Working on a machine as big as an excavator has several hazards, but you can easily cope with them with awareness. To help you with that, here’s a list of 6 common excavator operations hazards.
Accidental falls and collapsing.
This is the most common excavator operation mistake. Unfortunately, even experienced operators have made this mistake twice or thrice.
Generally, when the excavator clears debris, there is a high chance the load will shift or fall. Therefore, you should train your team to be careful while using excavating equipment, as one tiny mistake can put the operator or nearby pedestrians’ life in danger.
Ask them to mark the entire area and stay clear of the machine. To reduce accidental falls, stack or pile away scattered rubbish from the edge of the trench, and do not leave a running machine with the bucket arm lowered, as a little jostling in the controls can lower the arm and crush anyone underneath it.
There are three ways to decrease collapse hazards. One is to ensure the trench walls are benched, the second is to shore the walls to brace them, and the last is to protect the workers from side walls using trench boxes.
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Cave-ins occur when the ground fails to support the pressure change caused by excavation. Sometimes the weight of the machine loses dirt and ends up tipping the machine off.
There are also cases where using the wrong trenching technique and unskilled workers performing complicated techniques lead to cave-ins.
In some cases, workers even died due to incidental cave-ins. Following safety protocols are a great way to avoid this issue. Further, hydro excavation can finish the job faster and safely move debris out of sight.
This happens majorly if the operator is careless. Sometimes, the machine travels so quickly that it results in a rollover. Also, riding with improperly lowered attachments or riding on a too-steep slope cause these accidents.
Always use proper safety equipment to reduce the effect of rollover. Don’t attempt to exit during an active rollover situation, as it can cause severe injuries and even death.
Exposure to underground utilities and damaging them
Underground utilities include buried cable, gas, water or electrical lines, etc. These can get damaged during excavation.
Though the city’s documentation can help the site administrators to a length to identify the exact location of underground utilities, a small mistake in the map can put everyone in danger.
Traditional digging equipment can break a line way before you can notice it. To decrease the risk, use a vacuum excavator truck to dig around buried lines and pipes. These areas require extra attention, so you must be very careful while operating there.
A skilled operator can save the worker and underground utilities from potential damage.
Run over by the excavation machine
This accident occurs because of the lack of attention from the operator. If they are tired or influenced by any substance, they can lose control and hurt a worker or back up over a normal pedestrian. In the worst-case scenario, they might fail to notice a tripped-over worker and run over him or her.
In some unique cases, the machine moved unexpectedly because the operator didn’t engage the parking brake. Sometimes machines can slide because of bumpy ground. Make sure the operator is fit and drug-free to reduce run-over incidents.
While working on unsteady ground, pay extra attention to the machine’s movement. Stop immediately if you notice anything unusual.
Contamination of the excavation site air
If the excavator ruptures a gas line, it can contaminate the entire excavation site. Sometimes too much dust or smoke or low oxygen level, or the presence of toxic gas can make the site dangerous and create health hazards. Again, it can contaminate the entire locality.
A simple atmosphere testing can ensure the safety of the workers and locals. Carry breathing equipment for these sites.
Over to you…
Knowing all the hazards and solutions, you can take the necessary precautions. Make sure to appoint an experienced operator to eliminate these problems.