The Eagle Ford Oilfield is a busy workplace. The work itself can be hazardous, involving expensive heavy machinery and tools, all of which merit your undivided attention. Regulations of the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration and company policies are designed to protect worker health and safety. However, the most important guardian of your personal safety in the workplace is YOU.
Personal Safety Tips
Here are some simple steps for personal safety around commercial motor vehicles. They’ll help you to avoid non-driving motor vehicle-related accidents.
- As you approach the vehicle, take a look around. Make sure it’s secure. Don’t get under, in front of or behind a truck or piece of heavy equipment if there’s any chance at all that it could move.
- Be aware of the condition of the vehicle. Now would be a better time to notice a defect than when you’re miles down the road or in the middle of a critical operation.
- If this is an unfamiliar vehicle for you, look around and identify the location of all the controls. Make sure that there are no loose objects that could hit you if you start or stop abruptly. Adjust the seat so that you can reach the controls easily.
- Do a little personal inventory. Are you fit to operate a heavy truck or piece heavy equipment? If you’re too fatigued, hung over, distracted or preoccupied to perform safely, you’re putting yourself as well as others at risk.
- Fasten your safety belt.
Get in the habit of using the Three-Point Stance to enter and exit a vehicle safely. Have at least three points of contact. Use both hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand.
- As you approach the vehicle cab, eyeball the footholds. Dirt or grease could cause you to slip and fall.
- Enter the cab with one foot on the ground, one on the truck’s foothold and one hand on the handhold.
- Exit by climbing out backward, as if you were using a ladder. Never jump out of the cab.
Practice being safe around cargo. A load can shift while in transit, so use caution when you open cargo doors or release tiedowns. Open only one side of a van trailer and stand behind the other latched door. This will give you some protection from any falling cargo.
Use caution around forklifts. The only one who should be in or on a forklift is the forklift driver.
Don’t listen to music and don’t wear earbuds while you’re in the field. You should be listening for the sounds of moving and approaching equipment or instructions from team members and supervisors. Do follow your company policies regarding wearing hearing protection in the workplace.
Be Alert and Aware in the Workplace
A little extra awareness of yourself, your equipment and your environment can go a long way toward ensuring the personal safety of you and your coworkers around commercial motor vehicles.
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