The heavy equipment vehicles used in the Bakken oil field are big and powerful machines. These attributes and the fact they often operate in areas filled with workers, mean that construction injuries and fatalities are always a possibility.
Workers in the vicinity of these machines must be alert and aware of the activity around them. Likewise, operators of heavy equipment must maintain a situational awareness of the environment affected by their machines. However, it only takes one violation of safety protocol for a devastating accident to happen. Here are five ways this can come about:
Exceeding Load Limits
Exceeding load limits can cause cranes to collapse, drop their loads, and fall onto surrounding workers. Other equipment used for lifting, such as backhoes, can tip over when attempting to lift excessive loads.
Worker Moving Into Path of Heavy Equipment
Complacency, work pressure, or unthinking impulse may cause a worker to quickly dart across the path or swing radius of heavy equipment. Sometimes they get away with it, but when they don't, the consequences can be fatal. Crush accidents have happened when workers place themselves between the equipment and an immovable barrier such as a wall.
Failure to Check Blind Spots
Large construction equipment can have sizeable blind spots. When moving into a blind spot, the operator should have a spotter assisting him. Spotters should position themselves so that they can see the blind spot area and be visible to the equipment operator.
Failure to Communicate
The operator should clearly communicate his intentions to workers who might be affected by his actions. Likewise, workers should never approach a heavy equipment vehicle without communicating their intention to, and getting approval from the operator. Either use radios or hand signals.
Failure to Wear a Seatbelt
The operators themselves can become the crush victims of their own machines during a tip over. For example, a forklift operator not wearing a seatbelt may fall out and get crushed under their falling machine during a tip over. Sometimes operators exercise bad judgment by unbuckling their seatbelt and attempting to jump clear of the machine, only to have it fall on them.
If you suffered from a construction injury involving heavy equipment vehicles, get legal advice from the experienced lawyers at OdegaardBraukmann Law. Contact us today.