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Heavy Equipment Safety Starts With A Daily Check List

Heavy equipment safety has become an important issue in the workplace. Operators who have been in the industry for decades still do a walk around to inspect their equipment before starting a day’s work. The operator who just jumps in without doing a check could be putting the machine, themselves and their work colleagues at risk.

A lot of operators have a check list they go through (generally a mental list) and it goes something like this. Check:

  • tires for wear, cracks and correct inflation, or,
  • tracks for any damage and for rocks caught in the mechanism, and
  • fluid levels such as water, fuel, engine oil, hydraulic oil, transmission oil,
  • windows for cracks and cleanliness,
  • blades, buckets or scoops for cracks, broken teeth and correct linkages,
  • inside cab for damage, cleanliness and the fire extinguisher.

If everything passes the walk around inspection, the operator then climbs into the cab and starts the engine. That is not the finish of the inspection. Once the machine has warmed up there is generally another walk around this time using their ears as well as their eyes. They are checking for:

  • air leaks in the system,
  • oil or water leaks,
  • exhaust problems, and back in the cab,
  • gauges for correct pressures.

It may sound time consuming yet to an experienced operator, the whole inspection is over within ten minutes. Failing to perform the inspection could result in the equipment being out of service for a substantially longer period than just ten minutes. That ten minutes is really an investment in protection – we just call it a heavy equipment safety and maintenance check.

A quality heavy equipment training program will take you through the steps needed to perform a daily heavy equipment safety and maintenance check. Some things require checking all the time. There are other components that you may only need to check daily or every couple of days. Get the right training and you will know what to do and when to do it – more importantly, you will know what you are actually doing, and why!

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