3 Safety and Insurance Considerations of Working With Heavy Machinery

Manufacturing equipment can catalyze key production processes and amplify the output of any facility, above and beyond the scope of manual tools and technologies.

Of course this comes with one serious caveat; if heavy machinery is not used safely and is not covered by adequate insurance, minor mistakes can turn into major disasters for individual employees and entire organizations alike.

With that in mind, here are some of the main considerations that come into play when working with heavy machinery, encompassing both safety and insurance concerns.

Making sure any used machinery is in a safe, working condition

One of the unique things about manufacturing equipment is that it tends to have a much longer usable lifespan than you might expect, with some pieces of machinery remaining in use for decades.

The downside to this from a safety perspective is that if machines are not regularly maintained and routinely monitored for faults, flaws and performance foibles, they will become increasingly unsafe, even if they are technically still operational.

There are two steps to combating this, the first of which is to only buy second hand machines that have been well maintained in the past, or appropriately restored to good working order. Whether you are looking for a refurbished plasma cutter or a second hand lathe, signs of frequent maintenance are reassuring.

The second is to not get complacent about the equipment you already use, and to adopt preventive maintenance practices to reduce the chances of breakdowns and safety issues.

Wearing protective equipment & following best practices for use

Employers and employees must recognize the need for the use of personal protective equipment when using heavy machinery, and of course this has to be aligned with the risks that a particular item poses.

From eye protection to stop sparks and debris doing damage, to appropriate head, hand, arm, leg and torso protection in whatever form makes the most sense, businesses have a duty to supply this and workers have an obligation to wear it.

Likewise with the appropriate training, employees will be capable of putting heavy machinery to use without taking undue risks. They should be additionally encouraged to do so by their employer, and required to prioritize safety over any need to meet targets. An injured employee is a far bigger problem from a productivity perspective than following the correct safety procedures for machinery use.

Insuring machinery against common issues & safety snafus

Even if you take all of the precautions mentioned so far, you cannot be completely certain that the heavy machinery you invest in for your business is going to function flawlessly, or not be involved in some kind of accident on-site.

For this reason, having the right suite of insurance policies to cover your organization and shield it from steep costs if something goes awry is wise.

For example, machinery could be compromised as a result of factors outside of your control, such as damage done by natural disasters, fire, operator error and so on. The bill for repair or replacement in any of these scenarios will be steep, so insurance is a must.

Likewise it is a necessary move to have liability insurance so that if injuries occur in spite of your best efforts to ensure employee safety, you are not exposed to the full brunt of any resulting claim or legal action.

inal thoughts

Heavy machinery safety is a complex issue, and one which needs to be studied, researched and dealt with according to your own needs.

Insurance goes hand in hand with this, for the aforementioned reasons, and manufacturers of all sizes will be better off if they have the right cover.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.