We all know wearing seat belts saves lives, whether you’re in your personal vehicle or operating a piece of equipment. Regardless of the size or speed of your machine, this safety step should never be overlooked. However, how safe are your equipment seat belts?
Daily inspection of the belt inside the cab should be part of your walk around procedures. Is the seat belt fraying? Is the buckle damaged? These items and more could put you at risk.
An operator needs to wear their seat belt whenever (s)he operates a machine. However, if the seat belt is worn or damaged in any way, then it does not give adequate protection. Seat belts must be inspected regularly to be sure they are in safe working order.
Check the date the seat belt was made (Date of Manufacture). Five years after that date, the belt must be replaced. (Most belts have a tag providing that info.) After the original belt replacement, best safety practices dictate to replace any belts that look worn or are more than three years old.
Inspect the seat belt webbing for cuts, especially around the buckle and the end attachment hardware. The webbing should be flexible and at least three inches wide. If the webbing is cut or worn, the seat belt can break and cause injury.
The end attachment hardware must be inspected to ensure there is no corrosion or cracks. The eyebolt(s), which fasten the belt to the machine frame, must be tightened to a torque of 50. The eyebolt(s) must be in a position where the belt cannot get caught on them. When the end attachment hardware is inspected, check to be sure the seat belt was installed correctly.
Inspect the anti-creep device. This is a plastic clip installed on the webbing that ensures the belt will not loosen during operation. If this clip is worn or cracked, it will not keep the belt adjusted correctly. Repairs cannot be made on the anti-creep device; if it does not work properly, a new belt must be installed.