A classical melody plays. A shiny new sedan speeds by. In its front seat, two peach bodies adorned with calibration markers. WHAM. The front end of the car compresses with its violent impact against a concrete wall. The loud whoosh of deployed airbags rings in the air. The dummies are hurled forwards towards the windshield, their ejection prevented by seat belts. The dummies leave the wreckage with minor injuries.
As drivers and passengers, we are acutely aware that seatbelts save lives. We know that the use of them can reduce the risk of fatality by 50%. We know that seatbelts can help protect you in the event of a crash by keeping you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Nearly 90% of Americans buckle up prior to driving.
Despite this common knowledge, some HEOs (Heavy Equipment Operators) don’t buckle up when operating heavy equipment.
There is a belief in the construction community that HEOs don’t need to wear a seatbelt because their equipment has rollover protection. This protection, a system designed to protect operators from injuries caused by equipment overturns, is effective. However, it does not prevent operators from being thrown from equipment.
Some industry members are under the assumption that operating fully enclosed equipment does not require the use of a seatbelt; in the event of a rollover, you will be protected. But think about it: in this case you’ll be hurled against glass, metal, or hard plastic.
Much of today’s heavy equipment comes standard with rollover protection, a system designed to protect operators from injuries caused by equipment overturns. This protection is effective, but does not prevent operators from being thrown from equipment in the event of an overturn.
Buckling up is the most important (and easiest) safety measure you can take to protect yourself.