From the Field: Mobile Equipment Safety

Jun 03, 2015

In the busy scrap recycling industry we see forklifts, skidsteers, trucks, railcars, and even customer vehicles moving through our facilities every day. The veterans in our industry know that this “organized chaos” is just another part of daily business in the scrap yard. But to the new truck driver, the temporary employee, the new buyer, or anyone else who finds themselves in the busy world of scrap we have an obligation to make sure that they understand where the hazards and blind spots are. Blind spots in a scrap recycling facility can be caused by stacks or piles of material, stationary equipment, or mobile equipment. To the mobile equipment operator these blind spots are something they understand and deal with every day. Most mobile equipment operators know and understand the blind spots on their equipment. But those operators who I have met in my travels all tell me that on a weekly and sometimes daily basis they will have someone or some vehicle approach or pass by their equipment on the blind side. This dangerous action can lead to serious injury if the hazard is not fully understood and respected by all.

Using the mobile equipment at your jobsite might make you an operator. But knowing how to recognize and respond appropriately to hazards while using the equipment in a safe and efficient manner everyday will make you a professional operator. Strive to be a professional.

Please take the time to use this material or other safety related materials that you may have to educate people in your facility about how to recognize blind spots and how to approach and pass by mobile equipment. These important lessons should be passed on to anyone who works, walks, or finds themselves around mobile equipment in the scrap recycling environment.

Tony Smith is the director of safety outreach for ISRI. This blog is part of a series during National Safety Month in preparation for Safety Stand-Down Day on June 24.

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