Safety Instructions for Excavators

The operator must read these instructions before starting the excavator.

  1. The excavator must be operated correctly according to the manufacturer or owner’s operating instructions, which are available on request if required.
  2. The driver should be properly trained in the safe operation of excavators.
  3. It is a requirement of the law that operators must be over the age of 18 years.
  4. Wear personal protective equipment as conditions determine. A hardhat and boots with steel toecaps are usually necessary. Wear a dust mask in dusty conditions. Dust generated by the excavation can give rise to silicosis.
  5. Carry out service checks and adjustments at the start of each working day with the engine shutdown and the boom lowered to the ground.
  6. DO NOT work under the excavator when it is jacked up on its boom (or blade).
  7. CHECK that all guards and covers are secure before starting. NEVER operate the excavator with missing guards or covers.
  8. Only use buckets and attachments supplied by the hire company and operate them according to the manufacturer’s instructions, which are available on request if required.
  9. CHECK that all persons and animals are clear of the work area before starting and at all times during the work.
  10. Before starting check for the presence of underground cables and pipes and/or seek advice if necessary. DO NOT use the excavator to dig directly above these services, only use hand tools.
  11. Only start and operate the machine when sitting in the seat.
  12. Before starting to work lower the stabilisers /dozer blade to the ground to give stability.
  13. Familiarise yourself with the controls in an open space before starting work. WARNING, the track drive controls are reversed when facing backwards.
  14. DO NOT use maximum engine speed until completely familiar with all controls.
  15. DO NOT carry passengers on the excavator.
  16. DO NOT use the excavator beneath overhead electric cables unless there is adequate clearance with the boom in its highest position.
  17. If trenches are to be excavated then it is likely that these will need support if they are more than 1.2 metres deep.
  18. DO NOT force the excavator beyond its capacity. This can cause the machine to become unstable.
  19. Take care when operating in the fully offset position; the machine is less stable.
  20. Extreme care should be taken when operating across a slope. Travel straight up and down if possible and keep the bucket as low as possible.
  21. DO NOT move forward over a trench when digging, always move back and away from it.
  22. When loading another vehicle, the driver of that vehicle should dismount and stand well clear.
  23. DO NOT use a bucket to drive in posts or piles etc.
  24. DO NOT stand or work under a raised boom.
  25. DO NOT sling a load from the boom or bucket unless it is fitted with the correct safety crane hook and is marked with a “Safe Working Load”, for example “SWL 500kg”. DO KNOW the lifting capabilities of the machine being operated.
  26. Any person slinging loads should know about safe slinging practices.
  27. Only use suitable lifting gear that has been inspected and marked with its SWL.
  28. DO NOT lift a load that is heavier than the safe working load.
  29. DO NOT travel with the boom and dipper raised and extended. Always fold tight into the machine.
  30. DO NOT cross kerbs and other obstructions at an angle. Keep the bucket as low as possible.
  31. The Petrol or Diesel Engine
  32. DO NOT smoke when refuelling. Never refuel with the engine running.
  33. Replace the fuel caps securely on the engine and fuel container. Wipe up any spillage immediately.
  34. Fuel containers should be in good condition and leak proof.
  35. DO NOT use the excavator in a hazardous or explosive atmosphere, or where fuel has been spilt.
  36. DO NOT operate the excavator in a badly ventilated area or where exhaust fumes can build up. If the machine has to be used in an enclosed area, ducting should be used to discharge exhaust fumes to a safe place.
  37. In the event of a leak of fuel or oil developing, switch the machine off immediately.
  38. If warning lights show or gauges register outside normal limits, switch off the engine.
  39. DO NOT top up with coolant while the engine is running. Allow the radiator to cool before removing the radiator cap and topping up.
  40. When noise levels are uncomfortably high at 85-89 dB(A), it is advisable to wear hearing protectors.
  41. At still higher noise levels, (90 dB(A) and above) the law requires that hearing protectors must be worn.
  42. Before stopping the engine and leaving the seat, lower the bucket (and blade) to the ground.
  43. If the machine is fitted with tracks, park on timbers in freezing weather to prevent the tracks from freezing to the ground.
  44. DO NOT attempt repairs. Contact Central Plant Hire.

These notes are for guidance only and all equipment must be correctly operated according to the manufacturer’s operating instruction.