Excavator Proximity Risks

Working in proximity to mobile plant equipment is never safe and requires constant attention and management of risks to ensure a safe work environment.

Risks when working around an excavator

People can become complacent around equipment over time.
There can be a tendency for both the excavator operator and other workers on site to become complacent to the dangers of earthmoving equipment over time.

This also includes workers from other trade types who are not familiar with plant equipment operation and may be unaware of the visual limitations placed on the excavator operator when in the cab, and the movement types (direction/speed) of the equipment.

Vision levels from many excavator cabs can be very limited.

Excavator Operator Visibility Levels
Source: www.cdc.gov

Where possible workers should only approach an excavator from the operator’s direct line of sight. In most excavators this is from the front left of the machine.

  • Always make eye contact and clearly signal (with wide arm movements and calling) to the operator, and ensure you receive a positive confirmation response from the operator before entering the excavators operational zone.
  • Operators should lower the bucket and blade to the grown, activate the control lock-out mechanism, and power down the machine prior to providing a positive confirmation response for a worker to approach the excavator.

Excavator noise levels can mask calls for attention. Noise levels from the engine or excavator attachments can suppress or muffle people trying to gain the attention of the operator.

Workers should remember to never approach the excavator without acknowledgement of the operator.

Construction sites are constantly changing environment. A construction site contains many people, objects and equipment all working simultaneously. This creates a rapidly changing dynamic environment that requires constant vigilance to ensure you are operating safely.

All workers should ensure they are familiar with, and follow the specific site safety rules for your work environment. Contact your site supervisor should you have any questions or concerns prior to starting work.

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