Safety. Alert. 08/93. Committed to. Safety. Manoeuvring Heavy Equipment in Close Quarters Background
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Two recent fatal accidents highlight the need for improving the safety awareness of personnel working in the vicinity of heavy equipment such as plant and large trucks. Our accident statistics indicate that approximately 50% of reported vehicle accidents involve reversing of the vehicle into fixed objects. Activities such as Seismic, pipeline construction and earth moving involve close interaction between vehicles and people and therefore have an increased risk of injurious accidents.
To prevent an accident during close quarter operations, it is strongly recommended that:
A signal man (sometimes called a banksman) be appointed to coordinate the efforts of workers and plant operators;
The signal man must maintain direct eye contact with the plant or vehicle operator when close manoeuvring;
Reversing should only be done as a last resort;
If there is no supervisor or signal man on site, the driver should dismount and ask for assistance;
Passengers should dismount and assist the driver whenever possible;
Workers should remain alert to moving vehicles or plant.
Simple tasks such as working near heavy equipment have hazards that often go unrecognised. Visual communication with the driver/operator is strongly recommended. Furthermore, supervisors can improve the safety of close quarter vehicle operations by taking control and supporting the driver/operator where possible.
Remember, supervisors have a key function in identifying hazards before the job begins.