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What Are the Best Tips for Excavator Safety?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Any time a piece of heavy machinery is in use, proper safety precautions must be taken to ensure people and property do not get hurt or damaged. Excavator safety starts with knowing and understanding the function of the excavator. This machine has a wide, sweeping range that can be quite dangerous when not operated properly. The most important safety feature of any piece of machinery is, of course, the operator, so to maximize excavator safety, the operator should be properly trained both in operating the machine and in safety procedures to prevent damage and injury.

One of the more dangerous situations an excavator operator can create is an undercut. This occurs when the bucket is used to dig the ground beneath the excavator's tracks, increasing the likelihood of a cave-in. Excavator safety starts with being aware of the position of the lip of the hole, and ensuring the bucket does not dig too closely to the tracks. Overloading the bucket can also lead to a dangerous situation for the excavator, so the operator should ensure excavator safety by being aware of the load limits for the machine. Overloading the bucket can cause the machine to tip over or otherwise become unstable.

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The operator should also make sure the machine has enough fuel before he or she begins using it. To ensure proper excavator safety, the machine should be able to operate at all times, allowing the user to dump an unstable load in an emergency. Low fuel levels may mean the excavator will shut down unexpectedly, creating a potentially dangerous and unstable situation. A visual inspection of the machine before operation is also a good step toward excavator safety, as damage to the machine or other unsafe conditions may be visually apparent.

Assessing the ground before driving the excavator onto it should also be an excavator safety priority. The operator should be able to assess whether the ground is safe to drive the heavy excavator on, and unstable ground should be avoided. The operator should avoid positioning the machine too closely to the edge of a hole or ditch, and if people are inside the ditch or hole, the excavator should not operate in that area until all other workers are clear. Workers outside of the machine should also be aware of the function of the machine to avoid being caught in the tracks, being contacted by the bucket, or being caught in a cave-in.

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