Backhoe Loader Safety Guidelines
India happens to be the second largest market for backhoe loaders and is fast becoming the test bed for global companies looking to crack developing markets in Asia and Latin America. India also happens to have some of the highest number of backhoe related accidents due to lack of adequate safety guidelines and non compliance with the existing ones. Backhoe loader operators need to be adequately trained and companies need to have stricter policies about safety compliance to reduce the number of accidents and mishaps. Given below are some basic backhoe loader safety guidelines that need to be followed when handling a backhoe loader.
Know your machine well: Make it a point that the operator is well versed with the manual of the machine being operator. Not backhoes in general but the exact machine to be operated since over confident operators cause more accidents than the newbies. Additionally the operator should be familiar with the controls of the machine in question.
Survey the site: Ensure that there are no utility lines at the dig site that can possibly be damaged. Similarly keep an eye for power cables above when lifting things. Damage to utility lines like electricity lines can not only cause heavy damage to both the operator and the machine.
Bucket down: Always ensure that the bucket stays lowered and near the machine as much as possible for stability. The bucked should be raised only when dumping needs to be done. Its also helps ensure that the whole dig site is visible and that no unrequited personnel are around.
Stabilisers down: Always check the placement of the stabilisers and that the ground underneath is stable enough. Soft soil under the stabiliser legs can lead to cave ins and cause damage to the machine, its operator and the people around.
Gear check: The backhoe should not be in gear when starting it. As a rule of thumb always check before the engine is started. By passing this safety measure can have hazardous repercussions.
Load up: When lifting heavy weights with the front loader, ensure that adequate counter weight is used at the back to prevent the machine from tipping.
Clean up: Always ensure that the steps and platforms are kept clean of any kind of debris, tools or parts.
Shut down: The machine should be shut down before the operator enter the cabin and only once it is shut down again after use should the operator dismount from the machine. One should never mount or dismount a backhoe when it is being operated.
By stander free: The vicinity where a backhoe is being operated should be clear of any bystanders. Rear view mirrors should be kept clean to keep an eye out for people at the back of the machine. Additionally, back up alarms should be used when the machine is being operated in reverse gear.
Hydraulic check: Manually and visually check for any hydraulic leaks and malfunctions after maintenance and before the machine is set to be operated. Malfunctioning hydraulics can be disastrous.
Simple safety checks and compliance with the guidelines can help prevent many a mishaps and loss of man and money.