Create a Culture of Safety
A facility work site with height access challenges can be very hazardous. Like a police officer or firefighter, anyone working in aerial maintenance should make safety the priority each work day. No matter how busy your schedule may be, please remember to take the time to prepare, be aware, and above all, practice these recommended steps to ensure a culture of safety for you and your crews.
1. Assess your surroundings
- Adjacent activity - Identify and be aware of the work and other activity going on around your planned area of operation.
- Weather report - Be knowledgeable of the day's up-to-the-minute forecast, because weather can have a tremendous impact on your health and safety. Rain or ice can create unstable surfaces; extreme cold can result in hypothermia; extreme heat can cause stroke or exhaustion; and thunderstorms can bring dangerous lightning strikes.
- Encumbrances and obstacles - Be aware of the ground and overhead areas surrounding your work zone. Look for and note objects that could interfere with your path of travel or your range of motion when operating machines and equipment.
- Visual observation - Conduct thorough machine and equipment walk-arounds and inspections to identity any structural, mechanical or accessory deficiencies, and do not use the equipment until any identified issues are corrected.
- Documentation - Ensure all required operational instructions and safety manuals are present on the job site, and be certain all safety labels and decals are fully legible.
- Safety devices - Check to see if all safety devices are present and fully functional, from personal safety equipment to devices such as fire extinguishers. Conduct routine tests to ensure these items are operating properly.
3. Functional and operational tests
- Machine and equipment start-up - Test the starting and stopping functions of your machines and equipment, including emergency stop functions and shut-down operations.
- Operationally test all functions - From your ground control, test all machine and equipment functions, ideally in the order they will be used. Pay special attention to audible and visual warnings or alarms to be sure they're operating correctly.
- Log and record - Maintain a machine and equipment operation log in which you record each use, document each pre-start inspection, and record all found discrepancies and deficiencies and their associated corrections. This helps set the precedent for all other machine and equipment users.
The most essential word in creating a culture of safety? Practice! Make it a daily routine to assess, test and inspect; and it will become second nature. When in doubt, always refer to instruction manuals.
We've all seen the industry statistics, and the lists of accidents published in industry magazines and websites. There's always room to improve and increase safety measures on the job. Our team urges you to take the time today in order to return home safely tonight.
Please note that this article is only a basic overview, and we invite you to explore more comprehensive information on workplace risk assessments. Teupen USA is a certified AWPT Training Center and an active member of IPAF. Both organizations offer extensive support and training materials, which can be found at www.awpt.org and www.ipaf.org. All Teupen machines operating in North America are designed, built and tested to comply with applicable ANSI and CSA standards.