Construction Machinery Maintenance & Operation Procedure for Excavator

Below is best procedure for heavy equipment operation and maintenance that will provide safe operating instructions for excavator operators working on any kind of projects.

Overall project manager and HSE team leader have responsibilities for the implementation of this standard safety procedure.

All excavator operators must, hold a valid accredited 3rd party competence certificate and where legislated, possess a valid country license for the operation of heavy machinery, plant or equipment;

Legal age restrictions may apply on the heavy machinery drivers and should be enforced by project managers.

Planning the Excavator Work

All excavator operators must plan their work with the Supervisor before commencing it. For example:

i. in pre-shift meeting find out relevant operational information, such as: allocated excavator and work area, agreed traffic patterns in the area, and other equipment / personnel in the vicinity (surveyors, scrapers, haul trucks);

ii. find out about known hazards and environmental aspects of the work and their controls.

iii. Inform your Supervisor if you have been mistakenly allocated equipment for which you do not have a license – do not attempt to operate it!

Pre Start Safety Check

Excavator operator should conduct a pre-start safety check at the start of each shift to determine whether or not the excavator is safe to operate.

Complete the check as per below given inspection requirements, operator must sign the form and give it to supervisor at the beginning of each shift.

Only proceed with work if the excavator and work area are safe to do so – discuss any issues, hazards, defects with your Supervisor.

Walk-around Inspection

a) Start from the bucket of the machine and do a complete walk around of the excavator.

b) Check the bucket for teeth wear, adapters worn or broken and cracks in the bucket.

c) Check the bucket cylinders for damage, leaks and loose bolts.

d) Inspect the tracks to include adjustment, front idlers, lower and upper rollers, final drives, and track pads for wear and loose bolts.

e) Check fuel level and drain moisture from tank.

f) Check radiator for loose bolts and any leaks. If the engine is still hot, do not loosen the radiator cap to check the coolant level as it can cause serious injury.

g) Check engine, power train system and hydraulic oils.

h) Inspect the engine compartment for oil, coolant and fuel leaks.

i) Check air cleaner service indicator.

j) While walking around equipment, check no one is working on, under or close to equipment. Also, check safe clearance from adjacent objects and determine safe route to work area.

k) Check Fire Extinguisher in place.

Excavator Cabin Inspection

a) Use steps and handholds provided on equipment when mounting and maintain good three points of contact with the excavator at all times.

b) Clean and check all lights for broken bulbs or bad wires.

c) Check cabin for loose bolts, broken windows or other damage to the cabin.Construction Machinery Maintenance & Operation Procedure for Excavator

d) Position yourself in the operator’s seat and make adjustment to be in a comfortable position while operating machine.

e) Check two-way communications is fully operational and tuned to correct frequency.

f) Check fire extinguisher is present, charged (in the green zone) and in date (tagged within 6 months).

g) Check seat belt works.

h) Clean and adjust all mirrors.

i) Conduct housekeeping – always keep operator’s compartment clean and clear of debris.

j) Check Fire Extinguisher in place.

Defect Reporting and Stand-down Items

If a defect is identified, operator will notify his supervisor who would be required to make a decision whether the equipment is to be stood down – some defects may require equipment to be stood down until safely repaired.

Stand-down items include:

i. non-operational or dysfunctional braking and/or steering systems;

ii. seat belt damage;

iii. fire extinguisher or deluge system discharged;

iv. Stage 3 Warning lights non operational or indicate a problem on start-up or during operation;

v. Head Lights not working.

c) Supervisor have to attach a ‘Lock-out Facility’ to the isolation point if the equipment is not safe to be operated. If equipment to which you have been allocated has an out of service tag applied – do not operate.

d) A ‘Lock-out Facility’ can only be removed by a qualified person affecting the repair and once equipment is safe to be used, key will be in his possession.

e) Also record defects / faults / damage in writing.

f) These are formal records and should be signed by both the operator and supervisor. Comments are to be legible and accurately describe the defect or defect symptoms.

g) Report faulty air conditioning to the Supervisor to be repaired as soon as possible. The Supervisor is to make suitable arrangements, in the interim, to protect the operator’s health.

Start-Up Procedure for Excavator

a) Put seat belt on – this must be worn at all times.

b) Make sure all control levers are in neutral and that the park brake is engaged.

c) Set throttle in low idle position and switch the ignition key to on – do not turn on the engine just yet.

d) Check the engine oil pressure, coolant flow and alternator lights;

e) Sound the horn one time and wait 15 seconds. This is to indicate you are about to start the engine and allows time for people to move to safety.

f) Turn the engine ignition switch and release it when engine starts;

g) Check all gauges, warning lights and horns are within normal ranges as engine warms at idle. Engage and disengage all implement controls to help speed warm up of hydraulic components.

h) Check swing brake.

i) If the excavator is in safe operating condition, proceed to the assigned work area:

  • sound your horn two times if driving forward;
  • sound your horn three times if backing up; and
  • in both instances, wait 15 seconds, and then release the park brake, shift transmission into desired direction, and pull away slowly.

Excavator Tramming

a) Always ensure banksman/signalman are present to guide movements.

b) Drive on the correct side of the road for the country of operation at all times.

c) An excavator is a very slow tramping piece of equipment. Be very cautious at intersections.

d) When swinging to look behind – do not swing into the flow of traffic.

e) Tram motors should be at the rear of excavator when tramming. Be careful in rough areas not to damage tram motors.

f) When making turns, use as many short motions as possible. If you try turning in a short radius you can cause build – up of dirt that can knock the tracks off of the rollers.

g) Be cautious of equipment or other vehicles passing you – respond appropriately to all radio communication directed towards you. If it is unsafe for following vehicles to pass you – you must let them know this.

h) Never back up until you have checked the area is clear of personnel and or obstructions. Except for short distances, position boom in directions of travel.

Digging Procedure

Check your surroundings for unsafe conditions such as unstable high walls, unstable / uneven ground, overhead and underground services – report to Supervisor.

Always use outriggers when they are fitted to the excavator.

Stay clear of overhangs and slide areas.

Do not undercut the workface below equipment – this may affect the stability of equipment.

Stay away from the edge of banks, pits and highwalls – report any ground / wall instability to the Supervisor.

Check the working range and lifting capacity of the machine throughout the shift.

Move loads carefully.

Check clearance and be aware of any personnel working in the area – never swing loads over pedestrians.

Be cautious of power lines in the area.

Keep tram motors behind while digging.

Do not allow the tracks to be lifted off the ground when digging.

Always have excavator on a flat surface – prepare the area first to ensure that it is flat.

No smoking is allowed in the cabin of the excavator.

Shut Down the Excavator

a) Stop in a safe parking area.

b) Lower bucket to ground.

c) Place all controls in neutral.

d) Engage braking system and put swing lock in the on position.

e) Push throttle forward to idle. Allow engine to idle for five minutes. Use this time to clean operator’s cabin and tracks.

f) Push throttle forward to stop engine.

g) Turn off engine start switch and turn disconnect switch to off.

h) Use three points of contact when dismounting the machine.

i) Make sure your supervisor has received all paperwork and repair information.

j) Lock out Procedure to be enforced.

Excavator Park-Up

a) Discuss park-up position with the Supervisor before shift-change.

b) Park away from the edge of roads and benches, on flat and stable surface and at safe distance from fixed plant and other mobile equipment.

c) Always double-check that the engine is off, braking system is engaged and transmission is in neutral.

d) Never park on an inclined area.

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