June 28, 2016 – “Turn off your cell phone while operating off-road equipment” is the key message from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in a new jointly developed safety alert that emphasizes the hazards of distracted driving while on the worksite.
The alert is the latest project from the AEM/MSHA Alliance, which focuses on best practices to minimize risks in equipment operation and maintenance.
“We know in today’s connected world that it’s more important than ever to remind workers to focus on the job and be alert and aware and mindful of their environment and safety,” stated Mike Pankonin, AEM senior director of technical and safety services.
The alert cites data on cell phone use in the automotive industry “that can be translated into the operation of off-road equipment,” including:
•The risks of using a cell phone while operating mobile equipment can be up to six times worse than the risks of operating mobile equipment while intoxicated
•Writing or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds and at 55 MPH, that’s like driving the length of a football field blindfolded
“Cell phone usage on the job is a dangerous distraction and can lead to injury or death. Using a cell phone while operating mobile equipment takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off your task,” stated Joseph A. Main, assistant secretary of labour for mine safety and health. “Through our alliance with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, MSHA is working to foster safer mining workplaces by, among other things, providing industry with vital information emphasizing the safe use and operation of mobile and powered haulage equipment. Powered haulage is the leading category of fatalities in metal and nonmetal mining. Over the past five years, there have been 29 fatalities in powered haulage. Distractions caused by cell phone use greatly increase the risk. No call or text message is worth taking that chance.”
AEM supports safety awareness year-round by offering an extensive array of safety products, including safety manuals and videos, with major equipment types covering aerial, agriculture, compact/portable, earthmoving, forestry, lifting, road paving and utility excavation applications.
About the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
AEM is the North American-based international trade group providing innovative business development resources to advance the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace. AEM membership comprises more than 850 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors worldwide. AEM is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with offices in the world capitals of Washington,, DC; Ottawa, Canada; and Beijing, China.