Safety and Maintenance: Ensuring Safe Operation of Construction Equipment

Author

Oded Ran

Oded Ran, CEO and Co-Founder of Clue since 2019, expertly integrates AI and data tools to revolutionize construction equipment management and maintenance, positioning Clue as a premier software choice in the construction industry.

Table of Content

Lack of maintenance and construction safety management are some of the biggest equipment maintenance challenges that can arise at a construction site.

Whether it is commercial construction and maintenance or a smaller-scale project, it is essential to address safety and maintenance issues promptly to ensure that the equipment does not have problems that can delay the project timeline.

Construction and maintenance go hand in hand, so you should address equipment maintenance challenges beforehand.

How? Let’s look at some equipment maintenance challenges and how to address them adequately, starting with why safety and maintenance are essential.

Importance of Safety and Maintenance in Construction

Safety and equipment maintenance within a construction site is crucial for staying on course with the construction timelines. Maintenance and safety practices ensure that everything performs up to code.

Promptly addressing equipment maintenance challenges also allows you to enhance the lifespan of your equipment and reduce maintenance expenses over time.

Preventive construction maintenance overtime can help equipment managers ensure that equipment is repaired correctly and maintained throughout the project.

This helps minimize downtime, increase worker and equipment safety, and, most importantly, extend the equipment's lifetime.

Did you know?

Using construction equipment maintenance software like Clue, you can easily set up flexible inspection reminders to help you manage and maintain your equipment maintenance. How? Read more about this new Clue feature here.

Instructions

One of the most significant equipment maintenance challenges that most project managers face while creating a maintenance and safety plan is the issue with asset tracking and unplanned downtime. A proper construction safety plan can fix this.

Having a construction safety plan helps maintain a safe work zone for both workers and the public.

By monitoring the current and historic construction site data, you can easily create a construction safety inspection checklist to help mitigate any safety and security issues that might arise on-site.

Given the importance of maintenance and safety in construction, let’s examine some equipment maintenance challenges and how they can be corrected.

equipment-maintenance-challenges-image-clue

Source - Major equipment maintenance challenges

Provide Operator Training

Training is one of the equipment maintenance challenges that cannot be fixed using just construction safety management software.

Training requires planning and proper execution to ensure the workforce has learned all the ins and outs of the machinery they work with.

Through hands-on training on machinery, pre-operation checks, and emergency responses, operators can learn how to maintain and troubleshoot construction safety equipment.

Streamline Equipment Inspections

Equipment inspections are necessary because they help find problems before they become expensive.

Organizations can prevent accidents by documenting inspections with reports and planning maintenance to avoid breakdowns.

The best equipment inspections utilize a mix of the three main maintenance types, ideally 80% proactive and 20% corrective maintenance.

equipment-maintenance-types-image-clue

Source - Equipment Inspection Programs

Regular Pre-Operation Checks

A pre-operation or circle check is a visual inspection of construction equipment before its use. This type of check ensures that the equipment is safe to use. It can also help identify any issues that can be fixed at a time to reduce any chances of accidents or hazardous conditions.

Routine Ongoing Maintenance

Ongoing or routine maintenance can help operators and dispatchers ensure that the construction equipment has been adequately vetted before use.

These maintenance practices are crucial for proper preventative maintenance, which can enhance the yield of up to 30-40% savings for maintenance and repair tasks.

Clue is a great construction equipment management software that allows project managers to easily create maintenance work orders and flexible inspection reminders to help them keep up with their maintenance activities.

Practice Safe Mounting and Dismounting

When getting on or off equipment, always ensure you have two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet in contact with it. Keep your hands free for a secure grip while maintaining three points of contact.

Also, ensure your footwear is clean and free from hazards like wet grass, dirt, oil, or grease to prevent slipping.

Implement Operating Guidelines Thoroughly

Operating guidelines give operators and project managers the proper guidance to operate and maintain heavy machinery easily.

These guidelines include practices and policies that operators and dispatchers must follow to ensure they correctly work the equipment.

Safe Operation Practices

Here are a few practices you can use on your construction site to ensure safe operations.

  • Emphasize communication, not just within departments but overall, so you can ensure safe operations.
  • Inspect your machinery and assets regularly to ensure that all issues are noticed.
  • Train your workers on all safety and maintenance practices so they can monitor their equipment and inspect it for wear and tear.
  • Designate safe work zones for your workers. Project managers can ensure this by inspecting the construction site before work starts, checking for hazardous areas, and posting signs to protect the workers.
  • Define essential emergency procedures and train your workers to be aware of and take charge of any emergency that arises at the site.
  • Be aware of your equipment's potential and avoid overloading it. Adding additional weight can cause the equipment to break down.
  • Most importantly, document all equipment maintenance. This will come in handy when conducting a safety audit and highlighting any potential issues that have arisen in the past.

Utilize Safety Features Efficiently

The construction industry experiences 71% higher rates of injury than any other industry. This is why it is essential to ensure that your worksite is safe.

Construction safety products such as seat belts, gloves, gas detectors, spark plugs, backup alarms, breaklights, turn signals, and stability controls are essential for creating a safe work environment for construction workers.

This is why they must be maintained properly and regularly inspected for cracks and wear and tear to ensure the workers' safety as they work on-site. 

Utilize Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE includes items such as helmets, gloves, goggles, and masks. This gear is essential in various industries to protect workers from physical, chemical, biological, or other hazards.

These are the gear and clothing worn by construction workers to ensure their safety from exposure to hazardous materials that can cause injury or illness.

Promote Hazard Awareness

Hazard awareness means being alert to potential dangers around you. It is important to recognize risks so you can take steps to stay safe and prevent accidents.

This includes identifying unsafe conditions or behaviors that could lead to harm and taking action to reduce those risks.

Project managers can use construction safety software to help them plan and maintain training that might be required to educate the workers about potential hazards and how to overcome them.

Establish Specific Machinery Guidelines

Excavators

Operators should be trained in safe operation, including proper control use and understanding load limits. Regular maintenance checks should also be conducted to ensure equipment reliability.

Loaders

Operators should be trained in loading techniques and safety protocols. They should also check equipment condition and functionality regularly to prevent malfunctions during operation.

Graders

Operator training should cover precise grading techniques and safety measures. Blades and hydraulics should be regularly inspected for efficient and safe operation.

Check out this list of specific machinery standards.

Are you looking for a better way to manage your equipment and keep track of inspections?

Try Clue today to get all the help you need to maintain up-to-date training programs and ensure adherence to the latest safety protocols.

Instructions:

Follow Emergency Procedures and Protocols

Having proper emergency procedures in place can help managers overcome most of the equipment maintenance challenges that can arise.

Some emergency procedures that all project managers should ensure are in place at a construction site include:

  • Establish clear procedures for emergencies such as equipment malfunction, injuries, or hazardous spills.
  • Ensuring all personnel are trained in emergency response protocols, including first aid and evacuation procedures.

Ensure Safe Exiting of Equipment

While workers can be trained, they are still prone to human error, which is why they should be constantly reminded of the different safety procedures they must follow when exiting equipment.

You can do the following by:

  • To prevent slips or falls, emphasize the "three points of contact" rule (one hand and both feet or both hands and one foot on equipment) when entering or exiting machinery.
  • Ensure operators are aware of proper shutdown procedures and equipment stability before dismounting.

Implement Continuous Training and Updates

Project managers must ensure the following to maintain a safe workspace and overcome equipment maintenance challenges.

  • Implement regular training sessions to refresh operators on safety practices, equipment updates, and new regulations.
  • Provide opportunities for operators to enhance their skills and stay informed about industry best practices and technological advancements.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a safe workspace is crucial for any construction project, so most project managers rely on equipment maintenance and construction safety plans to ensure that the construction site is secure and productive.

Most managers face some of the main equipment maintenance challenges that stem from a need for more training and awareness.

This is why it is essential for workers to be trained and consistently reminded about safety procedures and practices.

When maintaining equipment, most project managers should first focus on regular inspections and monitoring for wear and tear.

This will help them ensure that the equipment is properly maintained and identify when repairs are needed.

FAQs

What is the biggest challenge in maintenance?

The biggest challenge in maintenance is balancing preventive tasks to avoid breakdowns. Some other challenges include reactive responses to unexpected issues, ensuring minimal downtime and cost-effectiveness while maintaining equipment reliability and operational efficiency.

What are the causes of poor maintenance?

Poor maintenance causes include inadequate training, lack of proper tools and resources, insufficient budget allocation, neglecting preventive measures, and ineffective communication between maintenance teams and management. These overtime factors can lead to increased equipment downtime, reduced reliability, and higher repair costs.

What are the three types of maintenance problems?

The three types of maintenance problems are predictive issues, which involve inaccurate forecasts of failures. Preventive matters are related to scheduling and resource allocation challenges, as well as corrective issues arising from reactive responses to equipment failures, leading to increased downtime and costs.

What are examples of corrective maintenance?

Examples of corrective maintenance include:

  1. Emergency repairs: Immediate fixes are required to resolve unexpected equipment failures or breakdowns.
  2. Replacements: Changing out worn-out or damaged parts to restore equipment.
  3. Fault diagnosis: Identifying and fixing issues caused by equipment malfunctions to prevent further damage or downtime.

What are the challenges of preventive maintenance?

Preventive maintenance challenges include costs and downtime, ensuring resource availability, and balancing the frequency of maintenance to effectively prevent failures and extend equipment life.

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