Keeping safe when using an excavator
Accidents involving excavators can be particularly dangerous due to their size, weight and the speed in which and incident can occur. If appropriate precautions are not implemented, this can increase the risk of serious injury or even death.
Some of the common hazards related to excavators include:
Collapse of the excavation perimeter
People, machinery or other obstacles being hit by the excavator
Materials falling onto the people or machinery
People or machinery falling into the excavation
Undermining of nearby structures causing collapse into the excavation
Hitting underground services during excavation work (e.g. electricity, drainage, telecommunications)
Roll over or slipping of excavator on uneven surfaces
To help keep workers and equipment safe, excavation projects should be carefully planned and undertaken. A robust health and safety plan should be in place and this should be managed onsite by the site supervisor or foreman.
Basic risk management for an excavation project should include:
Identify hazards - Identify hazards that could harm or injure
Assess risks - Complete a risk assessment
Control risks - Elimination or minimisation of risks as is reasonably practical
Review controls - Constant review of implemented controls ensuring they remain effective
Further information on excavation safety is available on the Worksafe New Zealand website.