Safety First When Using A Backhoe Loader
The backhoe loader while being extremely popular, is also a quintessential piece of equipment on most construction sites around the world. Keeping that in mind, safety becomes highest priority when using a backhoe loader. Safety is an equally shared responsibility between the construction equipment manufacturers and owners and users.
Below are basic pointers to ensure safety when using a backhoe loader.
- The operator must be well versed with the specs and the usage manual provided by the construction equipment manufacturer. It’s important that the operator be trained and experienced to utilize the machine to its full potential and ensure safety of all involved when using a BHL.
- Safety starts with a checklist of inspections and pre-checks like fluid levels in the various parts of the machine, smooth operations of all functions, transmission, breaks, hydraulics, welds, safety devices, safety belt, lubrication, damaged parts, tire’s, gauges and leaks etc. These are measures to be taken even before one steps into the BHL for operation.
- Once in the cab, ensure proper brakes are applied, and all the required adjustments are made to ensure that all the controls are within reach for smooth and comfortable operation of the machine. Wearing seat belts should be mandatory to keep the operator safe In case of a roll over.
- Before operations start, a thorough inspection of the site must be done to ensure a stable digging platform. The site should be cleared of all unrequired personnel to avoid mishaps of any kind. Adequate warnings signs should be put up on the site.
- Always account the human factor and make sure that the operator is physically mentally and emotionally sound at the time of operation. Strict policies should be put in place so that the machines are not being operated under influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Appropriate clothing and safety gear should be provided to suit the work site and its climatic conditions.
- Multiple dynamic forces come into play when a BHL is in operation, thus the stabilizers should be wide and down while the wheels should be about 6 inches above the ground. Stability is crucial for both safety and smooth functioning of the equipment.
- The center of gravity of the BHL keeps shifting depending on the operation and power applied for it. It is crucial that the CG stays such that the BHL stays stable. Eg: If the boom is swung to the side or bucket is full of material, the CG shifts to the side thus increasing chances of the Backhoe loader tipping.
- When using a backhoe for transportation, speeding should be prohibited as it compromises on the safety of the machine and the people involved as the CG shifts wards the rear tires.
- Basic safety measures like proper maintenance, storage and cleaning go a long way to keep a machine and its operator’s safe when in use.
Safety measures and procedures are taken lightly in India but there is a rise in awareness regarding its importance as more and more corporates insist and mandate it. Safety of both human life and machinery is of fundamental importance and should be treated such.