Safety Tips For Operators of Heavy Earth-Moving Equipment

Operators of heavy earth-moving equipment must be well trained and must know the hazards associated with heavy equipment operations. Observe these common precautions:

Driving and Operating

  • Before starting any equipment, be certain that it has been inspected and serviced according to the regular schedule.
  • Before hooking up equipment, make sure any attachments are lowered, the shift lever is in neutral, and the brakes are set.
  • Make sure everyone is clear before moving or backing up.
  • Never leave a machine on an incline with the engine running. Vibration may put the machine into motion.
  • Never allow people to ride on the equipment.
  • When operating equipment on an active road, display flashing lights and a slow vehicle triangle.
  • Never coast down a hill.
  • When working near trees, watch for dead branches (“widow-makers”) above the equipment.
  • Use great care when working near the edges of cuts or fills.
  • Most mobile equipment is required to be ROPS equipped. Be sure equipment is properly equipped.

Maintenance and Repair

  • Shut off engines during refueling.
  • Shut off equipment before making repairs.
  • When equipment is under repair, place a sign “Under Repair” in the seat, remove the start key, or lock out the controls.

Parking and Security

  • Always lower attachments and set the parking brake before dismounting the equipment.
  • Always set the brake, lower the equipment, and place the shift lever in neutral at the end of each work shift.
  • Secure the equipment when finished for the day. Make sure it is clear of traffic. If it is not clear, mark it with glares or red lights. Lock it up.

© 2008 The Hartford Loss Control Department, All Rights Reserved. CFLC 90 Backing Heavy Equipment Safely. The information provided in these materials is intended to be general and advisory in nature. It shall not be considered legal advice. The Hartford does not warrant that the implementation of any view or recommendation contained herein will: (i) result in the elimination of any unsafe conditions at your business locations or with respect to your business operations; or (ii) will be an appropriate legal or business practice. The Hartford assumes no responsibility for the control or correction of hazards or legal compliance with respect to your business practices, and the views and recommendations contained herein shall not constitute our undertaking, on your behalf or for the benefit of others, to determine or warrant that your business premises, locations or operations are safe or healthful, or are in compliance with any law, rule or regulation. Readers seeking to resolve specific safety, legal or business issues or concerns related to the information provided in these materials should consult their safety consultant, attorney or business advisors.

Cheryl Graham, Vice President of Marketing