Excavator Safety Checks

The following list provides a range of Excavator Safety tips, checks and reminders that should be reviewed before operating an excavator. Looking for more specific tips for operating a mini-excavator?

Walk-Around Checks of your Excavator

  • Carry out a work risk assessment prior to the task.
  • Wear suitable personal protective equipment while operating the excavator.
  • Ensure you have read and understand the operator manual & safety instructions prior to using the machine.
  • Check the excavator undercarriage including:
    • Each track for defects, appropriate tension, and cuts or damage to the track.
    • The drive sprockets and idlers for damage, removing any debris.
    • The drive motors for leaks.
  • Complete a 360 degree walk around of the equipment checking:
    • The hydraulic hose conditions.
    • The condition of the boom ram, dipper arm ram, and bucket ram.
    • Where appropriate make sure the bucket pins are securely in position and the safety clips are in position.
    • For manual quick hitch assemblies check for debris in the locking mechanism and that the locking pin is securely in position with the safety clip correctly inserted.
    • For hydraulic quick hitches, ensure the hydraulic pipe connections are secure and leak free. Remove any debris from the locking mechanism and ensure the jaws are locating correctly.

Checking the Engine Bay of your Excavator

  • With the engine bay securely opened to its full position, check the engine and transmission oil levels using the relevant dipstick. Oil level checks should be carried out every 4 hours of operation.
  • Check the brake and hydraulic fluid levels. Loss of fluid could indicate a fault in the system that should be addressed.
  • Check the coolant level at the radiator cap or the expansion bottle. Only remove the coolant cap if the engine and radiator are cold.
  • Ensure you are facing towards the machine and are using three points of contact when entering and exiting the excavator cab.

Excavator Control Pre-Start Checks

  • After starting the machine, check all indicator lights and gauges on the cabs controls.
  • Lift the dozer blade to its full height and track the machine forward and backwards to test its movement ensuring your work environment is clear of people and objects prior to moving.
  • Operate the boom arm and dipper arm to their full extensions.
  • Check the boom slew and body slew carrying out a full 360 degree rotation in both directions.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the safe working limits for the machine when operating on a gradient.

Leaving the Excavator

  • When leaving the machine, ensure the dozer blade and bucket have been lowered to the ground. Ensure the cab and boom arm are in-line with the tracks. Remove the key when leaving the equipment.
  • Do not jump down from the machine, but use three points of contact while facing the machine.

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