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How Can I Prevent Excavator Accidents?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Safety is an important consideration in just about any type of construction or excavation site that is using heavy equipment. While many nations have minimum safety standards and procedures that help to reduce the incidence of excavator accidents, there are also a few basic strategies that workers, site supervisors and others can employ that also help to keep the number of excavator accidents as low as possible. These approaches call for making sure everyone working at the site is well-informed about the function and operation of heavy machinery, setting standards for working around the machinery and generally developing a safety code that not only complies with governmental regulations but actually exceeds those standards to some degree.

One of the most effective means of helping to reduce excavator accidents at a job site is to make sure that everyone working around the heavy equipment understands how the different types of excavators work. This includes having some idea of how the equipment moves, the amount of space required for the equipment to make use of a full range of that movement, and why it is important to remain a minimum distance from the excavator while it is in operation. While many construction site managers do focus on training the personnel who will operate the excavators, educating others who will carry out tasks near the machinery in how to conduct themselves in a safe manner will help to minimize the chance for excavator accidents.

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Operators should also receive intensive training on how to operate the excavators, including what to do if the equipment should begin to tip or if an extension should malfunction during use. Preparing operators for handling the unanticipated provides them with a greater ability to successfully initiate certain procedures before abandoning the equipment as well as reducing the chances of some type of sudden movement of the excavator that could result in injury to those nearby. The exact nature of this kind of emergency training will vary based on the type of excavator in use at the site and the range of excavator accidents that could occur as a result of a malfunction.

In many cases, it may be helpful to post placards and secure various areas of the construction site in which excavating equipment will be in use. Temporary fencing along with signs warning workers and visitors to the site to remain a safe distance from the equipment is always a good idea. When these types of deterrents are combined with a comprehensive training program for the equipment operators and a full education for other workers who will be carrying out tasks near the equipment, the potential to prevent excavator accidents is greatly enhanced.

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