Contractor Liability Insurance
Heavy equipment forms one of the largest and most common hazards on any construction site. The potential for accidents and disaster carries heavy contractor liability, especially if staff are not properly trained and qualified in their use. Equipment that moves in such a way as to create potential danger should be locked and tagged to prevent such accidents as amputations, electrocutions, collisions and other potentially fatal events.
Common Causes of Accidents
There are many common causes of accidents from failure to lock and tag. Moving equipment that is not blocked, locked and tagged can roll or shift. Equipment that is not completely powered down before performing maintenance or repair can cause serious accidents. Make sure that not only is the equipment off, but the power source is completely disconnected. This prevents situations such as the equipment being accidentally powered on from carelessness or lack of awareness of other workers in the area.
If the machine is not working properly and is not repaired, powered down or locked and tagged, someone who doesn’t know the problem exists might try to use it, causing serious and potentially fatal consequences.
Education, Training, Maintenance
Safety procedures exist for a reason. Make sure that your staff is well educated on any and all of these potential hazards and follow them to the letter. Any jobs and equipment that require lockout of power sources should be clearly identified and all staff educated as to the lockout process. Proper signage and written procedures should be evident wherever possible and necessary.
All staff should be trained in tagging and locking policies and procedures, and no deviation should be permitted under any circumstances. Administrative and engineering controls should be employed in any possible situation; this will eliminate the need for lockout, as will thorough and regular maintenance on all machinery. Keeping equipment in proper working order will prevent accidents and malfunctions in many situations.
Awareness of Dangers
Your workers need to be constantly aware of their environment and surroundings. Alertness and awareness are the first line of defense against serious accidents and injury that can result in major contractor’s liability issues. If a machine is movable, there should be designated paths and areas in which it moves, and workers should be kept clear of these paths at all times.
If an equipment has a potential issue for injury, electrocution or dismemberment, the only staff that should be in the vicinity of the machine are those who are trained, rated and qualified for its use. Never allow a substitute operator who is not properly qualified to touch a piece of heavy equipment. Finally, always be sure that powered equipment is properly locked and tagged whenever there is the potential for injury. This is particularly true in cases where maintenance is needed or where breakdowns or malfunctions occur.
Remember, contractor liability insurance along with proper and rigid locking and tagging procedures save lives and reduce injuries.