Manufacturers and business people who supply mechanical equipment must ensure that information on any hazards associated with their use is provided.

Health and Safety Legislation has been developed which requires them to make recommendations on their safe use on any type of job site.

Users of mechanical equipment are to ensure that they review this information and use it in their daily work. It should be used to instruct all operators and drivers.

If you are renting out plant machinery check with the hiring company to discuss any safety concerns.

Employers must develop a workplace procedure that restricts the use of their heavy equipment to qualified and trained drivers.

Certificates of Authorization should be issued by employers and used to determine which operators and drivers are allowed to operate heavy equipment.

If machines are to be operated on public highways, drivers and operators must have the driving license that is required for that type of vehicle.

For example, they must have group H if they are using road rollers or group G if they are to drive a track-laying vehicle.

Mechanical vehicles are not usually designed to carry passengers, and unless alterations have been made, no passengers should be allowed.

Unattended vehicles should always be parked in areas where the ground is firm and level. If a load or attachment is present, it should be lowered as close to the ground as possible to increase stability.

On-Site Risks

There are various health and safety risks which drivers may face while they are working on a site. They should always be on the lookout for these.

Cables which are placed underground or overhead may present a risk of exposure to electricity. While working on a slope or even level ground, a driver may be at risk of falling from a height.

Proximity to flammable material is always dangerous. The vehicle may overturn while climbing a working platform and flying particles may injure the eyes, so appropriate protection should always be worn.

Materials such as asbestos may cause cancer so extreme caution should be used while removing such materials. Mould, bacteria, and fungi also pose a risk in damp or enclosed areas.

A tidy work area is less likely to cause slips and falls. Some drivers may experience allergic contact dermatitis when they come in contact with certain substances. If they are struck by an object that falls from a great height, they may suffer a concussion or even lose a limb. Doing the same tasks daily may lead to strain injuries.

Risky Tasks

Working in the construction industry is rewarding but it involves working in several risky situations. You could be preparing building sites, preparing shallow trenches or foundations, loading trucks or stockpiling materials for a building.

There is also considerable risk involved in tasks such as lifting steel, placing pallets or roof trusses, and demolishing buildings.

Transporting, compacting and lifting materials may be required daily, while your heavy machine may also be used to screen or crush materials.

Drivers and operators provide a valuable service to the construction sector.

To protect themselves and others while they are at work, they must ensure that they are properly trained and familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety standards that apply to each type of equipment they operate.

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