Although operator safety is a major concern on construction sites with heavy, moving equipment, defective or compromised equipment is frequently the source of serious injuries. While companies are largely focused on equipment and operator capabilities, safety should be a top concern as well. Safety features that fail or malfunction when equipment is in use can derail projects and leave workers with disfiguring or otherwise life-altering injuries. Following are three common signs of unsafe equipment.
1. Alarms don’t distinguish between non-emergencies and emergencies
Ensuring that all heavy, moving equipment has effective audible alerts is an important part of preventing construction accidents. Dangers that workers cannot often see can be identified by sound instead. However, audible alerts become infinitely less valuable to this end when they’re issued for both emergencies and non-emergencies alike. If equipment alarms sound for both imminent danger and mundane developments such as software updates, team members become increasingly likely to ignore them.
2. Safety features aren’t being routinely tested
It isn’t enough for construction equipment to have cutting-edge safety features. These features must be regularly tested and verified as working. To limit the likelihood of unexpected safety feature failure, functional testing should be performed at routine intervals by actuating safety triggers or by simulating emergency situations when actuation isn’t possible without damaging equipment.
3. Construction equipment with outdated safety features should be retired
Safety features or stop measures that worked several years ago aren’t guaranteed to account for the dangers of today. More importantly, as equipment nears the end of its lifespan, these dated fail-safes may no longer function at all. Although older machines may remain operational, continuing to use them could result in compliance errors and put workers at unnecessary risk of physical harm.
While many construction safety measures are largely focused on operator training and abilities, the functionality of construction equipment and its safety features is also a key concern. Job sites should have equipment with reliable alarm systems, up-to-date safety features that are diligently tested, and equipment management schedules that account for wear-related damages. Without these things, employers are failing to create environments that are conducive to productivity, continuity, and the well-being of their teams.