Proper construction equipment operation is safe, smart, and cost-effective. Learn tips for operating your machinery.
Proper construction equipment operation doesn’t just protect you — it also protects your investment.
Take machine idling for example. In addition to wasting fuel and adding unproductive hours to your machine, excessive idling also can lead to accelerated ash buildup in Tier 4 after-treatment systems.
Fortunately, there's a simple solution. Taking courses and watching construction equipment training videos can teach your operators basic guidelines. A relatively small investment in time and training has the potential to save you thousands in machine repairs.
You should also review your construction equipment’s Operation & Maintenance Manual, including the enclosed lift charts. Understanding these documents is crucial for safely operating your machine and preventing excessive wear.
We’ve compiled a few simple tips for proper construction equipment operation.
Lift Within Rated Tipping Loads
- Excavator operators should always lift squarely over the side or over the end of the machine.
- Wheel loader operators should dump material only while the wheel loader is straight.
- Articulated dump truck (ADT) operators must be aware of stability limits during dumping and when turning too abruptly, which can contribute to rollovers. They must also recognize braking limitations while traveling downhill with a loaded dump body. Runaway trucks can result in damage and personal injury.
Avoid Excessive Power and Overloading
- Set the machine controls to deliver power that is adequate for its operation.
- While there might be short-term gains from overloading buckets on excavators and wheel loaders, as well as dump bodies on ADTs, it can result in higher repair costs and shorter machine life.
- Tire and track life can also be adversely affected by overloading.
Know Safe Operation Rules
- Always slow down before turning or changing travel direction, and maintain safe distances from other equipment.
- Avoid steep slopes; only travel up and down a slope and never across a slope.
- Do not turn on an incline.
- Use and maintain service and parking brakes carefully.
- Stay in gear when traveling downhill, and do not shift to neutral.
- Always park the machine on firm ground and apply the parking brake.
- Never approach power lines with any part of the machine, unless all local, state, and national safety precautions have been taken.
- Understand clearances and weight limitations of floors and ramps if using the machine inside a building.
- Stop operation if visibility becomes restricted because of broken, dirty, or out-of-adjustment mirrors or lights.
- Look and listen for malfunctions; stop operation immediately if erratic operation is detected.
Find More Construction Equipment Tips
See the full list of helpful articles for construction equipment owners and operators on the Cutting Edge blog.