Heavy Equipment Operation - National Safety Council

Heavy Equipment Operation

2% of Non-roadway Fatalities*

This hazardous situation involves fulfilling work duties such as building demolition, utility restoration, moving large loads and more. A heavy equipment operator drives or controls construction equipment, including bulldozers, forklifts, backhoes, dump trucks, cargo trucks and hydraulic truck cranes. They operate this equipment to assist in the construction of structures, including bridges, roads and buildings.** 

Survey Says: The NSC 2020 Safety Technology in the Workplace Survey shows: 48% of workers surveyed report being exposed to heavy equipment operation, and 30% said operating heavy equipment has caused or contributed to a serious workplace injury. 

The information in each section below is listed in the order of relevance to the hazardous situation.


Situational risks – inherent to the situation or proximate cause of injury
  • Crushing risk
  • Struck by vehicle
  • Equipment tippage/overturn
  • Electrical shock/arc flash
  • Struck by equipment part
  • Struck by debris
Systemic risks – contribute to injury but are not direct causes
  • Lack of workplace awareness
  • Lack of training
  • Hazardous terrain
  • Poorly secured loads
  • Machine guard failure
  • Faulty equipment
  • Unknown hazardous materials and debris
Relevant Technology Solutions

* Safety Technology 2020: Mapping Technology Solutions for Reducing Serious Injuries and Fatalities in the Workplace

** U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Construction Equipment Operators

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