Equipment Upgrades to Make Your Job Site Safe
By Sara Parker
Last year, 1 in 5 worker deaths occurred within the construction industry, according to OSHA. In addition to that startling statistic, some of the top-10 OSHA standards violations were related to issues concerning equipment, personal protection equipment, machinery and electrical systems.
While most everyday job sites are safe places to work, construction professionals must take the necessary precautions to avoid on-the-job employee accidents. Business owners must work to ensure optimal workplace safety by determining whether all equipment is functioning and meets OSHA standards. Here are four areas in which construction companies should keep a watchful eye.
Trucks and Heavy Equipment
Before starting work on your job site, business owners need to make sure all of their equipment is in good, working order — and that includes trucks, tractors, forklifts and other heavy equipment. OSHA requires you to inspect your vehicles at the beginning of each shift and before every use to ensure all parts and accessories are in safe, operating condition. With that in mind, you’ll need to check for cracks and defects on each vehicle’s brakes, headlights, tail lights, horn and windshield.
Don’t forget about your pickup trucks as well. If your employees need to pick up equipment or supplies, it’s your responsibility to ensure your trucks have been upgraded and are safe. One of your best bets is to routinely check all of your vehicles’ tires for signs of dry rot or low tread and replace them when necessary. You also need to stay on top of regular maintenance, including conducting regular oil changes, replacing burnt out lights, and changing fluids.
Old or broken power tools are a safety hazard, as they can cause fires, injuries and other types of workplace accidents. Make sure to regularly check this equipment for broken or frayed cords, missing or cracked safety guards, dirty or rusty pieces, and old brushes and belts.
If you have trouble turning on your power tools, experience weakened power or come across a burning smell, unusual noises or sparks and smoke, it’s time to replace them, explains the experts from Grainger, an industrial supply company.
Not only can holding onto these items make your job more difficult and time consuming, but you also run the risk of employees suffering on-the-job accidents that could easily be avoided. Applying a little DIY know-how when repairing old power tools — or replacing these tools altogether when they need to be upgraded — can help ensure better workplace safety and compliance.
Personal Protective Equipment
All your workers must have the proper personal protection equipment to do their jobs. As a business owner, you’ll need to make sure there are enough hard hats, goggles, gloves, dust masks and ear protection for each of your employees. Make sure to check this equipment for cracks, tears or worn out spots and replace any old equipment as needed.
If your job site requires employees to work at tall buildings or structures, ensure these employees have the proper safety equipment needed to avoid falling or tripping. For example, the Max Patrol self-retracting lifeline, which can hold up to 400 pounds, allows individuals more freedom of movement at great heights without inhibiting their range of motion.
You also need to make sure all your hand tools and other equipment works like it’s brand new. For example, you’ll want to replace any rusted or dull saw blades and purchase new sanding belts and grinding wheels before they’re too smooth. Regularly replace light bulbs — LEDs last much longer than incandescents — and also check your batteries and other accessories for problems.
It’s much easier to replace your old equipment than to risk a workplace accident, so don’t ignore this important practice. After all, your workers are depending on you to keep them safe, so keep your equipment up to date and ready to use.
Sara Parker started her writing and editing career in the world of technology and gaming. She has written numerous articles about the tech world and knows more about the cloud than she ever thought she would. She’s an Android enthusiast and is always looking to learn about the next big thing in tech.