Tag Archives: Safety

Heavy Equipment Articles

Shortage of Workers a Problem for Construction Company

For the success of a business, there are a number of factors that need to be taken care of. These factors include loyal and happy employees, good suppliers as well as skilled workers. There are some industries or businesses that are exceptionally dependent on manual labour or workers and one such industry is the construction industry.

If you run a construction business or company, it is a must that you are always equipped with all the necessary construction equipment that can make the work faster and easier, as well as adequate workers. Though construction industry is one of those that have experienced amazing hike over the past few years, due to the constantly growing need for new constructions, worker shortage is also a problem that they have to face.

Causes of labour or worker shortage in construction companies:

There is always a need for skilled workers in every industry. Workers or labour is available in abundance, but skilled ones are really minimal in number. Hence, there is always a shortage of these skilled workers in every industry. However, before you come up with a solution for these, it is a must that you know about the causes behind the worker shortage problem in a construction business.

  • Lack of safety and security:

 

In most cases, the inhibition against the blue-collared works is the lack of safety and security from these construction projects. Young labours fear from joining these construction companies due to the fear of meeting with accidents that are caused by a lack of safety measures.

  • Financial insecurity:

 

Often, the workers consider the college education and a good job prospect as their only way to financial security. Therefore, they do not want to join the construction industries.

  • Cultural inhibitions:

 

Doing construction jobs is still considered by many as “dirty work”. Hence, they are more drawn towards joining a full-time educational course with a huge debt and then end up searching for jobs that would help them in repaying the huge debt.

These are the most common causes behind the worker shortage problem in construction companies.

How to solve the problem?

If you have a construction company and if you too are met with this problem of worker shortage, it is a must that you take care of the problem at once. Otherwise, the performance and functionality of the business will be affected a great deal.

To manage the worker shortage problems, most of the company owners make the mistake of filling the shortage with unskilled labours. However, this only wastes more time in training them, completing the administrative work, giving them high wages without receiving the desired skill and also in providing the drug tests, safety training etc. Hence, increasing the productivity of your existing workers is always a great idea.

The amount of money that you save from this can be invested on uplifting the standard of the existing labours or workers. In case of a construction business, there is the additional facility of depending more on the construction equipment or heavy duty machineries that will save you time and money, as well as increase productivity. This will reduce the necessity or dependence on manual labour to a great extent.

Protect workers engaged in excavation and trenching works

The Occupational Safety and health Administration and laid down some stringent laws that protects the rights of the laborers engaged in perilous job activities. Now it becomes the onus of the construction companies to follow those laws or else the license to continue business will get scrapped. Just one complaint from anybody and if the authorities find that the laws were not followed it can pose a lot of problem to the construction company. This is why it is a must to all the construction companies that they take uttermost care in ensuring that the workers working in perilous conditions are provided with enough protection so that if there happens to be an untoward incident the number of casualty is limited. Dangers are immense for construction workers that are engaged in excavation and trenching works. Though both excavation and trenching are different from each other but they both carry enough risk that may cause huge casualty and therefore enough care needs to be taken to protect the life of the workers.

Before any excavation or trenching work begins, the construction company should do a thorough study of the soil. It will help them understand the kind of risk one has to undergo and also the kind of precautionary steps the company needs to take to ensure the lives of all the workers are protected. No soil from two different places is similar to each other and therefore when the excavation process begins the soil may act differently. Trenching work is more difficult than excavation work and time and again it has been observed how important it is to understand the soil composition first and then start with the trenching work. Pre-planning of excavation or trenching work is also equally important. There are many things that one needs to take into consideration and plan everything in advance to the initiation of the project. Companies who are experienced in excavation works do not take pre-planning lightly and understand its importance towards the success of the project.

For companies that are new into excavation work, they need to be little careful with what they do. First and foremost they need to prepare a checklist of the things that they require and the things that they need to check prior to starting the work. Things such as the weather of the place, the traffic around the place, soil classification, the surface and the ground water, overhead and underground utilities etc. needs to be checked. These things should be known to the company before it places bids on the project. Once that is done it also needs to check the number of ladders it may require, the fall protection needs, safety equipment needs etc. They can gather much of this information from the local authority officials and other utility companies. This will help him to figure out an approximate cost to the project and also the cost of the safety equipment he need to garner to ensure the project is completed safely and without any harm to any of its employees.

Heavy Equipment Guys

Heavy Equipment #1 accidents

We believe that accidents happen due to our negligence. That is certainly one of the reasons why accidents do occur but there are certainly other factors that contribute for such an incident. We can even contribute absent mindedness to be one of the reasons or for that matter lack of anticipation can even lead to accidents. So there is no one particular reason why accidents occur; which is why people find it extremely difficult to tackle the problem. There can numerous reasons why an accident can happen and therefore it is almost impossible to contain such an event. Not all accidents can be attributed to human error. Some just happen. Even after being cautious and alert one can meet an accident. So there is no fool proof formula to save a person from meeting up with an accident. However, by taking precautionary measures one can certainly avert an incident or can lessen the amount of casualty.

People can meet up with an accident while they are at work and there are some professions that are termed to be risky. This means that people who are into that profession can meet up with a possible incident at any point in time. Construction industry is one such sector where the incidences of accidents have increased over the years. In spite of taking utter care on the construction site some people accidentally injure themselves and at times it even leads to loss of life. One of the most crucial things that one needs to understand while they are at the jobsite is that they will just not indulge in anything else other than their work. This means that they can’t use their cell phones (It has been considered a prime reason for accidents on the jobsite) while they are at work. In case they need to attend some urgent calls, they can provide a Landline number located inside the jobsite but using a cell phone should be strictly restricted.

A lot of accidents happen when the operator fails to understand the signal or some incorrect signal has been given. The operator needs to be very sure of what he is doing. He just can’t take a wrong step because if he does that it can turn out to be extremely fatal. The #1 accident that happens in heavy equipment is perhaps from an excavator. Excavators have to work on soft land and if a detailed study of the land is not done then there is every chance of an accident to occur.

Moreover when the excavator is moving to and fro if someone comes in mid of the way and the operator loses sight of the person then that can even claim the life of the person. At the same time, one must stay away from the arm of the excavator while it is operating on the jobsite. You never know which way it will move and it is not possible for the operator to always make sure that no one enters the zone where the machine is working. Therefore, it becomes the onus of the people to understand that they should not be around the machine while it is active.

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Heavy Equipment Guys

Safety of construction workers

Accidents have become so prone in construction zones that it seems to be almost impossible to contain it. But the fact of the matter is we can contain many accidents from happening by following few safety parameters. This means that there is a severe lack of awareness amongst the construction workers when it comes to their own safety. Moreover, the effort put by the construction companies to educate the workers about the importance of wearing safety gears is negligible making things worse for the workers. The laws of US are strict enough to curb this problem but the real issue lies with the implementation at the ground level.

Other than this, due to the kind of risk involved it turns out to be a dangerous zone for the people working in it. The workers got to be careful when they are working at heights and while on the land they needs to have an eye on the heavy equipment that wanders all around the place. Though the operator stays vigilant to avoid any eventuality but still accidents happen and therefore it is the responsibility of everybody on the site to see that people around them are safe.

The construction workers also need to follow few safety parameters which will relatively bring down the incidents of accidents to a larger extent.

Wearing of safety gears:-

Safety gears starts right from wearing a belt to putting on a jacket. It largely depends on the type of work you will be doing and the site you are put into. Wearing helmets is quite common but many do not put the strap. This will let the helmet fall every now and then so it is better that the workers should tighten the helmet by putting on the strap. When they are working on heights like cleaning the glass window of a high story building, they should wear the safety belts so that in case if they lose their balance they do not hit the ground.

Check your tools before you begin to work:-

Workers are required to use a lot of tools. Right from Scaffolds to a hammer, they got to do with everything and therefore they need to ensure that all the tools that they will be working with are in perfect order. In case if they see anything to be shaky or not in order, they should immediately reach out to the officer in charge and report it to him. Resume working only if they are offered satisfactory equipment. Most of the times, there seem to be some issue with the ladder and the workers simply underestimate the issue and get on it. They are simply putting themselves at risk.

Know where the first aid box is:-

Most of the construction workers are not even aware if there is a first aid box available in the jobsite. They get to know about it only after the accident. Well, every worker should know about the location of the first aid box and how to use it. It can save their life and also the lives of their co-workers.

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Care for the safety of heavy equipment

We often consider safety as one of the most important factor irrespective of the nature of job that we are into. We do differentiate between jobs that are more risky and less risky but then at the same time we also take the riskiness seriously so that we do not harm ourselves. Similarly, we should also understand that the equipment that we use in our daily work also get exposed to certain risks and it is our duty to ensure that the equipment are safe and sound. Safety of equipment become more crucial when they are related to an important work assignment without which you will not be able to proceed with your work or when the equipment are too expensive that you can’t afford to go lousy on them. You have to take the extra care to ensure the safety of your expensive equipment.

When we talk about expensive equipment we certainly can’t miss talking about heavy equipment that plays such a crucial role in the construction sector. Heavy equipment are highly expensive machineries which cost thousands of dollars and at times it even goes in millions. Not many in the construction sector are ready to pay thousands and not take proper care of it. Therefore it becomes so important for the user to ensure that the machines are safe at all times and in order to maintain the required level of safety, the person in charge has to follow few safety parameters. These safety parameters need to be followed at all times.

Cleaning the heavy equipment:-

A construction jobsite is full of dirt and filth and heavy equipment are expected to work in this dirt. Other than that, at times the machines also have to work in treacherous conditions which make it more vulnerable to dirt. The dirt gets accumulated in the interiors of the machine and it gradually weakens the machine from the inside. The best way out is to clean the heavy equipment on timely basis. One can’t clean it every day but they should fix a couple of days in a week where they will spend good amount of time to clean the equipment. Now you can do this job yourself or take it to a workshop where the guy will spray water and get it cleaned. Doing it yourself will be appropriate than giving it to someone else.

Keep the equipment properly greased:-

Once you are done washing the machine, you also need to check if the machine is properly lubricated or has the grease being washed away with water. Grease does not ideally get washed away so easily but you got to maintain your checks and apply lubricants wherever you find it to be necessary.

Clean your engine by regularly changing the engine oil:-

The engine is considered to be the most vital organ of construction equipment. It is the engine that keeps your machine moving and therefore should be given due importance. Changing the engine oil at regular intervals is quite crucial as it keeps the overall health of the machine in order.

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Risks of not following safety instructions

Till date, there have been a number of incidents where a sudden unexpected explosion or a fire takes place in a chemical factory, and leads to numerous deaths and heavy financial loss. Also on daily basis the machine operators meet with either minor or major accidents (where the worker loses his hand or even his life). This reason why such unfortunate incidents occur is due to failure to follow safety instructions at the work place. There are dangers associated while performing certain tasks. If appropriate care is not taken while performing these tasks, they turn out to be risky for life. Hence, care needs to be taken by following safety instructions. Safety instructions make a user/worker aware of risks in their work and guide them how to avoid injury while performing those tasks. Failure to follow the necessary instructions can cause serious injuries or even lead to death.

Manufacturing, construction, mining, production and warehousing represent a few examples of industries where a number of daily tasks are full of risks. For example, welding work generates fire of high temperature, drilling requires use of heavy equipments, use of heavy machinery to lift, load and unload and destruct things on construction site, working at heights and so forth. There is risk associated with most of the tasks, hence the worker needs to follow the safety instructions and use safeguards such as the use of safety glasses along with a protective shield, footwear, protective suit while entering the boiler cabin and hearing protection. Chemical industries use different types of chemicals. Some chemicals are marked with ‘X’ on them, indicating that they are poisonous and hazardous and safety instructions are written below them. The user is required to follow them while using these chemicals. Some chemicals are to be opened only in a chemical hood. Similarly every chemical has a specific storage condition. Failure to follow the safety instructions leads to permanent damage both to the user and others too.

Therefore, it is necessary that safety instructions should be documented at work place for risky procedures and implement training for hazardous tasks. While making these safety instructions they need to be reviewed by experienced workers. Proper implementation of safe procedures involves training and supervision. The workers should not just read it but also follow it. To ensure the same supervisors or managers will need to constantly instruct and monitor the workers. If the worker does not follow the safety instructions then he needs to be counselled and trained again. If the risk associated with a procedure can be minimized then it should be implemented. For example, if instead of manual drilling work, if mechanical lifting device can perform the same with safety, then it should be used. Similarly if less hazardous solvent serves the same purpose as the hazardous, then it should be purchased. Further the work procedures need to be reviewed periodically and modified.

Thus, safety instructions when followed, allow to perform the risky work with care and minimize accidents and lead to a safe work environment.

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Mistakes a construction company should avoid doing

Humans are bound to do mistakes in their lives and so do they also learn from it. Mistakes can happen in any industry and in any profession but there are some mistakes that can be avoided and one will never want them to happen. Mistakes are certainly not pardonable in professions where you just can’t afford to make mistakes. Doctors for that matter are bound to make no mistakes. Similarly, we expect the same from a pilot. But there are others industries where a mistake made, may not be life threatening but can definitely lead to severe loses and one can only try to avoid them. Construction industry is one such industry where you commit a major error and you got to be ready to pay a big price for it. There are few grave mistakes that one should avoid making especially when he is part of the construction segment.

Safety of employees should never be compromised:-

You can’t take human lives for granted come what may. People who are working for you are your men and it becomes your moral responsibility to safeguard their interests and their lives. Therefore, you should provide them with all the equipment and trainings that will keep them safe and sound. By no means should the safety of the employees be compromised. This can pose a big threat to the future prospects of the company and if reported to the concerned authority, you may even have to pay the price by leaving the project or by paying a hefty penalty. Also when you know that a job needs the attention of expert workers, you should know deploy men who are not trained for that job. They may end up injuring themselves.

Title should be clean:-

When you take a new project, you should ensure that the title on the property is clean and it does not have any disputes. These things should be done before you take up the work. In case you are a contractor then knowing about the title will help you to determine where you are heading. You should always keep your hands off from any disputed projects as that will lead you to complications. Check with the title company if there is any dispute on the property and if the title owners are the ones you have been informed holds the property. Projects are held up for years due to non-clearance of title and have become a matter of huge concern.

Never miss out on your finances­:-

The financial part of the company plays an important role in determining where the company is heading. Construction companies are known for not able to keep a tab on their finances. Money is needed to buy raw materials, heavy equipment, paying salaries to employees and taking care of other operating expenses but it all should be recorded or else you will not have any clue where your money went and what you can do to prevent unwanted expenses. Keeping a log of all your transactions is the need of the hour for every construction company and it may turn out to be a big mistake if not managed at the right time.

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OSHA Construction Safety Essentials Quick-Card


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Crane Hand Signals on the Jobsite

It is not that the operator does all to operate heavy equipment. At times, it is also the guy who gives signals to the operator and asks him to do what he wants him to do. Especially when the operator is working on a crane, he is more dependent on signals coming from the man he can see. He has to work precisely on those signals and can’t afford to do things on his own. Therefore it is necessary that there is a good understanding level between the operator and the man who gives signals to him.

They should be in sync with each other and the operator should not have any problem in comprehending the signals he is getting from the man in front of him. He needs signals because it is not possible for him to judge things properly and for which he needs a helping hand. Now the helping hand need not be in the form of somebody working along with him inside the cabin. He requires someone who is outside the cab and guides him all along to do a particular job which he can’t do sitting alone inside the cabin.

Now when an operator does requires a man to give him signals. He requires him the most when he needs to either load or unload a heavy thing and his view is obstructed by an object. This means that he can’t see his intended path and therefore needs someone who can guide him there. The most common and preferred form of signal used is the hand signal. The operator in this case does not want to rely on any gadget and want a person to guide him. He may not be as comfortable with a gadget and if he is not comfy with something he can’t complete a critical thing with accuracy. Moreover, as mentioned earlier there needs to be a good understanding between the signaler and the receiver. If by any chance the co-ordination between them goes wrong, it may have serious repercussions.

At a point in time, there should be only one signaler. There should not be multiple people giving signals to the operator. He may get confused if there are multiple signals given to him and end up in a disaster. Also not any person should be given the work to give signals to the operator. Only a person who is qualified and knows which signal means what should be assigned this job. Different gestures have different meanings and the signaler should be aware of every signs. Also the operator should have thorough knowledge about signals so that he can comprehend it well and act accordingly.

If there is a change of signaler that should be informed to the operator and the signaler should also wear the badge which indicates that he is now authorized to give signals. Ideally, it is recommended to have one signaler for one operator. The operator should take one signal from no matter who gives it and it is the STOP signal. If the signals are followed religiously, then the chances of accidents happening will be drastically reduced.

Safety: Working around heavy equipment

Just like the owner of the construction company cares a lot about this heavy equipment, in the same way he also needs to care about the people who are working all day around the those machines. The operators are the ones who remain very close to the equipment. However, there are also other people like the construction laborers, engineers, site officers, and supervisors, who also remain in close contact with these machines. Though they not have any direct relationship with the machines but they all remain around the heavy equipment for most of the time during their working hours. Hence it is very crucial to ensure the safety of these men. Accidents of any sort should be avoided and there should not be any chance for anybody to not follow the safety parameters. The safety rules are meant for everybody who is inside the construction site and particularly close to heavy equipment and it also becomes the responsibility of the individuals who goes close to the machines to follow the safety rules religiously.

We will be discussing few very basic safety parameters one must be doing to keep himself safe while he is around heavy equipment.

Operators should always wear gloves and strong boots:-

Since operators are the one who always remain in close contact with heavy equipment, they must always ensure that they wear their safety gears at all times whenever they are in close distance with the machine. They must always wear gloves and strong boots that are not too heavy. Wearing gloves will protect them from any outer substance that has gone very hot and by coming in close contact with that substance they might injure their hands. Strong boots ensure that their feet are protected with any sharp element that may be present inside the cabin of the machine or anywhere on the site. They are the ones who are more prone to hazards and hence they should keep their safety gears on while working on the site.

Various safety sessions should be given:-

There are high chances that people especially laborers working on the construction site may not be aware of the importance of wearing safety gears when they are around heavy equipment. This is why they should be given different types safety lessons at regular intervals. The sole purpose of giving such trainings is to ensure that they do not injure themselves while at work causing problems to the project as a whole. Advanced safety training lessons should be given to the operators educating them to tackle situations. Also teaching them what to do in case there is a medical emergency on the site will help them to save a life of their colleagues. These types of sessions are very important as the availability of doctors can’t be always immediate. They would be the ones who will do the first aid and easing things for the doctor.

The construction company should make every attempt to ensure that the employees are following the safety parameters. This will all lead to a healthy working atmosphere in the construction site.

 

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Safety awareness is instrumental across all levels of employees

Construction laborers are not only engaged in one of the most arduous tasks but also one of the most risky works and their safety should be at top priority to the construction company. They can’t play around with their lives thinking to save some money by not providing them with the safety accessories. Construction companies in US are kept a keen watch by the body who is concerned about the safety of the workers. If these companies flout the law they will be penalized heavily and legal process will also be followed against the company. Companies ideally would not want to go through all this and therefore ensure that they provide their employees with all the necessary safety stuffs and minimize any untoward incidents at the workplace. Now other than providing basic safety infrastructure there is one more thing that is perhaps more important. It is to let the employees know the importance of the safety infrastructure and why they have to wear them all the time they are inside the jobsite.

All employees should understand the importance of safety:-

Before explaining the employees about the safety infrastructure you have for them, it is imperative that you explain them the need to use those accessories. They might be accustomed to a particular way of working and if you introduce something new to them, it may take time for them to acquaint with it. Some may not even want to use it as they may take that as a hindrance to their job. For instance, if you ask your operator to wear some special boots which is a bit heavy but will keep his feet safe he may initially not like to do so unless he is informed how the boots will protect his feet. This awareness needs to be imparted to different section of employees. They need to be informed why they have to wear the safety gears and gadgets. Some may already know about it but there may be few who may not. A collective training in this regard will be very helpful not only from the point of view of the employee but also from the perspective of the construction company.

Wearing of safety gears should be made mandatory:-

Nobody wants things to be shoved down their throat but there are few things which should be mandatory for the betterment of the employees. Wearing safety gears is one of them. The company should appoint few men who are working in supervisory roles to monitor if people doing perilous tasks are following all the safety parameters. If not they can instruct them to wear the gears first and then perform the task. Employees may feel a bit of inconvenience first but it is essential for his safety.

Safety training should be conducted once in three months:-

Safety trainings should be conducted once in three months and all the employees of the construction company right across all the levels should be part of this training. It helps in learning something new every time you attend one and also gets updated of new safety measures that the company is taking for its employees.