There are many industries that utilise, manufacture, or transport heavy equipment. Prime candidates include construction and the farming industry.
These bulky objects of immense weight can be challenging to move and store, and also pose a potential health and safety risk. This guide explains how to properly manage your heavy equipment and why this is so important for your business.
Why is it important to manage heavy equipment?
In the UK, employers have a legal duty to minimise risks in the workplace to help safeguard the health of their employees. As a major risk, the maintenance of heavy equipment and training on how to handle it is an important part of this obligation.
If heavy equipment is mis-managed, it could lead to injuries or even fatal accidents. It could also incur damage to the workplace and other objects or the equipment itself which could be expensive and time-consuming to repair.
How to manage heavy equipment
Keeping heavy equipment well-secured when not in use is a vital aspect of ensuring safety. Using straps and eye bolts like these here will keep the equipment locked in place, whether in storage or while being transported.
Doing frequent maintenance checks is also essential to safeguarding against accidents. Create a rota to ensure that the equipment is carefully vetted on a regular basis with a logbook for comments and concerns.
Putting together a thorough training programme is also extremely important to the correct management of heavy equipment.
How to train and protect your workers
First and foremost, you need to create a detailed induction course for all new employees. This ensures that all workers have equal and comprehensive training on how to use all pieces of equipment. Don’t forget to demonstrate how it should be stored, too.
Regular refresher sessions are a good idea, especially for any rarely used tools or equipment which requires specialist knowledge.
You must also provide your workers with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and update this regularly. Typical PPE needed for handling heavy equipment includes sturdy boots, safety glasses and ear plugs, a hard hat and hi-visibility vest.
A guide to conducting risk assessments
To properly educate your workers on health & safety when handling the equipment, you must first understand the risks.
Conduct a thorough assessment of each piece of equipment and the workspace as a whole, identifying any possible hazards. This might include places where employees could slip, trip, or fall, and the potential for physical damage caused by using the equipment.
You should also consider the long-term physical and/or mental effects of working with the equipment.
Once the risks have been identified, communicate this to your workforce. Combine training sessions with ‘how to’ guides, and make sure all hazards are clearly flagged with appropriate signage.