avoided by reducing any idle time for machines. Furthermore, controlled usage and proper maintenance can go a long way. Heavy Machinery often presents warning signals such a leakage or soot to indicate exhaustion or a need for fluid analysis. Keeping this in mind, and dedicating an apt procedure will save costs and potentially reduce future risks.
3- Working at Height: The UAE reports the highest number of injuries incurred within a construction site as a result of a fall. These type of accidents occur during scaffolding, scissor lifts, knuckle booms or working within work platforms with inadvertent openings. Safety protocols, must be put in place such that, anchorage points are strong enough to support the use personal protective equipment against falls.
4- Electrocutions: Electrocutions make up nearly 9% of deadly site incidents. The lack proper electricity protocols and safety mechanisms expose workers to complicated wiring, sudden startups in heavy machines (especially during maintenance or repairs). One common yet effective way to avoid this is through LOTO or Lock Out/Tag Out protocols preventing sudden startups or faulty electrical failures.
5- Caught-in between/ Struck by Hazard: Lastly but not the least, caught-in accidents occur between individual(s) and machines, when either they are, or their body parts/clothing is caught in machines. Struck by on the other hand occurs when a person is hit by, falls off heavy machinery, or flying objects from the machinery. These situations can be avoided in the educating the workforce of safe escape routes in the case of oncoming accidents, comfortable work wear, and risk assessment.
There are many hazards that can also be unpredictable and unidentified for this reason, it is essential to implement strict training sessions and ideal code of practice for safety. When operating within the U.A.E or GCC government safety regulations must be adhered to and proactive planned approaches towards risk control must be put into effect.