2020 was full of unexpected — and not always pleasant — surprises. But by setting and keeping some key resolutions in the New Year, we think 2021 could be a great year for construction, agriculture, warehouse, and other workers. Here are Equipment Trader’s 11 New Year’s resolutions for equipment operators in 2021:
1. Inspect Machinery Before and After Each Shift.
Before taking any piece of equipment out for the day in 2021, inspect engine and hydraulic oil, brakes, hydraulic part movement, hoses and belts, headlights and taillights, tires or tracks, windshield wipers, the horn, and the back-up alarm. As you work, pay attention to the functionality of the machine and any hiccups in operation. Finally, give equipment a close onceover look before leaving for the night.
2. Keep Equipment Well-Maintained.
Breakdowns are the enemy of every equipment operator. They can halt progress, delay entire projects, increase labor costs, and result in repair or replacement costs. Long term, it’s wise to invest in routine preventative maintenance. Regularly check and change the oil, keep batteries charged, replace parts that begin to crack or wear, keep tires well-inflated, and store machinery inside or with protective coverings.
3. Commit to Using Spotters.
Some novice workers don’t know better, and some experienced workers are overconfident, but the best equipment operators know that it’s safest to have a spotter when operating heavy machinery. Spotters are especially important when backing up. In 2021, resolve to ensure that you and others are trained to be spotters, so that you can keep workers, pedestrians, and the equipment safe from dangerous collisions.
4. Always Wear the Seatbelt.
This is a simple one, y’all. Buckle up your seat belt every single time you’re in the equipment cab in the New Year. It takes 2 seconds and can save you from serious harm or even death. Keeping safe helps you confidently look forward to celebrating the New Year again in 2022.
5. Keep Up-to-Date with PPE Standards & Gear.
From hard hats and foot protection to clothing that is high-visibility or flame-resistant, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements are often updated by federal and state officials. Be sure to keep up with all the latest standards and outfit yourself and your crew with everything you need to stay safe in 2021.
6. Maintain the Worksite.
There’s a lot happening on jobsites and they can get messy pretty quickly, which can slow down work and increase the risk of accidents. Resolve in the New Year to have the initiative to look for all the ways you can take a moment here and there to maintain the jobsite. You can move loose debris or rocks, reroute electrical cords, secure ladders so they don’t fall, or do anything else to keep walkways and machinery paths safe and clear.
7. Review Your Workflow.
In 2021, it will be essential to optimize your workflow, especially if you’re the foreman or business owner. Start by mapping out your processes to see where you can streamline efficiency and prevent slow-downs. Then ask yourself:
- Are the right people with the right skills in the right positions?
- If not, can you hire someone new, provide training, or promote worthy employees?
- Do you have the right equipment to get the job done correctly and quickly?
- If not, can you make repairs or buy attachments for existing machinery, or buy new equipment?
8. Maintain Your Certifications.
Lots of heavy equipment like forklifts require specific certifications to operate. In the New Year, resolve to study, practice, and get recertified. If your certification does not expire in 2021, you can still do everything you can to remain an expert about the machinery, so you’re ready when it’s your turn to renew.
9. Keep Up with New Technology.
Industries like construction that utilize heavy equipment are typically at the forefront of adopting new technology and innovations. However, many equipment operators actually underutilize new technology because they are unaware of its existence or the benefits it could offer. Throughout the New Year, do what you can to keep yourself and your crew in the loop about new technologies, their benefits, and how they could be utilized on your worksite.
10. Train Workers in Basic First-Aid & CPR.
Most workers know best practices to avoid accidents, but too few know how to respond if tragedy does occur. In 2021, see if you can get yourself and your crew trained in basic first-aid and CPR, at a minimum. You should also review emergency response plans for the highest-risk threats on your jobsite, so that everyone is ready for the worst, just in case!
11. Incorporate Mental Health into Safety Protocols.
Manual labor is tough and stressful, and it’s no secret that 2020 was a rough year for just about everybody. In 2021, foremen and business owners can protect worker job satisfaction and employee retention by:
- providing the number of a local mental health first responder,
- establishing open communication for workers to be honest with management about their struggles, and
- adding mental health PTO and treatment to employment benefits.
By setting creative and productive New Year’s Resolutions for 2021, you could very well be heading into your best equipment operation year ever. And if you’re in the market for new heavy equipment in the new year, be sure to check out all the machinery for sale and for rent nationwide on EquipmentTrader.com.
About the Author
Ethan Smith is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the commercial brands Commercial Truck Trader, Commercial Web Services, and Equipment Trader. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to commercial dealers and their buyers.