Working with heavy machinery and equipment can create unsafe conditions if you don’t remember to exercise caution. Make sure you review the manufacturer’s recommendations, follow all advice from OSHA and have a solid training plan in place to create a safe and productive work environment in even the most treacherous conditions.
Here are some guidelines to help you stay safe when working with milling tools.
1) Lift equipment the right way.
Lifting improperly or lifting equipment that is too heavy can cause strains and sprains. Try using the mnemonic device “PLCS.” Think “Places” to remember safe lifting procedure.
- Is the equipment too heavy or awkward for one person? Should you use a mechanical lift instead? Can you lift the load-in part to make it more manageable?
- Are you wearing gloves, a hard hat, glasses or any other protective gear you might need to stay safe?
- Check the path you are planning to take. Is it clear of any obstacles?
- Tools can fall out of their containers during lifting so check them and keep an eye out as you lift.
- Always bend at your knees, keep your back straight and use a smooth motion.
- Move your feet to turn (not your upper body) and try to keep the equipment close to your body when moving.
- As with lifting, bend at your knees, keep your back straight and use a smooth motion. Don’t release your grip until the equipment is set down securely.
2) Use the right tools.
Carbide-tipped tools have tough wear-resistant edges that can fracture or cause hard objects to chip if they are hit during installation or removal. Even spring-tensioned clips can become dislodged and cause injury. Use a brass or copper hammer and always wear safety glasses and gloves to reduce risk of injury.
3) Use the equipment correctly.
Before you get going, remember these helpful tips!
- Check for buried utility lines before digging.
- Clearly block off your work area from bystanders.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as eye protection, proper clothing and ear protection. Creating a barrier between the cutting drum or board and employees can help to create a safer environment.
- Inspect your tools before using and at regular intervals throughout the project. If they are loose, dull, bent, cracked, burred or show any other signs of over-wear, replace them promptly.
- Use caution when operating on slopes. The natural vibration of the unit will allow downhill creep. Try to dig with the trencher in a level position.
Remember these tips to stay safe when working with heavy machinery during road maintenance season. And don’t forget your PLCS!
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