Excavator Safety Tips

While an excavator is one of the most useful and important tools on a construction site, it’s also a potentially dangerous piece of heavy machinery. This means that safe use and operation is of paramount importance. While excavators likely have many safety features and their operators have undergone training, it would still be helpful to know some excavator safety tips.

This article will cover some of the principles of safe excavator operation, ranging from the obvious to the obscure.

Read the manual

All excavators come with an instruction manual, and you should read through it to help you understand some of the components and mechanisms of the excavator. This should supplement any requisite training you’ve had.

Perform an inspection

Before getting inside the excavator and turning it on, you can visually inspect its exterior and its parts. These include fluid levels, safety and emergency pieces like lights, horns, guards, fire extinguishers and wipers. You should also inspect the arm of the machine including the bucket, stick and boom.

Use the three-point method for entering and exiting the cab

Due to the size of the excavator, climbing in and out isn’t as straightforward as you may think. For excavator safety, make sure to have three points of contact on the excavator as you move your fourth limb. For example, don’t move your arm until you have two feet and one arm firmly planted on the machine when getting in or out.

Check the controls

Not all excavators are the same, and although you’ve likely already been trained and read the instruction manual, taking a look at the controls (preferably with someone else who has experience on this excavator) can be beneficial.

Practice cab safety

If you haven’t found anything concerning during your inspection, you can proceed to get into the cab. Don’t start the machine with more than one person in the cab, as it’s not meant for two people. Remember to buckle your seat belt.

Practice bucket safety

You’ll be using the bucket extensively, so be sure to do it with care. This means knowing the bucket’s weight limit and never exceeding it. It also means never letting anyone ride in the bucket or lifting the bucket higher than you need to.

Heed clear warning signs

If you listen closely, sometimes the excavator will tell you things. A key part of excavator safety is acting when you’re presented with warning signs. These include loud sounds like screeching, squealing, metal-on-metal, snapping or booming. If you feel irregular jolts, those should be attended to as well.

Clean often

In addition to performing inspections and checking and maintaining fluid levels, you should keep your excavator clean. Because construction’s a dirty job, you might be tracking dirt, mud or grease inside every time you operate it. Make sure to clean the floor of the cab, and keep any surfaces clear of trash, dirt and debris. Don’t forget to clean the glass of the cab as well, as you’ll need to see clearly while operating the excavator.

Call for an excavator rental today

Hopefully, reading through some of these excavator safety tips will help you when you begin your next construction project. If you need to rent an excavator or another piece of construction equipment, give us a call at Central Equipment Company. We have the tools you need—both large and small—to complete your project safely and efficiently.

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