There are always risks involved when working in the vicinity of heavy machinery and equipment. A small malfunction caused by lack of maintenance, human error or any other reason could have potentially fatal consequences.
To keep a track of work-related accidents, The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS conducts an annual Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries. According to the census of 2016, the recorded number of work-related injuries that resulted in death was found to be more than 5000 in the United States. The same census also indicates that transportation related incidents, which usually involve heavy machinery, were the leading cause of most work related fatal injuries. Take a look at our list of some of the most common accidents involving heavy machinery, so you understand them better and know how to avoid them.
1. Overturning of the equipment
Operating heavy equipment and machinery on an unstable surface or with uneven distribution of load is a recipe for disaster. How? It’s simple science. The centre of gravity of any object is simply a point on which all other parts of the object balance out each other’s weight.
To avoid tipping over, this center of gravity must always remain within the stability baselines. Placing an unreasonable or unevenly distributed amount of load on any heavy equipment, machine or vehicle could cause it to overturn within seconds. In such cases, the operator of the equipment and those in its surroundings are at high risk.
2. Vehicle collision
Vehicle collision with an obstacle such as a concrete wall or with another vehicle is another leading cause of accidents. While these equipments are designed to be as safe and user-friendly as possible, it’s easy to lose control if you’re not paying attention.
Workers with inadequate knowledge regarding the machine or those who are unable to concentrate due to substance abuse or fatigue should never be allowed to operate heavy equipment. This is also the reason why workplace substance abuse is restricted by federal law in the United States.
3. Getting caught in running equipment
A simple slip or trip at your workplace could be life threatening if you are surrounded by heavy machinery. In 2016, a 27 year old male worker suffered from a serious fracture and lacerations after his left arm got caught in a machine due to an improperly guarded drive belt.
Heavy machines typically have an emergency stop button as well, which can be used in case a worker’s clothing gets stuck in a component. But by the time someone pushes the button, it’s usually too late as these machines operate at unimaginably high speeds.
4. Flying debris
Flying debris is a common sight in workplaces that involve heavy equipment for various purposes such as drilling, chipping, etc. Injuries causes by flying debris can sometimes be avoided by using proper machine guards and personal protective gear. But in certain cases the debris is launched at such a high velocity that it ends up causing serious injuries on impact.
5. Equipment relocation
Movement of heavy machinery and related parts is a mammoth task and requires extensive planning and research. Improper methods and trial-and-error based techniques should never be used to move machines that weigh hundreds of tons.
Hovair Systems Mfg. Inc provides a wide range of air casters and air bearing systems that can be used to avoid such accidents. Different caster modules can be selected according the weight of the equipment being relocated. Using appropriate air beams and lift decks can also make the process much easier and safer for workers.
You may take a look at our complete product catalog to find more options for heavy equipment relocation that are safe, reliable and best suited to your needs.