An important part of construction work is engaging with all types of machinery on site. Without these machines, we wouldn’t have the sophisticated methods of construction we do today and probably wouldn’t be able to build the magnificent structures and skyscrapers that have become so common in our world. Sadly these machines which facilitate advancements in building methods also present some of the biggest hazards. One of these hazards is presented when the machines are being maintained and cleaned.
An accident which happened in New Jersey, in New York is an example of the risks associated with cleaning machinery during construction activities. A worker suffered serious injuries which required his hospitalisation after an accident involving a piece of equipment used in the road construction project.
The machinery was being used for paving a road way when the worker attempted to clean some asphalt off the machine when the accident occurred. Read an excerpt from the article on App.com which explains what went down,
TOMS RIVER — A road construction worker, operating a piece of machinery Monday night at Route 70 and Massachusetts Avenue, suffered burns and lacerations to his leg and was hospitalized, police said.
Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said the construction worker, 27-year-old Ben Lugo of Toms River, had his leg pinned for about three minutes in the unspecified piece of equipment while doing paving work on Massachusetts Avenue.
A co-worker of Lugo’s, 22-year-old Jerry Bove of Brick, told police that Lugo was attempting to clean some asphalt from the machine when his feet became caught under a belt and metal, Mastronardy said.
Fellow workers were able to free Lugo by using a torch and pry bar, cutting the metal that was trapping him.
Lugo was flown by MONOC helicopter to the trauma unit at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune
Read more at: http://www.app.com/article/20130716/NJNEWS/307160014/
This accident highlighted a very important issue regarding maintenance of machinery, and cleaning in particular. Maintenance is critical to ensure continuous productivity of the machine and also has an impact on OH&S.
So good maintenance and cleaning of machinery is essential to keep machines and work environment safe and machines reliable but maintenance is in itself is a high-risk activity and therefore it has to be performed in a safe way, with appropriate protection of maintenance workers and all those present on the site.
When conducting basic maintenance and cleaning of equipment there are certain procedures that should be followed and the manufacturer’s recommendations should also be considered and adhered to when developing these plans and procedures for cleaning of machines and equipment. A risk assessment should be carried out and workers should be involved in this process.
The work area needs to be secured by preventing unauthorised access, for example, by using barriers and signs.
If possible, guards should be designed so as to allow minor maintenance on the machines without removing the safeguards. If the guard must be removed or deactivated, then lock-off procedures should be followed.
It is also vitally important that the appropriate machinery and equipment be used for cleaning machines.
Workers involved in maintenance tasks should have the appropriate tools and equipment, which may be different from those that they normally use.
By sticking to the safe work procedures workers can avoid painful and costly accidents and ensure continuous productivity on site.