Safety on a construction site is of paramount importance. Each year, workers get seriously injured or even killed when mistakes are made on construction sites, and the tragedy is that in most cases, these accidents are completely avoidable.
If we look specifically at earthmoving equipment, such as excavators, we know they’re heavy, powerful machines that can make any project run far more efficiently and cost-effectively. At the same time, there are a number of common mistakes that can be made while using these machines, and it’s important to be aware of these at all times. Keeping a close eye on your team is vital to make sure that no staff are in violation of safety best practices at any time.
1. Failure to wear a hard hat; either for the operator of an excavator or anyone else on site
This sounds so simple, and yet time and time again, one of the most common causes of injuries in construction comes from people not wearing adequate protection. An excavator can be used for a range of things, from digging, to sawing and transporting dirt and debris, and in each circumstance, there is the risk that debris will be dropped (out of a bucket, for example), or sent flying (from momentum as it’s cut into). In those circumstances, an appropriate hard hat is important in preventing potential injury.
A couple of things to note with hard hats, too; it’s important not to personalise them. Some people like to stick stickers, logos, or other decorations on their hard hats, but this is a bad idea, as the sticker might then conceal a crack, which will render the hard hat ineffective. Others might want to paint their hard hats, but the chemicals in paint might weaken the material. It’s important that you wear an unmodified hard hat in order to give yourself the best protection from possible injury to the head.
2. A lack of planning beforehand
Another common mistake made when using an excavator is when people know they’ll need an excavator, and hire one, but haven’t planned out the project that the excavator will be used for properly.
This can lead to a number of mistakes occurring, such as :
- Hiring the wrong equipment: An excavator can be rented with a large number of different attachments, and to hire the wrong attachments will lead to wasted time, as the excavator will be of no value until the right attachments can be sourced.
- Cheap equipment hired in preference to quality hardware: It’s easy to find ‘cheap excavator hire’ with a quick Google search, but if the machines are of an inferior quality, or don’t work at all, then it’s going to be wasted money regardless.
- Not understanding precisely what the equipment will be needed for: Often an excavator will be hired for a specific task – such as ‘trenching’ – only for the excavator operator to start trenching, hit hard rock, and not have the right attachment to deal with that.
It’s important to do due diligence before hiring the excavator, to make sure that the job the machine is to be used for is clearly articulated ahead of time, and that the equipment being hired – including attachments – will be able to meet that particular brief.
3. Distractions on the job
Another common mistake when working with excavators is when the person operating them (or people working around the excavator) are distracted. Many people like listening to music, for example, or a person on the site might put their tools down to talk on the mobile phone when it rings.
This can be dangerous, as a distracted worker is one that might not notice – or even hear – what is going on around them, and on any site where heavy machinery is in operation, this can lead to serious injuries.
4. A lack of training
The final common mistake that we see in the use of excavators is when the operator has a lack of training in the machinery. As with all pieces of equipment, developments and improvements in the construction and operation of excavators means that operators of these machines need to be constantly retraining themselves in order to be able to continue using the excavators optimally and safely. Where mistakes are made, often it’s because the person ‘behind the wheel’ is familiar with older excavators, but not in using newer ones.
Taking steps to ensure construction site safety
It’s important to take safety on any work site seriously, because when mistakes are made in these environments, people can get very badly hurt. Thankfully, worksite safety best practices are readily available and easy to follow. Furthermore, if you have any questions about the safe operation of your excavator – or any other piece of hired machinery – speak to your provider. Contact Solution Plant Hire to discuss your excavator hire needs, as well as the wealth of information around worksite safety that we can provide you.