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Controls and Best Practices

Key Engineering Controls and Work Practices

To ensure safe operation of heavy equipment, follow these controls and best work practices:

  • All vehicles must have:
    • a service brake system, an emergency brake system, and a parking brake system;
    • working headlights, tail lights, and brake lights;
    • an audible warning device (horn); and
    • an intact windshield with working windshield wipers.
work practices
  • Ensure all operators have been trained on the equipment they will use.
  • Check vehicles at the beginning of each shift to ensure that the parts, equipment, and accessories are in safe operating condition. Repair or replace any defective parts or equipment prior to use.
  • Do not operate vehicle in reverse with an obstructed rear view unless it has a reverse signal alarm capable of being heard above ambient noise levels or a signal observer indicates that it is safe to move.
  • Vehicles loaded from the top (e.g., dump trucks) must have cab shields or canopies to protect the operator while loading.
  • Ensure that vehicles used to transport workers have seats, with operable seat belts firmly secured and adequate for the number of workers to be carried.
  • Equipment should have roll-over protection and protection from falling debris hazards as needed.
  • Prior to permitting construction equipment or vehicles onto an access roadway or grade, verify that the roadway or grade is constructed and maintained to safely accommodate the equipment and vehicles involved.
  • Do not modify the equipment's capacity or safety features without the manufacturer's written approval.
  • Where possible, do not allow debris collection work or other operations involving heavy equipment under overhead lines.

Materials Falling from Vehicles


Key engineering controls and work practices include:

  • Do not overload vehicles.
  • Ensure that loads are balanced and are fully contained within the vehicle. Trim loads, where necessary, to ensure loads do not extend beyond the sides or top of the vehicle.
  • Cover and secure loads before moving the vehicle.

Diesel Exhaust/Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM)


Diesel engines provide power to a wide variety of vehicles, heavy equipment, and other machinery used in a large number of industries including mining, transportation, construction, agriculture, maritime, and many types of manufacturing operations.

The exhaust from diesel engines contains a mixture of gases and very small particles that can create a health hazard when not properly controlled.

For more information on the hazards posed by diesel exhaust, visit OSHA’s Hazard Alert - Diesel Exhaust/Diesel Particulate Matter webpage.

Silica dust clouds from delivery trucks loading into sand movers.

Silica, Nuisance Dust, Dried Mud, or Silt

When inhaled, the fine crystalline silica particles contained in the dust can become lodged deep in the lungs, which can lead to silicosis and other respiratory illnesses.

Key engineering controls and safe work practices to protect against the hazards associated with inhalation of silica include:

  • Stay upwind of or away from dust-generating activities, in particular those involving crystalline silica-containing materials like concrete, brick, tile, drywall, mortar, sand, or stone.
  • Use water spray or mist to suppress dust generation, especially during operations that may create a lot of dust, such as cutting or sawing silica-containing materials, jack hammering, impact drilling, using heavy equipment, and demolishing structures.
  • Avoid using compressed air for cleaning surfaces.
  • Sample worker exposures to silica during dust-generating activities.

Use the following personal protective equipment as necessary:

filtering facepiece
NIOSH-approved N95 filtering face piece
  • At a minimum, use respirators with N, R, or P95 filters for work with crystalline silica-containing materials (e.g., concrete, brick, tile, mortar). The use of N, R, or P100 filters may provide additional protection. Higher levels of respiratory protection may be needed for some operations (e.g., cutting concrete, sandblasting, mixing concrete).
  • N, R, or P95 respirators may be used for nuisance dusts (e.g., dried mud, dirt, or silt) and mold (except mold remediation). Filters with a charcoal layer may be used for odors.

Noise and Hearing Protection

Key engineering controls and safe work practices to protect against the hazards associated with excessive noise include:

  • Use heavy equipment with enclosed, temperature-controlled cabs when available.
  • Place generators, compressors, and other noisy equipment at a distance or behind a barrier when possible.
  • Use hearing protection when working around potential noise sources and when noise levels exceed 90 dBA. Generally, if you cannot hold a conversation in a normal speaking voice with a person who is standing at arm’s length (approximately 3 feet), the noise level may exceed 90 dBA.

Fueling Heavy Equipment


Key engineering controls and work practices include:

  • Ensure that ignition sources are at least 25 feet away from fueling areas.
  • Prohibit smoking in fueling areas.
  • Ensure that vehicles are attended while being fueled.

Hazardous Chemicals


Key engineering controls and work practices include:

  • Do not use spark-producing devices (e.g., engines, tools, electronic, and communications equipment) in the immediate area.
  • Take self-protective measures (i.e., move to a safe distance upwind).
  • Contact hazardous material response personnel for evaluation/removal before continuing work in the area.

Use the following personal protective equipment as necessary and evaluate the need to revise:

  • protective clothing
  • respirators
  • gloves

Servicing Multi-Piece Rim Wheels

Check out this WorkSafeBC video: Workers killed while servicing tires.
(Click to play video)

Employers should develop standard operating procedures (SOP) for servicing multi-piece rims and provide training on these procedures. Safety procedures include:

  • Ensure employees are never positioned in the trajectory of (in front of or over) inflated tires mounted on multi-piece rims while servicing any wheel or tire component.
  • Use a restraining device (cage or barrier) when inflating tires.
  • Ensure employees do not rest or lean any part of their body or equipment on or against a restraining device being used when inflating tires.
  • Do not attempt to correct the seating of side and lock rings by hammering, striking or forcing the components while the tire is pressurized.
  • Never rework, weld, braze or heat cracked, broken, bent or otherwise damaged rim components.
  • Do not apply heat to a multi-piece wheel or wheel component.

The employer should routinely provide employees training on the SOP. Even employees who are not assigned to service multi-piece rims should be provided the training so they will be aware of the potential hazards of these wheels, including never attempting to inflate flat tires.

Trajectory of multi-piece rim parts in different scenarios.
driver killed
A truck driver was killed while rotating the tires on this rear tandem axle dual wheel truck.

Heat Stress

heat stress
Pay attention to symptoms to prevent heat stress.

Construction workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes. Heat can also increase the risk of injuries in workers as it may result in sweaty palms, fogged-up safety glasses, and dizziness. Burns may also occur as a result of accidental contact with hot surfaces or steam.

  • When possible, acclimatize response and recovery workers to hot and humid environments by gradually increasing their work period or workload over the course of several days.
  • Reduce physical exertion levels by providing extra individuals.
  • Schedule heavy work for cooler periods of the work shift (e.g., early mornings, cool/overcast days).
  • When possible, provide temperature-controlled cabs for equipment operators.
  • When possible, and where appropriate, use fans/ventilation to provide air movement for cooling.
  • Take frequent rest/water breaks in areas that are shaded or air conditioned.
  • heat stress
    Drink enough cold liquids when working in hot environments.
  • Drink 4 to 8 ounces of water or sports drink every 20 minutes while working in hot, humid conditions.
  • Limit fluids to no more than 1 ½ quarts per hour when working in hot, humid conditions.
  • Do not drink more than a total of 12 quarts of fluid in 24 hours.
  • Limit the intake of caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
  • Wear light-colored clothing.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat stress; use the buddy system to monitor one another for these signs/symptoms.
  • If someone shows signs of heat stress (exhaustion or stroke), request immediate medical attention, move the individual to a cooler area in the shade, loosen or remove restrictive or heavy clothing, provide cool drinking water, and fan and mist the person with water.
  • Consider the use of personal cooling devices. Examples of cooling devices include cooling vests or suits that use circulating water or ice packs, and venturi cooling systems for air-supplied respirators or encapsulating suits.


  • Wear suntan lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater. Reapply as necessary to ensure protection throughout the work shift.
  • When possible, wear a wide brim hat to protect exposed skin on face, head, and neck.
  • When possible, set up work area in a shaded location.
  • When possible, schedule tasks when individuals will not be exposed to direct sunlight such as during the early morning or late afternoon.
cold stress

Cold Stress

During construction, workers may be required to work in cold environments, and sometimes for extended periods of time. When the body is unable to warm itself, cold-related stress may occur. This may include tissue damage and possibly death. It’s important to take the following precautions when working in the cold:

  • Plan work activities so that outside work is conducted during the warmer parts of the day or rescheduled for days that are predicted to be warmer.
  • When possible, move work indoors or to an area that is protected from the wind/precipitation.
  • Wear layers of clothing that are windproof and waterproof. Consider keeping additional clothing with you and changing into dry clothing as soon as possible after work clothing becomes wet.
  • wind chill
    Monitor ambient conditions (ambient temperature and wind velocity)
  • Take frequent rest breaks in warm, sheltered spaces.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and limit the intake of caffeinated beverages.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of cold stress (pain and numbness in extremities, excessive fatigue, severe uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness, irritability) and use the buddy system to monitor one another for these signs/symptoms.
  • If someone shows signs of cold stress (frostbite or hypothermia), request immediate medical attention, move the individual to a warmer area in a sheltered space, remove cold or wet clothing, provide warm fluids, and monitor the person.

Accident Summary

The victim helped make wooden forms for concrete pad.

A male laborer died from heat stroke while sawing boards to make concrete forms for an addition to a factory. He worked until 5:00 pm that day without eating or drinking. The temperature reached 90 deg. F. and the day was quite humid. He was in the parking lot on his way to his vehicle when he apparently collapsed beside his vehicle. When EMS arrived, they recorded the laborer’s body temperature as 107 degrees F. The laborer was transported to a local hospital where he died the next day with an internal body temperature of 108 degrees F. Death was listed by the coroner as due to heat stroke.



Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. Which of the following is not required on all heavy equipment?

2. Who must approve any modification to the heavy equipment's capacity or safety features?

3. Which of the following should be accomplished to keep materials from falling from heavy vehicles?

4. Heavy equipment operators should ensure that ignition sources are at least _____ away from fueling areas.

5. To help prevent heat stress, limit fluids to no more than _____ when working in hot, humid conditions on construction sites.

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.