It’s that time of year where logging and hauling is completed for the season and a much-needed break for contractors and their employees. The focus now is on equipment repair and maintenance and some spring training as well. Spring break up is that time when you and your crew will be working on equipment and getting it ready for the next logging season. As a reminder here are a few tips to think about when you start working on your equipment.
As you work on equipment make sure to take the time to clean up after yourself. A messy shop increases the chance of someone getting hurt. Slips trips and falls in most cases can be avoided be taking a little extra time cleaning up. If you’re fortunate enough to work inside, ensure that grease or oil spills are cleaned up to reduce the potential of slips and falls. Air hoses should be rolled up when not in use. Extension cords should only be used temporarily and then stored in the proper place. All tools, boxes and miscellaneous parts should be kept off of the shop floor.
When working on equipment make sure to have the appropriate PPE for the job. One area that needs to be a focus is that of eye protection. Whether your grinding, welding or pressure washing make sure you have proper eye protection and they are both clean and rated appropriately. In the event of grinding make sure a face shield is worn. Gloves and ear plugs are other items to wear depending upon the job. When using chemicals use latex or nitrile gloves. You can find these gloves at your local hardware store. Hearing protection needs to be worn where there is an overexposure such as grinding or get in the habit of wearing them when using any power tools or equipment.
Before work starts on a particular piece of equipment, block it to prevent it from moving or rolling, make sure that all energy is grounded, remove the positive battery cable, and allow a cool-down time to pass before any fluid systems are worked on.
When working on a piece of equipment make certain to use appropriate rated jack stands and do not crawl underneath equipment before jack stands are in place.
Have whoever is doing the work on that particular machine lock it out (or tag it out) before starting the project. If more than one person is working on the same machine, have them attach their lock or tag also. This will not only prevent accidents, but will save possible damage to the equipment if it is started or moved before everything is put back together properly. Lockout/Tagout and good communication within the shop crew is essential, not only for safety but also for getting the mechanic work completed without creating more costly and time-wasting work.
If possible, use mechanical means to lift anything over fifty pounds. Back injuries and strains are very common in mechanic shop work. If using lifting straps or chains make certain there in good working conditions and are rated for appropriate use.
Make sure all your tools are in good working condition and inspect cords to make certain they don’t need to be repaired or replaced. In regards to chisels and punches make certain the heads aren’t mushroomed out, if they are grind them flush and or replace.
As always, we look forward to seeing you in First Aid/CPR class this year. We hope that is the only time you’ll have to practice those skills. Whether in the woods or in the shop, $afety $aves!