In 2017, there were two paving-related deaths that underscored the need to focus on workers’ safety when it comes to Lakeland parking lot paving. In March 2017, a 58-year-old asphalt paving worker was completing a maintenance check on an asphalt layer when the machine suddenly rolled over him, causing fatal injuries. At that time, it was unclear whether the worker fell from the paver or was trying to work it in an industrial park where the accident happened.
The second incident happened a month after in April 2017 when a 48-year-old worker died at the scene when a dump truck of asphalt struck a power pole and caused the lines to fall on his body.
Both of these tragic incidents had us thinking if there are any ways these situations could have been avoided. There are thousands of injuries and deaths that are related to machine and equipment operations every year. A lot of these accidents involve operators, spotters, co-workers, laborers, shovel hands, passers-by, and sidewalk supervisors.
Take care when getting on and off the equipment
The number one cause of deaths of equipment operators, forklift drivers, and truck drivers is getting on and off the machine or equipment. This is unfortunate because properly getting on and off the equipment should be one of the lessons taught to operators.
When exiting a moving equipment such as a paver, make sure that you have steady footing. You should also check your gloves to ensure that your hands won’t slip holding on to the rails. Make it as easy as possible to get on and off the equipment by installing additional handholds or steps.
Don’t let people crowd the work area
The biggest headache of machine operators is the people crowding the work area. Make sure that the work area is cleared off pedestrians. As much as people love to stand and watch the operations, this could negatively impact the safety of the workers.
Be aware of overhead obstructions
Always check the overhead installations and obstructions of the area where you are working. These overhead obstructions can be anything—electrical lines, water, sewer, gas, telecom, etc. Put a warning sign on overheard lines or low clearances and make sure all operators are aware of these signs before entering the work zone.
Be careful when loading/unloading equipment
Even on level ground, there is always a risk of accidental rollover during loading and unloading. To prevent this from happening, make sure you are centered on the ramps and stay straight on them. Put enough room for the equipment to maneuver, though this can be difficult when working on compressed areas.
Secure the paving area
Paving contractors should follow strictly traffic control plans for their sites. There are also standards that cover these working areas called the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD).