December 16, 2022

A Safety Checklist for Excavator Operators

Excavator Safety Text

In the hands of a trained and careful operator, an excavator is a powerful digging machine. However, with great power comes great responsibility, so safety should be top of mind every time you climb into the cab. Here is a quick refresher course on excavator safety.

Before You Operate an Excavator

Call Before You Dig

If you don’t know whether your site has underground power and utility lines, use your area’s call-before-you-dig service to find out.

Make a Plan

Think through your path to and from the dig site and establish where you will put your spoil pile to make sure you don’t dig yourself onto an island.

Exterior Check

Take a walk around the excavator and make sure there are no fluid leaks or other signs of damage.

Climb Safely

Maintain three points of contact climbing into the cab, with three limbs touching the machine at all times.

Interior Check

Make sure the mirrors are clean and positioned correctly, the control levers and propel system are working, your seatbelt is buckled and your seat is adjusted to a comfortable position.

During Excavator Operation

Slow and Steady

When moving the excavator, choose the flattest route available and reduce speed if the terrain is rough. Keep the bucket low when moving to keep your view clear and avoid overhead hazards such as power lines.

Vertical, Not Diagonal

Go straight up and down hills rather than climbing and descending diagonally to minimize the risk of tipping. 

Not Too Close

Before digging, position the machine on a level surface as far from the edge of the excavation site as the arm’s reach allows. Never dig under the excavator. 

Know Your Limits

Know your machine’s weight limit and don’t overload the bucket. Doing so can cause the excavator to tip.

Don’t Swing

Never swing the bucket over people or the cabs of vehicles or machinery.

After You're Finished Operating an Excavator

Keep It Level

Park on a level surface with the bucket lowered to the ground.

Power Down

Turn off the auto idle switch and let the machine run at half throttle for a couple of minutes to cool down the turbocharger. Set the RPM to low idle and turn off the engine.

Lock Up

Make sure to lock the cab and exit safely, maintaining three points of contact until your boots are on the ground.

EquipmentShare is a People First company that takes safety seriously, and we want you to be safe when operating machinery. Learn more about renting from EquipmentShare.

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