Mistakes or incidents can occur if machinery is not used correctly or by trained operators.
Training and supervision
Make sure your team has the right information, training, and instructions required for the task. Having the right people involved means workers will have the skills and experience needed to complete the job safely and the task hazards will be easily identified.
Workers should be adequately trained to operate machinery. To test this knowledge, workers should be monitored and assessed regularly against operating procedures.
Always check your equipment is fit for use at the beginning of each day.
A trained and competent machinery operator should be conducting a pre-start check before use. This gives you the certainty that your equipment is good to go for the day and won’t cause you any unexpected problems or delays. Things to check are:
Visual checks before turning the equipment on:
- Fluid and oil levels are sufficient and no leaks
- The battery is clean and charged
- Safety mechanisms are in place, working, and not damaged
- Warning signage is in place and readable
- Attachments, clips, and pins are in working order and without damage
- Hydraulics are undamaged and lubricated
Stationary function test while equipment is on:
- Horn and reversing alarm sound
- Control panel, lights and pedals are all fully operational
- Bucket and arms fully extend and tilt as required
Moving function test:
- Steering is in good order
- Brakes function
We recommend using your manufacturer’s pre-operational check sheet and keeping these records with your equipment. Use of the HazardCo Heavy Machinery Prestart checklist will help you cover these specific checks.
Quick hitches, safety locks and exclusion zones
Quick hitches allow you to quickly and easily change buckets or attachments on your machinery. When using quick hitches and attachments you should always check the following:
- Is the attachment the right size and is it in working order
- Has the attachment been fitted correctly
- Is the safety locking pin in place and secured
- Has an exclusion zone been set up
Failing to check these could mean your bucket becomes detached or someone could get hit.
All quick hitches should clearly display the following information:
- the model and serial number
- the manufacturer’s name
- the weight and maximum rated capacity
- each lifting point’s capacity.
Safety locking pins need to meet the quick hitch manufacturer’s specifications and should be kept with the machinery or quick hitch device when not in use. Ensure that attachments are fitted with the correct pin centres and diameters.
Exclusion zones should be clearly marked out and all those working nearby should be informed. The hazards, risks and controls for machinery on-site should be covered in your job safety plan and shared with all on-site.