If you plan to dig a trench, renting an excavator can be a big help. However, if you aren't too familiar with excavators, or feel a bit rusty, it's important to brush up on safety basics for this type of equipment. Here are a few tips to keep you safe while working with an excavator.
Find Out Your Soil Classification
One of the primary dangers of using an excavator is that there may be a cave-in. If the ground is not stable enough, it is not a good idea to dig up the ground. To avoid this, you must first learn your soil classification. If you have stable rock soil, that is better for excavating than sandy loam, for instance.
How do you find out your soil classification? Check out official detailed soil surveys so that you have an idea of what kind of soil you may be dealing with. You can also enlist the help of an appraiser, who can include the soil classification for your particular property in their completed report. You can even contact a local soil testing laboratory to determine whether your soil is stable enough to excavate.
Have Utility Lines Marked
To keep yourself and others safe as you excavate your soil, you need to ensure that electric, cable and other utilities are clearly marked if they have lines that go underground. If you do not do this, you may hit these lines with the excavator as you dig, and you may cause damage and disruption of those utility services. Contact your individual utility providers so that they can send out someone to clearly mark lines for you.
Be aware that your utility lines may dictate that you dig in a different place than you may have planned; make sure that you have more than one site in mind for your excavation.
Inspect the Excavator
It is important that you inspect the excavator each day before starting work. Many people leave inspections up to the rental company, assuming that the rental company maintains its equipment. While this may be true, it is wise for you to personally check the excavator to ensure it is in good working condition before you use it, to avoid accidents. Look for cracks and dents in the bucket and undercarriage of the excavator, and be sure that all the hoses are intact. Complete operational checks to ensure that the excavator moves smoothly.
Now that you have a few safety tips under your belt, you can feel more confident that you are able to remain safe while doing work with an excavator. When you are safe, you can focus on getting your project completed.