Don’t Touch that Tamper!

by: Ed Starowicz, DPW Risk Management Specialist

Every summer asphalt and stone work require the use of tamping equipment. As PERMA’s DPW Risk Specialist and a former Deputy Commissioner of Public Works, I have seen people improperly plan moving the tamper equipment resulting in major back injuries. Take precaution!

The Wacker Neuson Corporation has done a great job incorporating their concern for protecting employees who use their equipment and by providing guidance on the proper lifting of their equipment within their operating manuals. This is valuable information for any municipality that works with tampers.

If you plan on using a tamper on any day, there are several steps that you should discuss during your morning tailgate meeting. 

  1. Do not lift or move the tamper unless you have an available partner to plan the lift.
  2. Follow proper lifting procedures (example image below).
  3. Review the operating manual on proper lifting locations on the tamper.
  4. Consider mechanical lifting in place of employees lifting.
  5. Ensure harnesses, hooks cables and chains are properly certified and inspected before use.
  6. Post a visual procedure in your truck or on the tamper so employees are reminded.

Utilizing good judgement combined with the awareness of what is required for the use of the equipment will protect your staff. Take the time to talk about what you are doing and if you see something wrong, say something to your fellow workers and supervision.