02/09/2004

Ways to Prevent Injuries From Backhoes

Workers who operate or work near hydraulic excavators and backhoe loaders are
at risk of being struck by the machine or its components or by excavator
buckets that detach from the excavator stick. The fatalities include deaths
that are caused when operators or nearby employees were struck by the machines
or components of the equipment, struck by excavator buckets that unexpectedly
detached, or electrocuted.

Practical steps for preventing injuries and fatalities include these:

  • Make all workers on the site aware of the machine's established swing
    areas (the radius of the excavator or backhoe arm as it swings) and blind spots
    (areas to the sides or rear of the machine that are blocked from or beyond the
    operator's range of vision) before the operator works the machine. Keep workers
    on foot outside these areas by marking them with rope, tape, or other barriers.

  • Keep workers outside the hydraulic excavator swing areas and clear of
    attachments when using the machine for hoisting materials. Do not allow workers
    to stand under suspended loads or suspended machine components such as the
    boom, arm, or bucket.

  • Install and maintain equipment attachments and their operating systems
    according to manufacturer's specifications.

  • Make frequent visual inspections of quick-disconnect systems (systems for
    attaching buckets to excavators, designed to detach the bucket quickly)
    especially after changing attachments.

AplusA-online.de - Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)