11 Safety Measures When Working With Lifting Equipment

Lifting machines are used in construction, mining sites, warehouses, and several other areas. Therefore, proper handling of the equipment is vital because incorrect use could result in accidents that can cause severe injuries or fatalities. 

If you own a warehouse, construction, mining, or engineering business, you could prevent or reduce the risk of lifting equipment-related accidents in your company. The first thing to do is buy your machines from a reputable, reliable, well-experienced manufacturer or supplier. 

To locate the best dealer, pick at least three and do an in-depth evaluation of each. Allow yourself plenty of time for this. If you’re unsure about a company, do some research on their site, call them, or ask other people in your industry about them. These steps could help you know more about the company’s products. After you’re done with one company, evaluate the others. 

If you work with lifting equipment, you should take several precautions to ensure safety. The measures can aid in the prevention or reduction of accidents. Here are some examples:

  1. Inspect Equipment Before Use

An evaluation is required before operating lifting equipment. This way, you’ll know if a machine is set up or working properly before using it. You can also identify and address potential risks before they cause accidents. 

The first thing to do is to check if the Certificate of Thorough Examination has been recently updated. If it’s up to date, the lifting equipment has been evaluated per the manufacturer’s directions. The assessment is done to ensure that the machine has no mechanical problems. 

After that, you must inspect the equipment you’d like to use. In most cases, lifting machines come with an operating and maintenance handbook that includes a list of the necessary inspections. Use this to conduct assessments. You could also create your pre-operation checklist with additional instructions for more safety.

  1. Avoid Standing Under Loads

Some lifting equipment operators may be found standing beneath a suspended load. This should not be the case, regardless of whether the item being moved is adequately secured to a machine. Standing beneath what you’re lifting is dangerous and should be avoided. The load could fall on you, causing soft tissue injuries or skull or body lacerations. 

A severe accident could leave you disabled or render you unable to work. In such a case, you may need a personal injury attorney to help determine if you can be compensated, even though you might have been partly at fault.

In general, you should always keep a safe space between yourself and any load you attempt to lift. If it topples, the machine breaks down, you make a mistake, or there is some other problem, you will be protected in this manner and will not be harmed. Also, protect other workers by preventing anyone from standing or walking beneath a load. Loading zones might be marked as hazardous or protected with physical barriers. Alternately, communicate in advance any lifts that may occur throughout the day.

  1. Don’t Overload Your Machine 

Another vital safety measure when operating a lifting machine is to avoid overloading. You must ensure that the weight of what you’re carrying fits your equipment. Usually, most lifting machines have a working load limit (WLL) indicated by the manufacturer in the manual. This is the maximum safe force that the device can exert to lower, lift, or suspend a particular mass without breaking. Therefore, if the equipment you’re operating has a WLL of 50 metric tons, a 60 metric ton load may cause a disaster. 

When lifting anything, regardless of its weight, you should also check that your machine can handle its shape. Additionally, check that the equipment is stable and robust before moving what you’re carrying. Besides that, ensure that the load is safe to transport. Moreover, if there are loose parts, secure them first to avoid accidents. 

  1. Avoid Adjusting Loads Manually

It’s also best to avoid adjusting loads manually to reduce the risk of injuries. Usually, an excellent machine has adequate operational controls. Use these to perform your tasks faster and to make your work more manageable. 

Remember that if you need to adjust a load, use the controls available. An excellent machine will naturally lift and position items and adapt to any form of movement. 

  1. Ensure Regular Maintenance And Inspection

Ensuring that lifting machines are regularly inspected and maintained is also an essential safety measure. It may be advisable to conduct these tasks every year. However, ensure it is performed more often if you use your device to move people. Notably, a certified professional may be more suited for the job.

Furthermore, regular inspection and maintenance can help spot and rectify minor issues before they escalate. This way, the risk of accidents is reduced due to malfunctioning parts; thus, your lifting machine will work reliably and efficiently. Additionally, the practice could also help prolong the life of your equipment. 

  1. Wear The Necessary PPEs

It will also help if you wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when working with lifting machines. These can be full-body suits, gloves, hard hats, safety boots, and other forms of protective gear. The kind of PPEs you’ll need depends on the nature of your tasks. 

PPEs promote a safer working environment. They could protect you from falling, sharp objects, cuts, and other injuries. In case of an accident, PPEs, like hard hats and safety boots, could reduce the severity of injuries. Do note that when buying PPEs, only choose those that comply with the current regulations.

  1. Don’t Work On A Truck Bed 

Lifting equipment operators aren’t uncommon to be seen hopping in and out of the back of a vehicle to adjust the location of the cargo. This is a bad idea, and you should stay away from it. Instead of working from a height and risking an injury, you can use hydraulic lifts to complete this activity. Alternatively, you can utilize the controls on your machine.

  1. Label Equipment And Accessories

Labeling lifting accessories and equipment can also help enhance safety at the work site. Ensure you mark everything adequately and provide information for safe usage. This way, fellow employees can utilize the accessories and machines properly, taking the necessary precautions to avoid injuries. 

  1. Limit Access To Hazardous Parts 

You can improve safety by restricting access to dangerous lifting machine parts. Fixed guards can help enclose hazardous sections. However, make sure you utilize high-quality materials for all of your projects and make use of holders or jigs. If you need a device that’s unavailable on the market, find a manufacturer to create it for you. Your employer might cover this expense. 

  1. Attend Scheduled Trainings

In most cases, businesses provide employees with training regarding machinery operation. This increases productivity while reducing downtime. Most importantly, they offer these training sessions to reduce the likelihood of accidents and to promote a safe working environment. 

Ensure that you attend any training offered by your employer. You’ll learn how to operate your lifting equipment for increased efficiency and productivity properly. You’ll also learn about some things that can cause accidents and how to reduce the risk of hazards. Remember that when operating lifting machines, you must ensure that you keep yourself and other workers safe.

Consequently, training should be a never-ending process. When your company introduces new machines, it should provide current training. Also, if you and other machine operators need to brush up on your knowledge of the devices you use, the company should accommodate you. 

If it has been some time since the last training, it may be advisable to request it from the appropriate authority. It may be your manager or the director of human resources. If the company has introduced new lifting machines and you have yet to learn how to use them, you must also speak with the right department.

  1. Ensure Constant Communication With Others Onsite

When working with lifting machines, it is also critical to maintain constant on-site communication with other workers. You can use hand gestures or a spotter to alert other employees to move away from danger zones. Furthermore, two-way communication radios could be helpful. Make sure that whatever method of communication you use is effective. Also, ensure that what you’re saying is clear and understandable to everyone.

Conclusion

Lifting equipment safety is essential because loads can fall, an operator could make mistakes, and machine parts may malfunction. All these can lead to accidents that may be severe or fatal. If you’re an employer, enhance workplace safety by buying lifting machines from reputable, well-experienced, and reliable dealers. On the other hand, if you’re an equipment operator, you should take the necessary safety precautions when working with lifting devices. Some essential measures to consider have been provided in this article. 

As advised, you should inspect your machine before use, avoid standing under what you’re moving, and don’t overload your lifting equipment. Also, avoid adjusting loads manually, ensure regular maintenance and inspection, wear the necessary PPEs, don’t work on a truck bed, and label equipment and accessories. Besides that, you should attend or push for regular training, ensure constant communication with other people on-site, and limit access to hazardous machine parts. 

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